Illinois Senate Rejects Gov. Rauner’s Veto in 38-19 Override

Pension reform bill now goes to Illinois House, requires three-fifths majority vote.

Illinois Senate Democrats overrode Gov. Bruce Rauner’s amendatory veto Sunday, rejecting his efforts to alter a pension reform bill in his vision.

The 38-19 override saw  one Republican, Sen. Sam McCann of Plainview, voting in line with Democrats— bringing the bill to the House of Representatives, where it must pass with a three-fifths vote. Although the House has 15 days to act on this override, the Senate also passed a contingency bill should the House fail to do so that would restart the process of fixing the school funding issue.

According to an analysis of the amendatory veto released by the Illinois State Board of Education, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) would receive $463 million less in funding for the coming school year under the Governor’s plan than the one approved by the Illinois General Assembly. However, under Rauner’s formula, ISBE found that CPS would receive $1.31 billion this year, an increase of $28.6 million from the year before.

According a document released by Rauner’s office, not counting an additional $221 million in aid for CPS outside of the school funding formula, CPS would lose $242 million under his veto. After removing the millions from CPS, Rauner’s version would distribute the amount to other districts. Democrats opposed the veto, citing districts with declining enrollment could lose state money under these changes.

“Governor Rauner’s education funding veto brought together rural, suburban and urban educators and legislators in bipartisan opposition to the governor and in support of today’s veto override. This diverse group of educators and leaders knows the Senate’s education bill is right for Illinois children and the governor’s veto is flat wrong,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. “I want to thank Senate President Cullerton and the state Senators who voted on behalf of students and educators. The Senate’s vote is a bipartisan rejection of the governor’s divisive politics and of his repeated attempts to pit children with different backgrounds and from different parts of the state against one another.”

Defending his veto, Rauner called on legislative leaders in a statement to meet as quickly as possible to resolve the override.

“This weekend, the Illinois State Board of Education released data showing my amendatory veto sends the most amount of resources to the neediest school districts in Illinois. These numbers clearly show how badly change is needed to ensure fairness and equity in how we fund our children’s schools.”

State aid funds to school districts were supposed to be sent out August 10, but due to a budget package requirement, which says the state needs an “evidence-based” funding formula approved before it can release them, they were not released for the first time since the creation of the comptroller’s office in the 1970s.

The House is scheduled to be in session next Wednesday.

“We are hopeful that Speaker Madigan and President Cullerton share our sense of urgency to reach resolution. Families and educators across the state are heading back to school,” Rauner said. “We owe it to them to adopt a funding formula that is fair and equitable to all, and we owe them the assurance that their schools will open and stay open for the remainder of the school year.”

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