Chicago Public Schools Could Face Major Funding Issue

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — lllinois Governor Bruce Rauner used his veto power to rewrite parts of a state school-funding overhaul bill on Tuesday, a move that could drastically affect funding for Chicago Public Schools (CPS).

The bill creates a new model for education funding that is required as part of a budget deal approved by legislators earlier this summer, reported the Associated Press. Governor Rauner removed the part in the bill that he described as giving “an unfair diversion” of money to help CPS teacher pensions and removed funding that the district previously received in the form of a block grant, according to Reuters.

A compromise over the new model for education funding has required decades of back and forth between both Republican and Democratic legislators. Both sides agree that the current, 20-year-old calculation to fund public schools across the state is unfair because it requires them to rely heavily on property taxes. In turn, this creates an unequal balance in per-student funding, but lawmakers continue to disagree on how to fix the problem, according to the Associated Press.

The bill currently under debate includes a formula that gives money to the neediest districts first after making sure that no district receives less money than the previous school year. This includes pension help for CPS since it is the only state district that pays the employer portion of teacher pension costs, reported the Associated Press.

Now that Governor Rauner made changes to the bill, it will return to the legislature where three-fifths of lawmakers in both chambers need to approve or override Rauner’s changes. If neither side can raise the required votes, then the legislation will die.

Without the new bill, schools will not be funded, including the first round of payments due to schools on Aug. 10. As of now, all schools are expected to open on time, but some will be forced to make cuts or even close if an agreement isn’t made this fall.