WICS Channel 20 - July 24, 2017 | original article

Senator Bush on HB 643

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WICS) — Democratic State Senator Melinda Bush is calling on Governor Rauner to sign a bill to save money on special session.

The House Bill would stop mileage reimbursement and per diem rates from going up.

In a statement Bush says in part “The governor’s special sessions are needlessly expensive, costing taxpayers upwards of $48,000 each day. If the governor doesn’t sign this bill, the special sessions he’s demanding become even more expensive.”

The bill was sent to the governor’s desk in June.

Category: In The News

Senator Bush is joined by local superintendents in urging Rauner to sign Senate Bill 1Daily Herald - July 18, 2017 | original article

By Doug T. Graham

Gov. Bruce Rauner said he will veto a school funding bill as soon as it reaches his desk because it includes a bailout of the Chicago Public School pension system, an accusation fiercely refuted Monday by state Sen. Melinda Bush at a news conference in Gurnee.

The bill, Senate Bill 1, passed the legislature in May but has yet to be sent to the governor's desk.

"I totally disagree with the governor," Bush said Monday while surrounded by a group of Lake County school district leaders. "Stop blaming Chicago for the inadequacy of the funding system."

The bill changes the way state money is doled out in a new method, which leaders of school districts rich and poor alike say is more equitable.

Brian Harris, superintendent of Barrington Area Unit School District 220, said he supports the new evidence-based model.

"It was important to make sure there was no Robin Hood scenario going on," Harris said. "This is good for Barrington, for Lake County and for every school district in Illinois."

Connie Collins, superintendent of Round Lake Area School District 116, said it is urgent the governor signs the bill so districts could have the certainty to open their doors in time for the start of school next month. About 82.5 percent of District 116 students are from low-income families.

Rauner said in a news release Monday that the bill directs millions of dollars to CPS and away from other districts that would benefit under his plan. He intends to use his power to veto the bill and amend it to reduce the amount of money Chicago schools receive.

"It's not right to give CPS more than its equitable share at the expense of other struggling school districts," Rauner said. "That's not reform. It is the same old rigged politics that created this disgraceful system we are trying to fix."

Bush argues that every school district is treated the same under the bill. Rauner's concerns about Chicago getting more than their share is unfounded, she said, noting that 268 school districts would receive more money per pupil than CPS.

Time is running out for Rauner to act. Jason Lind, superintendent of Millburn School District 24 in Old Mill Creek, said if the governor doesn't sign the bill, the district will have to close its schools on April 1, 2018, or rely on neighboring districts to lend them money.

Category: In The News

ABC 7 Chicago - July 17, 2017 | original article

By Sarah Schulte

video

Gov. Bruce Rauner is now calling on the leaders in Springfield to release a bill that reforms public school funding in the state.

He's threatening to use another tactic he says will give even more money for more classrooms.

The governor says he will not sign into law a new school funding formula bill unless money is moved from Chicago Public Schools to other districts.

The bi-partisan Senate bill 1 fixes what many say is a decades-old broken education funding system.

With a school year set to begin in a few weeks, superintendents from around the state strongly support it.

Lake County school superintendents hope a new state funding formula will promise more equity among all school districts, regardless of their zip code.

"No district loses money, I can tell you from my districts prospective in particular it was important for us to make sure there was no Robin Hood scenario going on," said Brian Harris, superintendent of Barrington 220 School District.

On Monday, Harris stood with superintendents from poorer school districts urging Gov. Rauner to sign SB 1, a bill that changes the funding formula to an evidence-based system which means lower-income districts, who don't have a strong property base, will no longer be short changed.

"The current state funding model Round Lake has lost over $18 million from 2012-2016," said Constance Collins, superintendent of the Round Lake Area School District 116.

However, Rauner said SB1 is nothing more than a pension bailout for CPS. He plans an amendatory veto that diverts money from CPS to other school districts.

"Chicago will not get the money, Decatur is going to get the money. And do you know how much more money Decatur teachers and students are going to get? $1.6 million per year. Think about that," Rauner said.

SB 1 supporters said the bill is not a CPS bailout.

"There are 268 districts that get more money per pupil than Chicago in this formula," said state Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake.

In a written response to the governor's plan for an amendatory veto, CPS calls it illegal and a stunt.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said it's unfortunate that Rauner is pursuing a political path rather than a productive one.

While CPS schools will open on time, there are others threatening not to open unless SB 1 is signed into law.

Category: In The News

Senator Bush joins local superintendents in urging the governor to sign Senate Bill 1Chicago Tribune - July 17, 2017 | original article

By Emily K. Coleman

The broken way the state of Illinois divvies up money for schools needs to be fixed and now "is as good a time as any to fix" it, a Lake County senator said Monday.

That is state Sen. Melinda Bush's justification for why the budget – which was approved over Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto earlier this month – tied school funding to the passage of a bill that Rauner has vowed to veto, calling it a bailout of the Chicago Public Schools system.

Bush, surrounded by school district superintendents from across Lake County, called on Rauner to pass the new formula, which proponents say will steer more money to school districts with high numbers of low-income students, English language learners and students that require special education services without negatively impacting other districts.

"We know that we have a broken school funding formula," Bush said. "This is not a surprise to anybody in this room. This is something we have known for a long time in the state of Illinois. It's something that people have worked for years to try and fix the equity. This is as close as we have ever come."

The urgency created by tying the passage of a new formula to school funding may be the only way legislation will get passed, said former Grayslake Community High School District 127 Superintendent Catherine Finger, who now sits on the College of Lake County Board of Trustees.

Lake County superintendents have traveled to Springfield "countless times" to talk about education funding, she said. Each time, hearing after hearing, meeting after meeting, the legislation would be tied to the budget but then decoupled so that schools could start on time.

"I can't sleep at night thinking about not having a budget in place for our schools, and yet if we don't have the sense of urgency, I fear we're never going to hit the issue of equitable funding for kids in the state of Illinois," Finger said.

The new formula is research-based, designed by those in the education field and modeled off formulas used in other states, Bush said, emphasizing that the changes affect only new dollars and that no school district is negatively impacted.

Read more ...

Category: In The News

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