Senator Bush speaks on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – Special session could cost taxpayers more money if the governor fails to sign legislation to freeze reimbursements.

“There’s a bill sitting on the governor’s desk that would freeze pay rates and reimbursements for legislators. It’s been on his desk since June 29,” said Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake), sponsor of the legislation. “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.”

House Bill 643 freezes the Illinois General Assembly's mileage reimbursement and per diem rates at previous levels. If the governor does not sign the measure, the per diem rate for legislators will jump from $111 to $142 and the mileage reimbursement rate will go from $0.39 per mile to $0.535 per mile.

In addition, the initiative eliminates the automatic cost of living adjustment for legislators. The Comptroller's Office states that the FY 18 cost of living adjustment would be 2.1 percent without the passage of a freeze.

“As legislators, we’re doing what we can to keep costs down,” Bush said. “The governor already vetoed a budget that cut government spending by $3 billion. The governor should rein in the costs of his special sessions by signing this bill.”

House Bill 643 was sent to the governor on June 29 after it passed both chambers with bipartisan support.  

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Category: Press Releases

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

GURNEE—Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) joined with local superintendents and community leaders to call on Governor Bruce Rauner to sign Senate Bill 1 into law. The bill fixes our state’s broken education funding system. Principals and other local officials joined in calling on local legislators to support the Evidence-Based Model for Student Success Act (otherwise known as SB1).

"Every child in Illinois deserves a high-quality education that sets them up for the American Dream,” said Senator Bush. “Here in Gurnee, and in too many other communities across Illinois, our schools are facing a crisis – the prospect of not being able to open their doors in the fall. The solution to this crisis is a simple one and one that’s nearly complete: Governor Rauner needs to sign SB1 into law and fix our state’s worst-in-the-nation school funding system."

Participants at today’s event included:

  • Mimi Rodman, Executive Director, Stand for Children Illinois
  • Catherine Finger, former Superintendent, Grayslake High School District 127
  • Constance Collins, Superintendent, Round Lake Area School District 116
  • Jason Lind, Superintendent, Millburn District 24
  • Brian Harris, Superintendent of Schools, Barrington 220

“All kids, regardless of their zip code, deserve access to a high-quality education that prepares them for life,” said Rodman. “In the long term, SB1 ensures our children receive the quality education they need to live a prosperous life. In the short term, it ensures our schools open on time.”

Senate Bill 1 represents the first time a school funding overhaul has passed both chambers of the legislature in 20 years. The governor has threatened to veto the bill. Under SB1, no district would lose a penny of state or local resources and new funds would be strategically invested toward the most underfunded schools. The enacted budget includes $6.7 billion for evidence-based funding. However, without SB1 being enacted, the state has no evidence-based formula in place and, therefore, no authority to expend those funds.

“For generations, our state’s inequitable school funding formula has held our students back,” said Dr. Finger, former superintendent of Grayslake High School District 127. “SB1 is a clean break from the failed status quo. We know that a good education gives every child in Illinois a fair shot at prosperity. It’s time for our leaders in Springfield to put politics aside and focus on our children. It’s time for Governor Rauner to sign SB1 into law.”

Lake County is home to one of the most diverse regions of school districts in the state. Some districts are severely underfunded, while others are more fortunate. Area leaders agree on one critical point, which they echoed today: Illinois schools are depending on SB1.

“Our schools in Round Lake and across the state, from the suburbs to downstate, need certainty and stability regarding funding and opening our doors on time,” said Dr. Collins, superintendent of Round Lake Area School District 116. “SB1 is the only bill that provides us that certainty. We will not get our August 10 payment unless we have an evidence-based model in place. SB1 is the only evidence-based model that has passed the General Assembly.”

“When SB1 becomes law, our students will be the true winners,” said Dr. Lind, superintendent of Millburn District 24. “We need to ensure every student has the opportunity for a quality education that prepares them for the future. SB1 makes that investment for all Illinois children.”

“The evidence-based funding model is good for Barrington and it’s good for all districts across the state,” said Dr. Harris, superintendent of schools, Barrington 220. “Barrington wouldn’t lose a penny of state or local funding – no district would. The new formula will direct new resources to students across Illinois who need them the most.”

About SB1: The Evidence-Based Funding for Student Success Act (or SB1) that recently passed the General Assembly would fix our state’s unfair and inequitable school funding system. SB1 would bring a more equitable system that ensures all children receive the education they deserve.

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Category: Press Releases

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