Rauner wants school funding bill on his desk today

The governor, a long-time critic of the financially struggling CPS, said the bill benefits "one school district" at the expense of others.

Gov. Bruce Rauner vowed Monday to veto part of a bill that would give the Chicago Public Schools $300 million more in state money - a move that Chicago officials said would be illegal. Governor Rauner has called it a bailout of Chicago Public Schools. That has raised the possibility some school districts largely dependent on state funding may not be able to open for classes next month.

IL gives governors constitutional authority to use an amendatory veto to make "specific recommendations for change".

"As a result, this amendatory veto exceeds the power of the Governor under the State Constitution".

IL has ended a more-than-two-year impasse and approved a state budget, but with just a few weeks until the 2017-18 school year is to begin, funding for education is uncertain.

CPS is the only school district in IL responsible for covering its teacher pension payments. Andy Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat who has championed SB1 and the need for a school funding overhaul, said Rauner has never directly contacted him to discuss the bill. SB1 accounts for that by including additional state money to offset the amount of local funding CPS uses to cover the cost both of current pensions and its legacy payments.

Rauner spokeswoman Laurel Patrick defended Rauner's threat, saying only that the IL constitution "clearly indicates that the Governor has the power to "return a bill together with specific recommendations for change" to the legislature".

"The legislature should send SB1 to the Governor's desk immediately rather than playing games with the education of IL students", she said in an email to Chicago Tonight.

"When I amendatory-veto that bill, it will become balanced, equitable and fair for all the school districts across the state", said Rauner, speaking at a news conference at Mount Zion Junior High School.

Votes in both the House and Senate for the measure's passage in May fell short of the three-fifths threshold required to override a veto.

"It is clear to me today that (Rauner) intends to use the children of IL as leverage for his political agenda when he could be working out a compromise to accomplish a much-needed and long-awaited reform", Manar said. "He promised to be the education governor". It has earned IL the dubious distinction of being the most inequitable in the nation.

Vanessa Coleman

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