The Republican-backed education-funding bill, with a price tag of nearly $6.8 billion, includes funding for special programs as a concession aimed at increasing support from both sides of the aisle.

Beth Purvis, Gov. Bruce Rauner’s education secretary, said she doesn’t want to think about what could happen if lawmakers fail to pass a standalone education-funding bill before the next school year begins. She said everyone should be able to get on board with the GOP plan because millions of dollars were added for various special programs as a compromise.

Purvis said passing the standalone education-funding bill now doesn’t mean the conversation about changing the formula ends, “but the reality is that none of the proposals that look at a new school funding formula have yet made it to the governor’s desk.”

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“We have not been able to come to a consensus on what that new funding formula will look like for fiscal ‘17,” Purvis said.

She said the governor-supported education-funding bill is a bridge year proposal to get schools open so lawmakers can continue working on changing the school funding formula for fiscal year 2018.

The measure also increases $75 million for early childhood education, ends cuts to school districts, keeps in place a $620 million block grant for Chicago Public Schools and includes $8 million for a variety of vocational and after-school programs.


(Copyright WBGZ /