Gov. Bruce Rauner agrees the funding formula for Illinois schools needs to change, but not by, quote, “robbing Peter to pay Paul,” and accuses state Democrats of stalling a bipartisan effort on education funding, potentially delaying the start of school in the fall.
Rauner continued his tour visiting schools across the state. Following a stop at Wilmette Junior High School the governor told reporters he’s willing to consider restructuring the school funding formula. John Patterson, director of communications for Illinois Senate Democrats, said in a statement school funding reform is a top priority.“It’s great to hear the governor supporting Senate Democrats' ideas.”
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However, the governor doesn't support taking funds from wealthier districts like Wilmette’s District 39 and giving them to poorer districts.
“Robbing Peter to pay Paul, not the answer,” Rauner said. “What we need to do is put more money into the schools overall and we can proportionality emphasize lower-income districts and more rural districts when we put more money in, that’s fine.”
Speaking to reporters, the governor accused the Democratic supermajority of holding up education funding bills unless changes are made to the way the state allocates its funding. Rauner also said part of the holdup could be to get more funds for Chicago Public Schools.
“They are threatening to hold up school funding and school opening in the fall in exchange for more money for Chicago; that’s wrong, we cannot allow that to happen,” Rauner said.
State Sen. Andy Manar said in a statement that the governor is making the same mistakes as his predecessors. “We spend $12 billion today on schools, and we have the least equitable system in America. We can spend that $12 billion better to drive better results and bridge the inequality gap.”
Rauner and members of the GOP have proposed fully funding the education formula now to ensure schools get the funding they need for the coming school year and then working on a bipartisan change to the school funding formula.