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Brady and Barickman urge Democrat leaders to stop playing games with school funding

Springfield – To avoid creating an unnecessary crisis for Illinois schools, State Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) and State Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) are calling on the Senate Democrat majority to remove their parliamentary hold on Senate Bill 1, an evidence-based school funding measure, so that the governor can issue an amendatory veto that would make it fair and equitable to all 852 Illinois school districts. 

“The only reason to hold the bill is to create an unnecessary crisis, leaving kids, parents and students wondering whether their schools will open in the fall,” said Barickman. “Democrats need to stop playing games and send Senate Bill 1 to the Governor.”

In its current form, Senate Bill 1 (SB 1) diverts hundreds of millions of dollars away from 851 Illinois school districts to the benefit just one, Chicago Public Schools (CPS).  

Governor Bruce Rauner announced this week that his amendatory veto would adjust SB 1 so that it is closely aligned with the original ideals proposed by his School Funding Reform Commission – which had bipartisan support.

“Now that the governor has stated his position, I would encourage the Senate leadership to send SB 1 to his desk so he can issue his amendatory veto,” said Brady, the Senate Republican Leader designee.  “This will allow us to begin working immediately toward a compromise on school funding reform that we were so close to achieving this past May.” 

The Governor’s changes would closely mirror a compromise measure, Senate Bill 1124, filed by Senator Barickman in the hope of breaking the stalemate. Estimates based on data from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) show that nearly every single district would receive major increases in funding due to the Governor’s proposed changes.

“Ensuring our schools have the resources they need to be successful is our number one priority,” said Brady.  “It is also critical that we ensure every school district in Illinois, and more importantly, every student in Illinois is treated fairly and equitably.”

As an example, Bloomington School District 87 would receive an increase of $256,628 under the Republican plan, compared to just $163,065 under SB1 as it currently stands. McLean County Unit District 5 in Normal would add $662,943 under the Governor’s amendatory veto, but just $421,243 under SB1 as passed. The GOP plan for SB1 would offer $4,076,775 in additional funding to Peoria School District 150 versus only $1,850,542 under SB1 in its current version.

“Our plan would let the evidence based model do what it is supposed to, which is to put the money where data and best practices determine it should go, not based on political deals for just one school district,” said Barickman.

To see how all schools do better under the Governor’s school funding plan, please visit:  https://www.illinois.gov/gov/SitePages/SchoolDistrictFunding.aspx.

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