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Senator Barickman's Senate Week in Review: July 17 - 21

SPRINGFIELD, IL –To avoid creating an unnecessary crisis for Illinois schools, Senate Republicans 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. 

Also this week, new legislation was signed into law to ensure life-saving treatments for children.

Republicans urge Democrat leaders to send school funding legislation to Governor

Even though a state budget is in place, Democrats are preventing schools from getting state funding by playing political games with a new formula that is required by law to be enacted before they can receive the bulk of their funding for the coming school year.  Senate Republicans are asking Democrat leaders to stop manufacturing an unnecessary crisis and take action, to ensure Illinois schools receive their state funding and their doors open on time.

The Fiscal Year 2018 state budget that was recently enacted includes a provision that ties an overwhelming majority of state school funding to an “evidence-based funding” model. However, Democrat legislators are using a procedural maneuver to stall and prevent Senate Bill 1—an evidence-based school funding model that cleared the General Assembly on May 31—from advancing to Governor Bruce Rauner, so he can take action on the measure.

This week, Governor Rauner announced he intends to use an amendatory veto to remove special deals included in Senate Bill 1 that would benefit just one district, Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Democrats amended the legislation prior to passage, in order to divert hundreds of millions of dollars away from 851 Illinois school districts to the benefit just one, CPS.  

Governor Bruce Rauner announced this week that his amendatory veto would adjust Senate Bill 1 so that it is closely aligned with the original ideals proposed by his School Funding Reform Commission – which had bipartisan support. The Governor’s changes would closely mirror a compromise measure, Senate Bill 1124, filed by Senator Jason Barickman. 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.

By holding Senate Bill 1 in the Senate and blocking action on Republican school funding proposals that have been introduced, the Democrats have placed school payments in jeopardy, leaving kids, teachers and parents waiting to find out if their schools will open on time.

Republican lawmakers have joined the Governor in urging their Democrat colleagues to stop playing games with school funding, in what appears to be an effort to create a crisis for Illinois schools. Instead, they stress Senate Bill 1 should be immediately sent to the Governor for action. This would allow for work to immediately begin on a compromise on school funding reform that lawmakers were very close to achieving this past May.

Amendatory veto plan would be better for schools

According to analysis based on funding levels from the enacted budget, the Governor’s planned amendatory veto would create a fairer system for the state’s K-12 schools.

By removing the Chicago-only deals, more money would be distributed through the evidence-based model, which uses scientific data and accepted best practices to send funding where it is needed most. This would ensure Illinois schools are funded more equitably, and direct precious state resources to the neediest school districts based on the evidence-based model—not on political deals for one school district.

No schools would lose funding under the Governor’s planned amendatory veto. Struggling districts and lower-income districts would pick up much-needed help. As an example, East St. Louis would gain approximately $2,604,945 due to the Governor’s amendatory veto, compared to just $1,378,691 under Senate Bill 1 in its current form. Peoria would add $4,076,775 with the veto, versus $1,850,542 through the current version of Senate Bill 1.

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

Charlie’s Law offers life-saving treatments to children

Legislation signed into law this week will ensure that children are able to receive life-saving treatments for autoimmune disorders connected to streptococcal infections known as PANDAS.

House Bill 2721 was inspired by Charlie Drury, an 8-year-old from Lombard. Drury’s diagnosis of strep throat evolved into a severe and common mental disorder in children known as PANDAS (pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections).

The legislation requires health insurance providers to include these treatments as part of their coverage. Though the condition can be cured by a specialized vaccine and/or certain medically-advised treatments, without coverage, families have had to pay for treatments which can surpass $10,000 per treatment.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed the legislation on July 18 at a ceremony in the Drury home.

Senator Barickman joined with Governor Bruce Rauner, Senator Chapin Rose, and Representatives Bill Mitchell and Brad Halbrook to discuss the Governor's planned changes to Senate Bill 1.

Senator Barickman discusses education funding and the recently passed budget with members of the Rotary Club of Pontiac.

Senator Barickman updates United Way board members from across the state on the status of school funding reform.

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