Springfield – After a weekend of promising negotiations that fizzled on Monday, Senate Democrats finally sent school funding legislation to the Governor, according to State Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington).
“Unfortunately Democrats again showed they aren’t interested in any real compromise,” said Barickman. “Now it is in the Governor’s hands to fix this flawed legislation so that all schools are funded more fairly and equitably.”
While Senate Bill 1 passed the General Assembly by partisan vote on May 31, for two months Democrats refused to send the legislation to the Governor for further action. The bill, as passed, would send the majority of all new funding to just one school district, Chicago Public Schools. Governor Rauner had publicly stated his plan to use his amendatory veto to remove the special Chicago-only deals from the bill, which would substantially increase funding for every single other school district.
At the Governor’s request, negotiations on a bipartisan school funding compromise began late last week and extended through the weekend and into Monday in the hope of finding consensus on a new school funding formula. Barickman, the lead Senate Republican negotiator said Democrats requested a meeting on Monday to make a “generous offer” that would include compromises sought by both sides, but then refused to present the offer in the meeting.
“Democrats have once again shown that they are more interested in perpetuating the crisis they created by threatening to hold up school funding. They don’t want bipartisan consensus, they simply want to drag this out in the hopes of forcing Republicans to capitulate and help them bail out Chicago on the backs on downstate families,” said Senator Barickman. “Now it’s up to the Governor to fix this legislation and move the process forward. It is my sincere hope that Democrats will then join us in making sure schools open on time this fall.”
Photo: Senator Barickman updates members of the media on school funding negotiations at the Illinois Capitol.