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Rauner signs historic education funding reform bill

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Staff Reporter

SPRINGFIELD |  Gov. Bruce Rauner on Thursday signed the state’s highly-debated, “historic” education funding bill, calling it “a wonderful achievement.”

“Today we are making Illinois history,” Rauner said. “Today we are putting our students and our teachers first. Today we are making sure that every day we make our students and our teachers in Illinois our top priority. Today we we ensure that in the future, every child in Illinois has an equal chance at excellent education, every student in Illinois has an equal opportunity to achieve the American dream.”

Rauner signed the measure the same week the Illinois Senate and House passed the agreement.

Senators voted 38-13 in favor of House Amendment 5 to Senate Bill 1947, the deal that was hammered out through a series of closed-door meetings of the four top legislative leaders.

Neither Republicans nor Democrats were completely happy with the bill, but one day after the state House passed the bill, senators came together and voted to approve what is being called historic legislation for public school children across the state.

“This is what compromise looks like. This is it. A bill that none of us like at 100 percent,” Sen. Kimberly Lightford, Maywood, said during debate.

“The legislature was able to come together through bipartisan compromise to approve a plan that fixes our worst-in-the-nation school funding formula. While there are aspects in this proposal that will need revision, I refuse to continue denying our children a quality education,” added Lightford

Failure to sign education funding by Thursday’s deadline:

Illinois missed the deadline make payments to K-12 schools for the first time in history Thursday, according to the state comptroller.

The state failed to make General State Aid payments by the Thursday deadline, Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza said in a statement.

Mendoza directed the payment of $429 million in grants to schools as a contingency, according to the release.

“Failure to sign General State Aid funding legislation allowing payment to school districts statewide meant monies reserved this week for that purpose, combined with additional cash management strategies, could be utilized to pay the grants already owed to those districts,” Mendoza’s office said.

 

 

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