'Sanctuary State'? GOP Gov. Under Fire for Immigration Law

Illinois House to Vote on New School Funding Plan

The vote cast what was thought to be a historic step forward for public-school funding statewide into sudden doubt.

This came after Democrats overwhelmingly voted down the bill earlier in the evening during a Special Session.

Nobody got everything they wanted, but nearly everybody seemed happy when this compromise legislation got a favorable vote.

After weeks of going back and forth, IL lawmakers passed a historic school funding bill for education Monday night.

It was to have replaced an initial Democratic-sponsored school-funding bill that the governor vetoed on August 1. After putting off a vote because of leaders' negotiations on a fresh deal, the House tried unsuccessfully late Monday to follow suit.

If the override fails, Democrats can try again to approve the compromise bill. An override requires a three-fifths majority.

The legislation filed Monday provides a tax credit worth 75 percent of a taxpayer's annual contributions to a scholarship fund, with a maximum credit of $1 million annually.

The measure increases funding for school districts and distributes the money in a way lawmakers say is more equitable. Part of the agreement includes having a TIF Reform Commission study and make recommendations on TIF reform.

Several DACA students are still on campus, and some said they will feel comforted by the governor signing the Trust Act during a time when President Donald Trump's administration seeks to curb illegal immigration and build a wall between the US and Mexico. "... This would be the first major education funding compromise in decades".

Incoming Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady emerged from the meeting to call the deal a "win-win".

"It's interesting that the one way to fund public schools today hinges on whether we will provide a tax credit shelter for people who have the money to fund parochial education that is an interesting question on the floor today" said Representative Carol Ammons, D-Champaign. For every dollar donors give, they receive a 75-cent tax credit.

Rauner appears resigned to some kind of bail out for the Chicago Public Schools, despite heavy criticism that the CPS has mismanaged its finances for years.

"To me, this issue is too important", Flowers said.

Many Democrats and some Republicans opposed the tax credit, which teacher unions lined up against.

Under the legislation, the Chicago Board of Education would have the authority vote to raise property taxes by an additional $120-$163 million to pay for teacher's pensions.

Without a school funding system in place in IL, school districts have not been receiving the state aid they need to keep schools operating more than a few weeks. But Rep. Bob Pritchard, R-Hinckley, said this reform measure is one of the best things the Illinois House has done. They fear the scholarships - which lawmakers say would benefit as many as 10,000 students - will reduce enrollment at public schools, some of which are struggling to maintain enough students to stay open. The House is expected to vote on it Monday.

"It's not fair but it's going to end up being a compromise", Rauner said.



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