Connelly argues for bypassing funding fight to get money to schools now
Sen. Michael Connelly (R-Naperville) has a way to solve the ongoing hangup over the state's public education funding bill: Get rid of Senate Bill 1.
“Equity and fairness are the things that have to be a part of this,” Connelly told the DuPage Policy Journal. “The formula now being proposed is skewed in favor of the city and creates the fiction Chicago is poorer than other suburban districts. The fundamental flaw with SB1 is that not all of Chicago’s tax base is included in formula. Downtown Chicago is the most-expensive property in Illinois. Until that is rightfully factored in, the formula will be skewed.”
As a solution, Connelly is sponsoring House Bill 4085, which would keep last year’s school funding levels in place across the state while legislators come up with a long-term plan acceptable to all.
“With HB4085, we can work out issues and put forth a bipartisan bill for all of the state,” Connelly said. “I think most rank-and-file members have demonstrated they want a fair bill, and I’m hopeful the spirit of fairness will now reign.”
On Aug. 1 -- after waiting for two months since SB1's passage in the Legislature -- Gov. Bruce Rauner used an amendatory veto on SB 1 to strip it of added benefits earmarked for Chicago Public Schools that Rauner felt were unfair to other state schools. His veto was overridden by the Senate on Aug. 13, and the measure has been sent to the House, which as of Sunday had not taken it up.
State schools typically begin receiving funding on Aug. 10, but until a measure is in place, no state payments may be made.