Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is making a push for the state Senate to pass a "clean education funding bill" that would ensure public schools are given state funding and are able to open as scheduled in the fall.
Rauner's office issued a press release ahead of the close of the 2016 fiscal year, set to end on June 30, supporting pending public school funding legislation that had been proposed by GOP legislative leaders.
"Our priority right now should be funding our schools for the upcoming school year," Rauner said in the release. "Since day one, I have been committed to building a world-class education system in Illinois that ensures every child goes to a high-quality school and can go on to a high-paying career. Fully funding our schools is a step closer to making that a reality."
However, many Republicans are arguing against the new bill, saying that it will take money away from the more affluent suburban school districts. They added that the debate over the bill could cause schools to be unable to open in the fall as planned.
After a tour of the west suburban Lyons Township High School, Rauner noted that lawmakers should turn their focus to offering more state aid to schools rather than pushing for an immediate change to the way education is funded in the state.
"They threaten to hold up school funding and school opening in the fall for a new school funding formula," Gov. Bruce Rauner said. "That's wrong. Our schools shouldn't be held hostage. We've got to put more money into the schools while we continue to work on a bipartisan basis to come up with a school funding formula change."
The bill, currently being considered in the state senate, would phase out the funding formula that is being used now and replace it with a new formula that would offer poorer school districts a larger portion of state aid than wealthier districts would receive.
However, some, including Minority leader Jim Durkin, who represents Lyons Township, believe no district should be losing money. Durkin said schools should not be punished for planning their budgets well and putting the taxpayer's money to good use, reports Charles Thomas for ABC7.
Political reporter Paris Schutz suggests that while the bill may pass through the Senate, it most likely will not have the same success when it reaches the House because it could cause districts to lose money.
However, supporters of the bill maintain that the formula in use now already has "winners and losers" and that the new bill would simply rearrange who gets more money to give more to those that need it, reports Paul Caine for WTTW.
A full budget has yet to be put in place by the state for the 2016 fiscal year.
K-12 and early childhood education each received funding during the budget impasse through the help of a spending bill that the governor signed last year.