Metro-East News

Here’s how local senators voted in the school funding veto override

In this Jan. 25, 2017 file photo, Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks in the Illinois House chamber in Springfield, Ill.
In this Jan. 25, 2017 file photo, Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks in the Illinois House chamber in Springfield, Ill. AP

In a vote that was along party lines, with one Republican voting against Gov. Bruce Rauner, the Illinois Senate voted to override the first-term governor’s amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1, which changes the funding formula for public schools.

The vote was 38 to 19. Only 36 senators needed to vote yes.

Metro-east legislators voted along party lines as State Sens. James Clayborne, D-Belleville, and Bill Haine, D-Alton, voted yes to override Rauner.

State Sens. Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo, and Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, voted no on the override.

Rauner said the bill, on which he issued an amendatory veto, contains a Chicago Public Schools bailout.

The legislation now moves to the House where it also needs a three-fifths majority. Democrats have a 67 to 51 majority, and would need at least four Republicans to vote yes to override. The House is next scheduled to meet Wednesday.

Haine said the proposed formula in the bill is based on data and that no districts will get less money.

“It’s the only alternative we had to have equitable funding for schools … and it keeps schools open,” Haine said in a phone interview.

In a statement, Haine said the legislation was the “most scrutinized bill in recent state history.”

“It provides millions of additional dollars for metro-east schools, and for the first time in nearly two decades gives them much-needed stability from year to year,” Haine said. “The governor’s veto is an attempt to pit school districts and children against each other. It is divisive partisan politics that does nothing to support the schoolchildren in Edwardsville, Alton or Collinsville.”

Clayborne did not return a phone call on Sunday.

In a Facebook Live message after the vote, McCarter said he hopes the override fails in the house and negotiations on school funding resumes.

He said a compromise bill was also passed by the state Senate, in case the SB 1 override fails in the House.

“I hope that we can come up with a much more mature, and completely develop conversation on … reforming pensions state wide. I hope we can talk about relief from unfunded mandates for all schools, not just Chicago,” McCarter said.

He also added he wanted language for citizens to call for the consolidation of schools districts.

McCarter said the money allocation in the bill that passed the senate sends more per student to Chicago schools than a downstate school districts. The evidence based formula would lead to a progressive tax increase because it would need $3.5 billion more to pay for the new costs, he added.

“I’m not going to bailout Chicago with their pensions, which they asked to take care on their own, now they want us to take care of it … on the backs of parents and children of the 51st District,” McCarter said.

In a phone interview, Schimpf said he did not believe SB1 is an equitable school funding plan for Southern Illinois schools and that Chicago has 19 percent of the state’s students, but gets 34 percent of the school funding.

He also said he was against pension spending being in the K-12 spending bill. Schimpf said he supports the evidence-based funding model, but thinks Chicago’s share needs to be reduced.

“I think that some type of a compromise with a reduced amount of the funding disparity and taking out those legacy pension costs, that’s what I would like to see, and I think that would get bipartisan support in the General Assembly,” Schimpf said.

Schimpf said he would be surprised if the House overrode Rauner’s veto because of a lack of a Democratic veto-proof majority.

“The funding disparity between what Chicago gets and what the rest of the state gets is fairly significant,” Schimpf said.

Joseph Bustos: 618-239-2451, @JoeBReporter

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