The Illinois Senate voted Aug. 13 to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1, a school funding proposal. Rauner’s changes to the bill included stripping it of language that primarily or exclusively benefited Chicago Public Schools at the expense of school districts in need across the state.
Members of the Senate rejected those changes and successfully overrode the governor on a 38-19 vote. The override required a three-fifths majority, or 36 votes, to pass. Democrats hold 37 seats in the Illinois Senate, and all voted in favor of the override.
A lone Republican, state Sen. Sam McCann of Jacksonville, also voted “yes” on the override. McCann in July received $53,900 from the political arm of the Illinois Education Association, or IEA, the state’s largest teachers union. The IEA supports the override of Rauner’s changes to SB 1.
SB 1 will now head to the House, where it will need 71 votes to pass. Unlike the Senate, House Democrats do not hold a supermajority and will need Republican votes if they are to successfully reject the governor’s changes in favor of the original version of SB 1.
On Aug. 12, the Illinois State Board of Education released an analysis of Rauner’s amendatory veto showing more than 97 percent of Illinois school districts would receive more money compared with the version of SB 1 lawmakers sent to his desk.
Rauner’s changes stripping special privileges for CPS resulted in 831 of Illinois’ 852 school districts receiving additional funding, according to the ISBE analysis, showing the degree to which those districts have been subsidizing Chicago for more than a decade. Schools within the district of the Senate’s chief sponsor of SB 1, state Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, would have seen an $8.7 million windfall under Rauner’s changes.
Notably, all school districts would have received more funding than the previous year under the amendatory veto.
Illinois senators gifted Chicago a suite of special benefits in their override of the governor’s changes, including:
- An annual $200 million “block grant” exclusively for CPS, which was carved out years ago.
- Special treatment of CPS in the new funding formula that no other district receives. This special treatment is tied to the district’s legacy pension debt.
- Special subsidies for districts in property tax-capped jurisdictions and economic development zones that have disproportionately benefited CPS for years.
Whether the House will do the same remains to be seen.
Senators voting in favor of the override (38): Aquino, Bennett, Bertino-Tarrant, Biss, Bush, Castro, Clayborne, Collins, J. Cullerton, T. Cullerton, Cunningham, Haine, Harmon, Harris, Hastings, Holmes, Hunter, Hutchinson, Jones, Koehler, Landek, Lightford, Link, Manar, Martinez, McCann, McGuire, Morrison, Mulroe, Muñoz, Murphy, Raoul, Sandoval, Silverstein, Stadelman, Steans, Trotter, Van Pelt.
Senators voting against the override (19): Althoff, Anderson, Barickman, Bivins, Brady, Connelly, Curran, Fowler, McCarter, McConchie, Nybo, Oberweis, Rezin, Righter, Rooney, Rose, Schimpf, Syverson, Weaver.
Senators not voting (2): McConnaughay, Tracy.