At Issue: Key Lawmakers Believe A State Budget Agreement Is Still Possible

CHICAGO (CBS) — Lawmakers in the Illinois Senate say they are in an agreement on many of the elements of a state budget and a measure was approved in their Chamber, but some nagging differences remain on some key issues.

West suburban Republican State Senator Michael Connolly said republicans could not vote for a new school funding bill, because it contains hundreds of millions of dollars more for Chicago’s Public Schools. But Oak Park Democratic Senator Don Harmon can’t understand why that’s a problem. Harmon said the school aid bill is fair to all, and fixes a broken system. WBBM’s Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports.

“Two-hundred-sixty eight school districts in the state of Illinois do better per-pupil than the state of Chicago,” Harmon said. “This is an evidence based formula that provides for adequate funding for all students. Why are students in the city of Chicago less deserving than students in your district or in the more prosper suburban parts of my district.”

“It’s actually the other way around Don. We are spending more on that bill for Chicago students per-pupil than we are in rest of the state,” Connolly said.

“No we are not!” Harmon said.

Governor Rauner has pronounced the so-called evidence-based school funding bill that passed the Senate as a Chicago bailout. Republican State Senator Michael Connelly agrees it gives too much money to the city’s public schools, and officials should use surplus development funds to help balance their budget.

Senator Harmon said more than 200 schools do better than Chicago under the bill, which the Senate passed.

The measure’s in the Illinois House now, and Governor Rauner suggests he’d veto it.

We’ll talk about the budget, schools and politics on our AT ISSUE program this weekend and you can hear more Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.

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