Senate Sends School Funding Bill To Gov. Rauner

CHICAGO (CBS) — In Springfield, negotiations to avoid Gov. Bruce Rauner’s threatened veto of a school funding measure collapsed — and the Senate sent the funding bill to the governor Monday afternoon.

CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports that Springfield is now waiting for Rauner to use his veto pen after Democrats and Republicans had dramatically different readings on a meeting to try to reach a school funding compromise. Democrats described progress; Republicans called it stalling.

After meeting for two hours, on the heels of hours of weekend talks, Democrats sounded optimistic about reaching a solution.

“We’ve asked our Republican colleagues to continue negotiations so that we can come to a reasonable compromise,” said Sen. Andy Manar.

But Republicans called Monday’s talks a complete waste of time, with Sen. Jason Barickman saying, “when we attended the meeting, no offer was made. In fact, we spent nearly an hour doing nothing more than listening to the Democrats shuffle their papers and seemingly try to buy time.”

At issue is the fate of Senate Bill 1, which both sides agree would rewrite the state school funding formula in a positive way by sending more money to poor and minority districts that need it.

But Gov. Rauner objects to $215 million for Chicago schools to pay for teacher pensions — making it the only district in the state where pensions costs aren’t paid for by the state.

Rauner wants to cut that money out of the bill, using an amendatory veto.

“We would rather not go to a veto showdown — I would say that. We would like to see a reasonable compromise with Gov. Rauner,” Manar said.

But Gov. Rauner believes the time for talk is over, which is why Democrats sent the bill to his desk.

The Governor’s Office told CBS 2 that they are studying the bill and will issue their veto Tuesday.

And after that, lawmakers will have 15 days to either accept Rauner’s changes or override his veto. If they can’t do either, they will have to start on a new funding bill, starting from scratch.

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