Emanuel: Rauner “Governing Through Anger” In Rewriting School Funding Plan

CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel accused Gov. Bruce Rauner of “governing through anger” by rewriting a school funding measure, to slash additional funding for Chicago Public Schools.

Emanuel said Rauner was wrongheaded and just wrong to issue an amendatory veto of education funding legislation that the mayor said would help some 250 school districts more than it helps CPS.

“He is governing through anger, and it’s a mistake to govern through anger when there’s a consensus, and even you yourself and your administration say you agree with 90 percent of what’s in there,” Emanuel said.

The education funding measure, known as Senate Bill 1, would change the way Illinois public schools are funded, by using what’s known as an “evidence-based” formula, which provides additional money for economically-disadvantaged districts without reducing funding for other districts.

On Tuesday, the governor used his amendatory veto power to remove a $250 million block grant for CPS from the legislation, and change how the state’s new school funding formula weights pension money for CPS when distributing money for all schools, among other changes.

Rauner has insisted Senate Bill 1 diverts additional school aid from other school districts to CPS, and has called the legislation a bailout for Chicago’s teacher pension woes.

A clause in the state budget lawmakers enacted over Rauner’s veto last month would prevent schools from receiving state funding without the new “evidence-based” formula in place, meaning state funding for schools across the state cannot be doled out until Senate Bill 1 or other similar legislation is enacted.

Emanuel was asked how CPS could cope with the lost state money with no education funding plan in place, the mayor said the governor’s amendatory veto will hurt minority and poor students in less-affluent school districts more than it hurts Chicago.

Without a school funding plan in place, some districts risk not being able to open in the fall, or having to close their doors in a matter of weeks, but Emanuel repeatedly has said Chicago schools will be open next school year, regardless of the fate of education funding in Springfield.

“One, kids in Chicago will be in school on day one. They will be there for the whole year. That can’t be said about other school districts. Two, you’re asking me on the heels of the fact that he was overridden four separate individual times just in the last two weeks,” Emanuel said.

However, Emanuel stopped short of predicting Republican lawmakers would again join Democrats in overriding the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 1. He said he expects lawmakers to go around Rauner, who he called a stumbling block to progress and someone willing to see poor and minority students hurt.

“I think that they’re going to work as they have in the budget to work around the governor,” the mayor said.

In response to the mayor, Rauner spokeswoman Laurel Patrick issued an email statement calling Emanuel’s comments “disappointing.”

“What he has to remember is that the governor is committed to helping Chicago – but not at the expense of every other student in Illinois. Gov. Rauner has to do what’s in the best interest for the entire state, not just one district, and that’s why he issued the amendatory veto. Under the amendatory veto, Chicago Public Schools is going to receive millions dollars more than it would under the existing school funding formula. AND the governor is committed to helping Chicago Public Schools enact long-term pension reform the will make sure the cash crunch the district is in never happens again.”

The Illinois Senate has until Aug. 1 to either accept or override the governor’s veto. The House would then have 15 days to vote. If the two chambers do not agree on whether to accept the veto, or if either house fails to act, the legislation dies, and lawmakers would have to draft a new plan to send to the governor.

Lawmakers have been meeting the past several days to discuss a possible compromise on education funding if they can’t come to an agreement on the governor’s veto.

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