State Senate Democrats are expected to file both a new school funding bill and a compromise stopgap budget bill on Tuesday, a day before the General Assembly reconvenes.
But Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration is already calling the school funding bill a “backdoor bailout” because it includes an extra $112 million to pay for Chicago teacher pensions in 2017.
According to Senate President John Cullerton’s office, the school funding bill would include a $760 million increase in state aid, with no school district losing money. It would also fully found the foundation level, and would include a $75 million increase to early childhood education, which is the amount Rauner supported in a Republican sponsored bill.
Chicago Public Schools would get a total of $286 million more in 2017 compared to 2016 — a 30 percent bump in the general state aid formula. It would also get $112 million to pay for teacher pensions in 2017. In 2016, CPS received $12 million from the state to pay for pensions.
It’s crunch time for CPS as they must make a $676 million payment by Thursday. Next year, the school district’s obligation will rise to $696 million.
The school funding bill would use existing revenue, and follows the same financial structure as the school funding bill Rauner signed last year.
The bill was shaped by the bipartisan working groups, as well as previous debates on the school funding formula.
A stopgap budget bill is also expected to be filed Tuesday — the same day Rauner has requested a meeting with the four legislative leaders.
But any inclusion of “extra” money for CPS isn’t going to draw any favor from Rauner, who has continuously railed against helping CPS out of its own fiscal troubles. His administration on Monday shot down the new school funding bill.
“This is nothing more than a backdoor bailout of the severely mismanaged Chicago Public School system,” Rauner spokesman Lance Trover said in a statement.
The school funding bill supported by Rauner increases school funding by $240 million and ensures no school district loses money.
Earlier Monday, Rauner reiterated that he won’t offer Chicago a one-time deal.
“CPS has refused to fund their own pensions for years. They’ve kicked the can down the road. And they’ve run their school system as much or more for patronage and political purposes than they have to educate their children,” Rauner said. “It’s a failure on the part of the mayor. It’s a failure on the part of CPS leadership. And what is patently unfair is for them to try to force Illinois taxpayers, families across the state, to bail out that failure.”
Last week, Rauner said he’d veto any temporary budget bill that includes a “bailout” for Chicago. He also outlined three options for CPS to get out of its financial burden: a “better teachers contract,” a property tax increase or bankruptcy re-organization.