Here’s what we say:
We’re a bit tired of Chicago, a world-class city that still attracts corporate headquarters, from being cast as an evil entity. We want Chicago schoolchildren to succeed as much as we want students in other areas of the state to succeed.
No wait. We didn’t say that. The Rockford Register Star said that in an editorial on Sunday. The paper was urging Gov. Bruce Rauner to get over himself and sign a bill that would improve the way the state spends money on schools.
We do say this:
Rauner calls the bill a “bailout” for Chicago, but it’s easy to bang around downstate Illinois blasting Chicago fat cats.
No wait. We didn’t say that, either. The Quad City Times said that in an editorial on Saturday. The Times, like the Register Star, was asking the governor to quit playing politics and sign the bill.
Not that Rauner was about to oblige them, or any of the other dozens of editorial boards, school superintendents and civic groups — up and down Illinois — urging him to sign Senate Bill 1. On Tuesday, as expected, he issued an amendatory veto of the bill, throwing education funding up for grabs weeks before schools are scheduled to open.
To our thinking — and we really are speaking for ourselves now — it’s a cryin’ shame. Illinois has had its fill of foolish stand-offs between the governor and the Legislature, and SB 1 is better than just a bill worth signing. It’s a historic chance to reform education funding, easing decades of financial inequities between rich and poor school districts.
But Rauner’s beef is that the bill is too kind to Chicago, so he wants the Legislature to make it less kind, though we’d say it’s not so kind at all. Just, for once, fair.
The new school funding formula, as laid out in the bill, would do away with a sizable block grant to Chicago’s schools starting in the 2018-19 school year, pick up Chicago’s pension costs in the same way the state now does for every other school district, and “hold harmless” school funding for one year, meaning no district could receive less this year than last.
But so be it. Let the negotiations begin. Because neither Rauner nor House Speaker Mike Madigan has the votes to dictate an outcome. There must be a rejiggering of the bill that both sides can live with.
We just don’t understand why Rauner thinks Senate Bill 1 is the hill on which to die.
Actually, the Quad City Times said that. But we agree.
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