05312017CM0287SPRINGFIELD- State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) today voted to support community schools.

“Today we passed monumental school funding reform that will allow all our children a chance to be successful regardless of their zip code,” Castro said. “This funding reform will finally give school districts like U-46 essential funding to support our students without taking resources away from students in School District 54, District 211 or any other district in the state.”

Castro praised Senate Bill 1 as a monumental school funding reform bill that is widely supported by school superintendents, educators, advocates and community organizations across the state.

“This was not only the most beneficial reform brought forth this legislative session, it is also the most necessary,” she said.

The state’s school funding formula has not been updated in more than 20 years and is considered one of the worst in the nation. The final step needed to enact SB1 into law was a signature from Gov. Bruce Rauner, yet he refused to advance the historic reform, instead vetoing it and requesting the changes.

Castro’s vote helped the Senate override Gov. Rauner’s that demanded more than 100 changes to the historic measure just weeks before school was scheduled to start. A final vote is needed in the House for a full override.

One of the most impactful changes demanded by the governor was the removal of a hold harmless provision for school districts after three years. Unlike the plan Castro supported, the governor’s proposal could result in school districts such as Districts 54 and 211 losing money at the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

Rauner’s veto came despite his approval of “90 percent of Senate Bill 1,” according to his education secretary earlier this year. But instead of enacting this historic reform, he chose to use education funding as leverage in an attempt to further his regressive legislative agenda. Several of the demanded changes weren’t even related to education, including an amendment that would punish schools for their local governments’ economic development efforts.

“We shouldn’t have to choose between providing our children with a good education and growing our economy,” Castro said. “I don’t know why Governor Rauner is trying to force municipalities to make that choice.”

Castro said Gov. Rauner once again showed he was willing to pit Illinois’ communities against one another to further an economic agenda that has largely failed for lack of support in the general assembly.   

“Governor Rauner is using his veto powers to distract the people of Illinois from the real issue at hand: fixing an outdated and unfair school funding system,” Castro said. “We should be searching for the best outcomes for the children of Illinois, yet the governor refuses to meet us at the bargaining table.”

Senate Bill 1 passed the Senate with bipartisan support and now moves to the House for consideration.

Category: News

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