On Monday the general assembly passed a bipartisan compromise on education funding aimed at fixing our broken statewide school funding formula, one of the most unfair systems in the country.
This new law provides the same promise of permanent funding for our local schools that I supported in Senate Bill 1, with some additions at the request of Republicans.
I don't agree with 100 percent of what's in the final bill but this compromise delivers 100 percent of what our local schools need.
The compromise granted a $75 million-dollar tax credit scholarship program for private schools demanded by Republicans which I do not support. Some say it was a small price to pay for a pilot project that will automatically repeal in 5 years. I still believe that public funding should only be used to fund public schools, but in good conscience I cannot make perfect the enemy of good.
Bipartisan negotiations helped us discard Rauner's regressive ideas along with a multimillion dollar property tax hike hidden in his plan. What ultimately prevailed was a bill that finally creates a fair funding formula that treats CPS like any other school district in the state, frees up funding from pension liability, puts more money back into actual education of our children and most importantly, keeps the doors to CPS and every other school district in Illinois open for the entire school year.
We were able to push back and reject Rauner's plan that would have picked winners and losers, pitting one child against another.
His proposed plan took money from struggling schools and sent more to enrich wealthy districts.
For the first time in the history of education funding we can proudly say we have taken the first step toward real property tax relief. Families and parents will be empowered with greater transparency and control over how tax dollars are being spent and we are closer than ever to fixing Illinois broken school funding system.
After receiving hundreds of calls and letters from you to fix our school system this was too important to let partisan differences get in the way.
At the end of the day, the long term benefits outweighed the bad. I am glad that the evidence based model provisions in SB1 will bring historic change to public schools in Illinois.
Every state school district wins under this plan. Our kids and families deserve predictability and a promise from our educational system and now they finally have it.
For more information on funding for CPS take a look at this fact sheet.
Have a wonderful holiday weekend and first day back to school!