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It has again come down to a deadline. After two years of harsh fighting over a budget, I share the exhaustion, the worry and the outrage my constituents and their teachers feel as the governor has declared he will veto school funding. As with the budget impasse, this avoidable fight appears to be largely over marginal details.

At issue now is Senate Bill 1 – a long-in-demand reform of school funding that is the result of years of study, bipartisan negotiation and legislative trial-and-error in the General Assembly. I am a proud chief co-sponsor of Senate Bill 1 because it’s the closest we’ve gotten in more than 20 years to sending a bill to the governor’s desk to fix our abysmal funding model here in Illinois. Part of the budget agreement reached earlier this month hinged on such reform becoming law.

Senate Bill 1 ensures no school districts lose any funding, while also smoothing out the unfairness that has existed in the state’s formula for decades. That inequity has led to massive student achievement gaps and gross disparities in funding for school districts. It has led to students mere miles away from one another attending schools with facilities that seem like they are in different countries. How we can look students in the eye and tell them we value education under the status quo is a mystery.

Crain’s has declared Senate Bill 1 a necessary reform for Illinois schools. School superintendents across the state have given it their vocal support. And even Gov. Bruce Rauner has said he supports 90 percent of the plan, and publicly stated in a recent press conference that with only minor tweaks, it would be acceptable. Why he chooses to veto it rather than accept it as a compromise – arrived at after numerous rounds of bipartisan negotiation and with broad public support – is deeply frustrating.

I became chief co-sponsor of this legislation because I believe in fair funding for Chicago and for all Illinois schools. I urge you to learn more about the plan by visiting, the website for the independent coalition of more than 200 superintendents and advocates who support school funding reform. And I also urge you to call Gov. Rauner’s office at 217-782-0244 and tell him to sign Senate Bill 1 when he receives it.

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Chicago Office:
1155 W. 79th St.
Chicago, IL 60620
(773) 224-2830

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