Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday pressed for passage of a "clean education funding bill" to ensure public schools "will receive state funding and open in the fall."
With the 2016 fiscal year set to end June 30, Rauner's office issued a press release in support of pending school funding legislation proposed by GOP legislative leaders.
"Our priority right now should be funding our schools for the upcoming school year," Rauner said in the release. "Since day one, I have been committed to building a world-class education system in Illinois that ensures every child goes to a high-quality school and can go on to a high-paying career. Fully funding our schools is a step closer to making that a reality."
The state has yet to enact a full budget for the 2016 fiscal year.
K-12 and early childhood education have been funded during the state budget impasse under a spending bill the governor signed last year.
Rauner is now backing SB 3234 and its companion bill, HB 6335. The legislation "ends proration - which benefits every district in the state - fully funds schools for the first time in seven years, and sends a record level of state aid to districts across the state," his office said.
Rauner and the state's GOP legislative leaders "are committed to reforming the current school funding formula" and "agree a new formula should send more money to low-income and rural schools without taking resources away from other districts and pitting communities against each other," according to the release.
Senate President John Cullerton's office issued a response to Rauner's education funding comments:
Governor Rauner said in his budget speech that no schools should lose funding, and yet more than one-third of the school districts in Illinois lose money under his plan.
He would force schools across Illinois to slash services and staff. Some might not be able to open or stay open next year.
Chicago schools alone lose $74 million. Governor Rauner's plan cuts funding for schools in East St. Louis and Naperville as well.
That's not acceptable. Our students deserve better.
I am encouraged that the governor and Republicans recognize the current system's failings. They said they want a system that recognizes the needs of rural and low-income communities. Lucky for them, that plan is pending in the Illinois Senate and they will soon get the chance to vote for it.