CHICAGO - Governor Bruce Rauner held a press conference Tuesday to announce the formation of a 25-member bi-partisan, bi-cameral commission to propose ways Illinois' education funding can be equalized and improved - a new funding formula for Fiscal Year 2018. Rev. James Meeks will facilitate the group's meetings.
Rauner pointed out three key points as to why the commission was a priority:
- "I ran for governor to make Illinois schools the best in America," Rauner said. "Education should come first. Education funding should not be treated as a political football."
- "Illinois is dead last among 50 states for the percentage of education funding that comes from the state. We're the state that depends on property taxes more than any other state," Rauner said.
- "Illinois has the largest gap in spending between the highest income and the lowest income schools. Education is a right and must be a priority," he said. We need both equity and an increase in the funding levels."
"This won't be easy," Governor Rauner said. "Democrats don't agree with themselves how this should be done, and Republicans don't agree among themselves either."
Still, Rauner said, he's optimistic that a new formula can be agreed upon.