CHICAGO - The education activist group "Stand for Children" is calling on Governor Rauner to sign into law education bill SB 1. Governor Rauner said this week that while he agrees with 90 percent of the bill, he plans to amendatory veto the measure because it includes what he considers an unfair partial bailout of Chicago Public School teachers pension fund.
If the governor were to amendatory veto SB 1 like he says he will, the Illinois General Assembly will be asked to override the veto, requiring a three-fifths vote that would demand Republican support in the Illinois House.
Stand for Children posted a sample email on its website, urging the governor's signature and arguing its case for SB 1:
As a constituent and a supporter of quality education for every Illinois student, I urge you to support the Evidence-Based Funding for Student Success Act (or SB1) that recently passed the House and Senate. The bill would finally fix our state’s horrendously unfair and inequitable school funding system.
SB1 would bring a more equitable system that helps level the playing field for all students. One thing we can all agree on, regardless of political party, is that the quality of a student’s public education shouldn't depend on their zip code. SB1 aims to fix that.
SB1 also reflects the February 1, 2017 report and the principles of your bi-partisan, bi-cameral Illinois School Funding Commission. Furthermore, it keeps current funding levels for all school districts in Illinois in place – not a single one would lose funding. And finally, it incorporates HB656, putting an end to the practice of diverting 39 cents of every dollar of Title I funding used to hire teachers for our poorest students away from the classroom.
This is a solid bill that would put Illinois schools in a better position to succeed than they are today. I ask that you support it and sign it into law.
Stand for Children launched in Illinois in 2010. For the last seven years, the political action committee they formed has distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to both Republicans and Democrats. Their funding comes from major Chicago money - including the Crown family. Their website says they support candidates and lawmakers that:
- Support outstanding teachers and leaders, through policies on: evaluations; compensation; teacher qualification index; alternative certification programs; two-tier principal credentialing and teacher leadership in schools.
- Require high standards and effective systems: charter school funding; lift the charter school cap; longer school day; common core standards and the PARCC Consortium
- Education budget priorities, including funding for: teacher and principal development, accountability, high-poverty districts, and early childhood and bilingual education
So what does Stand for Children expect from the lawmakers that have taken money in the past couple of years?
A list of their most recent filings show donations to GOP House members like State Rep. Barbara Wheeler, Chad Hays, Joe Sosnowski, Mike McAuliffe, Steve Andersson, Bob Pritchard, Tom Morrison, Michael Unes, Allen Skillicorn and Sheri Jesiel.
How did those same lawmakers vote when SB 1 passed through the Illinois House and Senate on its way to Governor Rauner's desk?
Despite donations from Stand for Children, only one Republican - Chicago State Rep. Mike McAuliffe - supported SB 1 on the May 31st vote in the Illinois House.
Word is that lawmakers are not being pressured by Stand for Children to override the governor's amendatory veto if it comes to that:
The Senate vote was along party lines, Democrats yes, Republicans no:
Governor Rauner continues to call on the Senate to send the bill to his desk. Procedural manuevers are allowing the Senate to delay passing it along.