As promised, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner issued his amendatory veto of SB 1 to protect the state from sending additional dollars to Chicago’s pension system at the expense of Illinois’ 851 schools districts. State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Highland) released the following statement:
“I’m glad Governor Rauner took swift action in order to keep the schools open on time,” said Rep. Meier. “The Governor’s amendatory veto removes additional funds that would have bailed out Chicago Public Schools at the expense of schools downstate. I will support the Governor’s amendatory veto and I will not vote to override his veto.
I have been against SB 1 from day one due to the fact the education bill included a Chicago bailout. Treating our schools equally and the same is the goal. I support the Governor’s plan to fairly fund our schools.”
The Governor’s amendatory veto makes the following changes to ensure an adequate and equitable school funding formula:
• Maintains a per-district hold harmless until the 2020-2021 school year, and then moves to a per-pupil hold harmless based on a three-year rolling average of enrollment.
• Removes the minimum funding requirement. While the governor is committed to ensuring that the legislature satisfies its duty to fund schools, the proposed trigger of one percent of the overall adequacy target plus $93 million artificially inflates the minimum funding number and jeopardizes Tier II funding.
• Removes the Chicago block grant from the funding formula.
• Removes both Chicago Public Schools pension considerations from the formula: the normal cost pick-up and the unfunded liability deduction.
• Reintegrates the normal cost pick-up for Chicago Public Schools into the Pension Code where it belongs, and finally begins to treat Chicago like all other districts with regards to the State’s relationship with its teachers’ pensions.
• Eliminates the PTELL and TIF equalized assessed value subsidies that allow districts to continue under-reporting property wealth.
• Removes the escalators throughout the bill that automatically increase costs.
• Retains the floor for the regionalization factor, for the purposes of equity, and adds a cap, for the purposes of adequacy.
The amendatory veto also removes the accounting for future pension cost shifts to districts in the Adequacy Target. This prevents districts from ever fully taking responsibility for the normal costs of their teachers’ pensions.