Rauner calls lawmakers back for special session on education funding bill

By TONIA HILL
Staff Writer

Gov. Bruce Rauner, on Monday, said that state lawmakers will come back to Springfield for a special session on Wednesday, July 26, centered on Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), a school funding reform bill that would alter the way money is distributed to schools statewide.

“Democrats have been holding this bill since May 31. Our families and students cannot wait any longer,” Rauner said in a written statement. “We must act now, which is why I’m calling lawmakers back to Springfield for a special session. Our schools must open on time.”

Public schools across the state may not open on time unless the bill is sent to Rauner.

He plans to amend the bill to cut “Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) pension bailout that’s currently included in the bill, which then would provide more money to children and schools statewide,” according to a written release.

Last week CPS released its budget for the upcoming school year. The district maintains that it will open on time this year despite uncertainty in Springfield, regarding SB 1.

CPS’ $2.28 billion budget relies on $300 million from Senate Bill 1 (SB1), which was passed in May by the Illinois legislature. The monies would go toward current and past due pension payments.

In a previous article in the Herald, CPS Chief Executive Officer Forrest Claypool said the governor “is holding children across the state hostage as bargaining chips for his political agenda, but we won’t let Chicago children be used as pawns in his game.”

The district will spend more to educate students this school year. Per pupil spending for next year will increase to $4,290, up five percent from the $4,087 rate at the beginning of the previous school year.

This fiscal year the district said it would receive $2.281 billion, a reduction of $43 million. Last fiscal year, the district received $2.324 billion.

The reduction in monies for the budget, according to CPS comes from the projected decline in enrollment. CPS also expects a population decline of about 8,000 students this fall.

Additionally, CPS said it expects to see a decrease in federal dollars.

“CPS will have about $40 million less in federal funds to distribute to both district-run and charter schools,” CPS said in a written statement. “This is due to a likely reduction in the overall amount of federal Title I and Title II funds going to school districts nationwide, declining CPS enrollment and a lower concentration of poverty in Chicago.”

Special education funding will see a bump in financing this academic year.

Budgets for schools in the district were made available on Monday.

Area schools budgets are listed below:

Bret Harte Elementary School, 1556 E 56th St., will receive $2,443,323 a little over $100,000 less than it did previously.

Dyett High School for the Arts, 555 E. 51st St., will receive $2,352,958 this school year.

Hyde Park Academy High School, 6220 S. Stony Island Ave., will receive $6,572,707 a decrease from last year’s $7,212,773.

Kenwood Academy High School, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., will receive $12, 385,874 a small increase from last year’s $12, 362, 130.

Kozminski Elementary Community Academy, 936 E 54th St., will receive $1,871,510 this year increase from last year’s $1,823, 071.

Murray Language Academy will receive $3,902,027 a decrease from last year’s $3,763,935.

Ray Elementary School will receive $4,746,457 a decrease from last year’s $4,788,335.

Reavis Elementary Math & Science Specialty School, 834 E. 50th St., will receive $1,631,041 an increase from last year’s amount, $1,582,848.

Shoesmith Elementary School, 1330 E 50th St., will receive $2,411,268 a decrease from the previous school year’s, $2,451,260.

The figures released today will be readjusted this fall, based on the each school’s actual enrollment.

t.hill@hpherald.com