Phelps’ choice: $5M more for local schools or a Chicago bailout?
Defenders of Senate Bill 1 are putting a bailout of Chicago Public Schools ahead of their own local school districts.
Will state Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, sacrifice local school districts for a Chicago bailout?
Gov. Bruce Rauner’s changes to a school funding bill would bring $5 million more to school districts Phelps represents, but Phelps could vote to scrap additional funding for his school districts in favor of special subsidies for Chicago Public Schools.
The Illinois Senate on Aug. 13 voted to override Rauner’s amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1, a school funding plan. Rauner’s changes to the bill stripped it of language that primarily or exclusively benefited CPS at the expense of school districts in need across the state. Under the amendatory veto, no school district would receive less money than it did in 2017.
In fact, Rauner’s changes would bring more money to 97 percent of Illinois school districts, compared with the version of SB 1 lawmakers originally sent to his desk. That includes a total of $5 million for school districts Phelps represents. As SB 1 heads to the House, Phelps and other representatives will have to decide whether they want to put a Chicago bailout ahead of their own local school districts.
Rather than embrace changes that would’ve brought greater fairness and equity to the education funding formula, senators who voted to override the governor’s amendatory veto chose to continue a long history of state bailouts for CPS.
If Phelps votes to override the governor, he will be doing the same, at the expense of students in his district.