SPRINGFIELD – Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) issued the following statement in response to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s media event in Auburn today:

“One can easily argue that Senate Bill 1 is perhaps the most scrutinized proposal in legislative history. After all those hearings, printouts, debates and reviews, the education leaders of Illinois overwhelmingly said it is the best way forward.

“Now, Gov. Rauner comes along with a secret plan. No one has seen it. He won’t tell us where he gets his numbers. His alleged problems with our proposal seem to change from news conference to news conference. How about a simple meeting of legislative leaders and education negotiators to discuss Senate Bill 1 rather than order expensive special sessions? He hasn’t done that this year or, for that matter, since taking office.

“Bruce Rauner wants to be known as the education governor. He promised to overhaul the state’s worst-in-the-nation funding system. Senate Bill 1 gives the governor the chance to honor his promise and be the governor he wants to be. When that reality finally sinks in on Gov. Rauner, we will send him Senate Bill 1 and look forward to the signing ceremony.”

Category: School Funding Reform

Manar07122017SPRINGFIELD – An angry, knee-jerk veto promised by Gov. Bruce Rauner could set Illinois schools and students back another two decades, Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) said Thursday, urging the governor to choose rational compromise over divisive rhetoric.

“School funding reform is a critically important issue for Illinois. For 20 years, people have invested their time, their sweat and their tears into building bridges, overcoming regional divides and collaborating on ideas so we can fix our broken school funding formula,” Manar said. “Gov. Rauner is going to set the clock back another 20 years if he follows through on his promise to veto Senate Bill 1.”

Manar is the sponsor of Senate Bill 1, a school funding reform overhaul that is widely supported by school superintendents, educators, advocates and professional and community organizations statewide.
Rauner has called Senate Bill 1 a “bailout” of Chicago Public Schools and this week is demanding that the legislation be sent to him so he can veto it. Lawmakers have put a hold on the legislation to protect it from a possible veto until Rauner calms himself and indicates he is prepared to act rationally about the landmark reform measure.

“Gov. Rauner is in no position to criticize anyone. He repeatedly has dropped the ball when it comes doing the right thing for Illinois public schools,” Manar said. “He vetoed the budget that ensured state support for schools. He failed to follow his own school funding reform commission’s recommendations, and now he’s planning to veto an overhaul of our unfair school funding formula.”

Manar called on the governor to negotiate with lawmakers about what he would like changed in Senate Bill 1 to make it more likely that he will sign it. That’s the responsible approach given everything that’s riding on its success, he said.

He also urged the governor to tone down the rhetoric.

“The oldest trick in the playbook is to show up in a downstate community and say, ‘Those people are the reason why you don’t have the things you need in your community.’ I’ve seen in a hundred times,” Manar said. “I’m not going to let Gov. Rauner’s divisive argument about geography derail school funding reform. We’ve come too far to let that happen.”

Category: School Funding Reform

SchoolChildrenI'm inviting you to a special town hall meeting in Springfield this evening (Thursday, July 13) to learn more about the push for fair school funding in Illinois and what you can do to encourage Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign a landmark reform measure that will land on his desk soon.

The event is sponsored by the Faith Coalition for the Common Good. It is free and open to the public.

Senate Bill 1 passed in both houses of the legislature May 31. It would establish an evidence-based model for funding public education and ensure that schools throughout the state open on time without interruption this fall.

In addition, should Senate Bill 1 become law, it would clear the way for lawmakers to begin taking a serious look at the state’s unfair property tax system. Because of Illinois’ badly flawed school funding formula, school districts depend too heavily on local property taxes for support. This overreliance not only perpetuates high property taxes, it contributes to school funding disparities and significant student achievement gaps among school districts.

Illinois can do better. Learn more about the options by joining us at 6 p.m. tonight (Thursday) at Union Baptist Church, 1405 E. Monroe St., Springfield.

This town hall will include:

  • A presentation about the evidence-based school funding model and Senate Bill 1.
  • Speakers who will share facts about Senate Bill 1, which provides dollars to the state’s neediest school districts without taking money from other districts. In other words, no more winners and losers in Illinois.
  • An opportunity to ask questions and to find out more about how to urge Gov. Rauner to cement his legacy as Illinois’ “education governor” by doing what’s right for all Illinois schoolchildren and signing Senate Bill 1 into law.

Despite statewide support for Senate Bill 1 and broad acknowledgement that our school funding formula is the worst in the nation, Gov. Rauner has pledged to veto Senate Bill 1 because he agrees with only 90 percent of the legislation. It’s disheartening that we’ve come this far in the fight to fix the formula only to be thwarted by partisan politics.

I hope you will take advantage of this special opportunity Thursday at Union Baptist Church. For more information about Senate Bill 1, visit fundingilfuture.org and the school funding reform section of my website.

When: 6 p.m. Thursday, July 13
Where: Union Baptist Church, 1405 E. Monroe St., Springfield
What: Town hall on fair school funding and Senate Bill 1, sponsored by the Faith Coalition for the Common Good. Free and open to the public.

SB1 FCCG Flyer

Category: School Funding Reform

SenateBill1A new Republican-backed school funding reform plan represents a redistribution of tax dollars and would result in the loss of federal money for special education and free and reduced lunch programs in school districts statewide.

Those are just two of the flaws that have been exposed so far in Senate Bill 1124, a plan that Republicans are attempting to rush through the General Assembly in the waning days of the special session.

Testimony presented during this afternoon’s House hearing on school funding reform made a firm case against Senate Bill 1124.

“An excellent school funding plan, Senate Bill 1, already has passed both houses of the Legislature with broad support from lawmakers, educators, parents and advocates in communities all over Illinois,” said Senator Andy Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat and the sponsor of Senate Bill 1.

“The idea that lawmakers should consider a new plan at this point is ludicrous, particularly when that bill appears to be deeply flawed, has not been adequately vetted, lacks support and pits schools against one another – basically everything we worked so hard to avoid with Senate Bill 1.”

Among the problems apparent with the Republicans’ school funding proposal:

  • It would result in the loss of federal funding for special education and free/reduced lunch programs in school districts statewide.
  • It represents a redistribution of dollars from poor school districts to wealthy school districts.
  • It creates winning and losing school districts.
  • There is no Republican-sponsored revenue bill to pay for school funding.
  • There are no known proponents for Senate Bill 1124, which is sponsored by Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington).
  • The Republicans’ full court press for Senate Bill 1124 began three weeks after May 31, the final day of the legislative session.
  • Barickman and Rauner education secretary Beth Purvis directly contradicted each other about details of the proposal while answering questions throughout this afternoon’s hearing.

Manar complimented the House for hosting today’s informative hearing on school funding and for helping to shed light on some of the many problems with the newest reform proposal. Senate Bill 1 is the clear path forward, he said.

“I know the issue of school funding is important to Gov. Rauner. He has an opportunity to join us in declaring a bipartisan victory on behalf of Illinois children that is more than 20 years in the making,” Manar said.

“Gov. Rauner has indicated he supports 90 percent of Senate Bill 1. Having now heard all of the problems with Senator Barickman’s plan, I hope the governor will throw 100 percent of his support behind Senate Bill 1 so we can help 100 percent of Illinois students.”

Category: School Funding Reform

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