(UPDATE: 7:30pm) After a series of political maneuvers on the House floor, the House has voted to pass SB1947, the bill which provides state funding to local schools.
This came after Democrats overwhelmingly voted down the bill earlier in the evening during a Special Session. They then attempted to revive the original school funding bill, SB1, which was rejected by the Governor by an Amendatory Veto. That override vote failed as well.
At that point, House Speaker Mike Madigan, who helped negotiate SB1947, pushed again for it passage, saying in a statement, “This bill provides the same promise of permanent funding for our schools as Senate Bill 1, with some additional items included at the request of Republicans. Even if all members did not agree with 100 percent of what is in the final bill, this bill still delivers 100 percent of what schools throughout Illinois need. This bill is a permanent promise of more funding for schools statewide. Every district in Illinois wins under this plan.”
Democrats relented, joining Republicans to pass the bill with 73 votes, 2 more than were needed, even though the legislation includes $75 million in tax credits for people who contribute to private schools.
The bill now goes to the Senate, which meets on Tuesday.
A bi-partisan bill to fund schools in Illinois breaks down when Democrats rebel against their own leadership.
The bill negotiated last week by Democratic and Republican legislative leaders and drafted Sunday didn’t even get close to the 71 votes for passage in the House, missing by 25 votes, Speaker Mike Madigan one of the few Democrats to vote for the bill.
The trip wire for many Democrats was a $75 million tax credit for families who donate to private schools. Many believe that is taking money away from public schools.
Rep. Litesa Wallace, the Stateline’s only Democratic House member, released a statement on why she voted against the bill. “I was unable to support a measure that I don’t believe has been fully vetted. It includes educational and tax policy that has not shown to be successful in the 17 other states that have attempted such policy. In short, public schools lose. There are times like today when good public policy must outweigh the cry for political expediency. Our children’s futures are too important to get this wrong.”
Some Democrats are now pushing to ditch it and instead try to override the Governor’s amendatory veto of SB1, but House leadership knows they don’t have to votes to pass that either since no Republicans support it.
In other words, some sort of bi-partisan plan will be needed to fund schools, something the House has been unable to pull off up to now, causing the state to already miss two payments to local school districts.