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Rep. Keith Wheeler
Students, parents and teachers deserve to have schools open on time.  Taxpayers deserve to have their taxes support the school districts where they pay taxes.

Unfortunately, school funding is unnecessarily in jeopardy this fall because of political games in Springfield.  Our children’s educations should not be at risk due to a manufactured political crisis designed to send more money to Chicago.

Schools in Oswego and Yorkville are scheduled to start on August 16th.  State aid payments to local school districts need to be sent by August 10th.  The Illinois State Board of Education needs to prepare vouchers for those payments by August 3rd

The holdup is that the current bill regarding school funding, SB1, has been held in the Senate since May 31st on a purely procedural measure designed to create pressure on legislators.  The Governor has stated plans to use and amendatory veto when he receives the bill to remove the special treatment for Chicago which lawmakers can sustain or override.  Chicago Democrats want to override the veto but don’t currently have the votes.  That explains the pressure.
State Rep. Keith Wheeler
Imagine suburban and downstate school superintendents arguing against additional state funding for their school districts.  That is actually happening.

Imagine suburban and downstate teachers arguing against additional state funding for their schools.  That is also actually happening.

Imagine a suburban or downstate parent (local property taxpayer) thinking that they are getting a fair return on their investment in their kids’ education through all the money they pay to support local schools. After all, it’s their tax dollars funding the salaries of those very same local school administrators and faculty who are arguing that local schools shouldn’t get their fair share of new state education funding. This is the reality we’re living in today.

Some discussions with school officials and teachers regarding Illinois school funding, and SB1 in particular, have been very disappointing.  We have seen school superintendents testify before the entire House of Representatives and ignore questions about how their district would fare under SB1 alternatives (they would all get more funding) with a disingenuous attitude demonstrated by a clear lack of understanding about the political process in Springfield.
State Rep. Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego)
There was intense concern raised during the final days of the recent debate on the income tax hike about the potential for the state's bonds being downgraded to junk status and the dramatic and lasting consequences that would bring should a budget fail to be passed. It should disappoint all Illinoisans that the General Assembly didn't do its job and send a budget along with substantial reforms to the Governor's desk to avoid this catastrophe.

Instead, a budget and a tax hike were sent to the Governor that everyone knew was going to be vetoed. This is direct fallout of the Speaker's approach to apply maximum pressure up against a terrifying deadline from which there appears to be no return…
·         Republican Legislators Present Compromise Balanced Budget Plan.  House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), Senate Republican Caucus Whip Karen McConnaughay (R-St. Charles), Assistant Senate Republican Leader Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington), Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon), Deputy House Republican Leader Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) and House Republican Conference Chairperson Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) have introduced a package of bills to end the budget impasse. The bills represent a compromise balanced budget and reforms that address the priorities of both parties, and urged the General Assembly to return to Springfield to vote on this proposal.

“Time is running out before the fiscal year ends, and we must act now! Where is the sense of urgency with Speaker Madigan to end this stalemate? Lawmakers should be in Springfield working around the clock until our job is finished. This comprehensive budget package with structural reforms that we are proposing today is the path forward to breaking the budget impasse,” said Durkin.

The comprehensive proposal includes a truly balanced budget, a four-year hard spending cap, lasting property tax relief, and changes to our regulatory system that will create jobs and grow the economy. The bills also include a $250 million increase for the new school funding formula, and fulfilling commitments to restore child care eligibility to 185% of the federal poverty level and a wage increase to Direct Support Professionals. It also includes term limits on legislative leaders and constitutional officers.