ILLINOIS (KFVS) - Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner discussed school funding in a one-on-one interview on Thursday, July 20.
When asked about the budget impasse, the state's debt, his rift with a few lawmakers within his own party who voted for the budget, it all circled back to Senate Bill 1.
He wanted to talk about why Senate Bill 1 isn't on his desk.
The governor claimed it's being held back over a $300 million per year payment to a Chicago pension fund, which he opposes. However, without his signature, schools in the state will not have the funding to start the new school year.
"Release the bill, don't sit on it, don't wait until August to create a crisis," Gov. Rauner said. "Send it to my desk and I will amendatory veto it and take out the bad pension payment part that's going to cost tax payers money, and schools will open on time with more money."
Senate Bill 1 revamps the school funding formula throughout the state to level the playing field between wealthier and low-income school districts in the state.
The bill passed the House and Senate on May 31. Now, the governor said he wants to act on it.
"Let's focus on getting education funding done properly so the money comes to the school districts where it needs to go," he said. "No pension bailout, get schools open on time. Ignore everything else, treat our teachers and our students like a priority. Let's put our kids first, get our schools opened on time and worry about everything else later. Right now, we have one priority, our schools and getting them open with the right amount of money."
Despite the school funding bill passing six weeks ago, Gov. Rauner said the speaker has not released it to his desk.
"There's a concern he's waiting until August when schools need to open," he said, "and he won't let them open unless we all, the taxpayers, agree to do a pension bailout for Chicago..."
The governor said that bailout would take hundreds of millions of dollars away from Carbondale and Marion and Mount Vernon.
We reached out to Democratic Representative Brandon Phelps to see if he could shed some light on the hold-up. We'll let you know when we hear back.