Fowler blasts opponent for supporting education bill many call a bailout for Chicago Public Schools
Illinois State Sen. Gary Forby (D-Benton) is facing criticism from his Republican opponent for the Senate seat, Harrisburg Mayor Dale Fowler, following his support of an education funding formula linking funding for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to downstate schools.
Senate Bill 231, sponsored by Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), passed in the Senate with a vote of 31-21-3 on May 10.
Under the plan, it is estimated that 56 percent of downstate schools will lose money while CPS will receive an additional $352 million.
“If the House and Senate can’t agree on a new funding formula before the summer vacation starts, which is right now basically, they must, in my opinion, at the very least, need to fully fund the schools under the current formula,” Fowler said. "I’ve talked to local superintendents all over the districts. They need to be planning for next year and not worrying about whether or not the doors are going to be open. That is not where their focus should be.”
The bill will now go to the Illinois House, where downstate Democrats have indicated that it will not move forward because it links funding for the CPS to downstate schools.
Forby defended the bill.
“I think Andy’s done a good job," he said. "I think he went all the way from Chicago to Carroll. I think he’s done a good job with this."
As the discussion continues in Springfield, House Democrats, Senate Republicans and Gov. Bruce Rauner continue to urge lawmakers to move forward and fully fund General State Aid. This would ensure that K through 12 schools would be funded while the legislature continues working to develop a new education funding formula.