School stunner: 'Compromise' education bill fails in Illinois House

At this point, however, literally all 108 are Democrats, and in a House led by a far-right Republican majority, the bill has no realistic chance of getting a vote, at least in this Congress.

That aspect concerned some Democrats, specifically Chicago lawmakers, and is opposed by powerful teacher unions, including the Chicago Teachers Union and the Illinois Federation of Teachers. The House's first vote was 46-61, but after failing to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's amendatory veto of the original funding legislation, the chamber tried again.

Supporters said the measure they ultimately approved is imperfect, but that it will reduce huge funding disparities between wealthy and poor school districts. Outside, an opponent carried a sign that said, "Illinois victim families say no sanctuary state".


In other Illinois employment legislation news, Gov. Rauner also vetoed legislation that would have amended the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act to make it a felony (rather than a misdemeanor) for a person or entity to fail to pay wages or final compensation if the amount at issue is more than $5,000.

The Illinois Senate on Tuesday signed off on a bipartisan measure to revamp how the state distributes money to local school districts.

Republican and Democratic leaders had been negotiating the proposal in closed-door meetings for days, with few details released before Monday.


One of the more contentious results of the negotiations is a possible tuition tax credit pilot program for which officials may earmark up to $75 million for tax credits to parents who send their children to private schools. The credits would be worth 75 percent of a taxpayer's annual contributions to a scholarship fund, with a maximum credit of $1 million annually.

"Opening the door to additional school privatization and creating tax credits for parochial/private schools is no compromise", Pawar said. This would be Illinois' first-ever tax credit scholarship program and would stand as one of the largest in the nation. The money may be donated to a specific school, but not to a specific student. The same bill would have created a new provision in IL state contracting laws to prevent repeated or willful violators of certain wage-and-hour laws from doing business with the state for a period of five years.

Students receiving the scholarships must have a total household income of less than 300 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $73,000 annually for a family of four. Without state money, school officials have said they will be able to open classrooms for the new school year, but many districts worry they will run out of money if the impasse isn't resolved soon.


State Sen. Daniel Biss, a Democrat from Evanston seeking his party's nomination to take on Rauner in 2018, was among those voting no, saying he made his decision not because he doesn't understand compromise, but because "public dollars to private schools" crossed a "red line" for him and sets a "dangerous precedent". The Senate previously overrode the governor's veto with a 38-19 vote. That override vote failed as well.


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