Rauner strips money for Chicago schools from education funding bill

Gov. Bruce Rauner

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has used his veto power to strip millions of dollars for Chicago Public Schools from a school funding overhaul in a move that could mean no districts get state money before classes begin.

The Republican on Tuesday removed help for Chicago Public Schools’ pensions along with money the district formerly received in the form of a block grant, along with other changes.

Democrats on Monday sent to Rauner a school funding overhaul they passed in May but held on to over concerns the governor would veto the plan.

Rauner had called the money for Chicago a “bailout” and promised to strip it. He accused Democrats of holding students hostage and threatening the ability of schools to open in a few weeks.¬†Democratic Senate President John Cullerton had urged Rauner to “do the right thing” and sign the legislation.

The bill now returns to the Legislature, where three-fifths of lawmakers in both chambers must either approve or override Rauner’s changes. Both options will be difficult. If neither chamber can muster the votes, the legislation dies.

Many districts are concerned about how long schools can stay open without state money.