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Governor Bruce Rauner Prepares for New Fight Over School Funding

Governor Bruce Rauner has been clearing house in Springfield this week, but one question remains unanswered: how will schools throughout the state, including those in Chicago, be funded?

House Minority Leader Jim Durkin and Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady were summoned to meet the governor’s new inner circle. Rauner hit the reset button this week, saying goodbye to several long-time aides, and now he’s turned his attention to the new battles ahead.

Those battles include the debate over Senate Bill 1, the state’s education funding formula. That bill was not passed during the session that yielded a new state budget, passed over Rauner’s veto, and now it’s unclear how the governor will proceed with the bill before the state legislature.

Sources tell NBC 5 that the governor may opt not to veto all of it, but may instead choose to use an amendatory veto on provisions involving a pension fix for the city of Chicago.

While House Speaker Mike Madigan was able to corral the votes, including numerous Republican defectors, to override Rauner’s veto of the budget bill, doing so on SB-1 may be a much harder sell.

“When you have a track record as bad as the governor’s, you need to create something to alarm people,” Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy said. “He’s taking a page out of Donald Trump’s book, a page of divide and conquer and hatred. He wants to separate our state and say that downstate is against Chicago.”

The governor has previously said that the bill is 90 percent okay, but he has still promised to block funding formula changes, a viewpoint that doesn’t sit well with Chicago politicians.

“You cannot get something that you say you agree to 90 percent of the time, and veto it,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. 

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