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School Funding Hangs Over Governor's Day at State Fair

Governor's Day at the Illinois State Fair was not as celebratory as Gov. Bruce Rauner might have hoped. While he was holding a rally Wednesday, members of the Illinois House were at the state Capitol for an education hearing, with funding for schools across Illinois still up in the air.

As the first Republican in 12 years to hold the governor's office, Rauner has run into constant pushback from longtime House Speaker Mike Madigan.

Madigan held an education hearing Wednesday in an attempt to show that there's no support for Rauner's amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1, the legislation to move Illinois to an "evidence-based model" of education funding on which all state aid to K-12 schools hinges.

Madigan even called a bill with the exact language of Rauner's plan for a vote as a symbolic way to show that no lawmakers would back it - and the bill received zero votes.

As critics railed against Rauner's changes - which include stripping Chicago Public Schools of more than $463 million dollars - the governor was focused on the upcoming election, telling his GOP party chairman that he hopes to win nine seats in the statehouse in 2018.

"When we hold them accountable and the truth is known, they are going to get thrown out of office by their own constituents and Mike Madigan is no longer going to be speaker," Rauner said at a breakfast before making is way to the state fair.

Rauner rode his Harley-Davidson to the fairgrounds, where he and his wife are currently living as the executive mansion undergoes renovations.

He proceeded to engage in the political handshakes typical of Governor's Day at the fair, as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle continued to point fingers over the latest Springfield impasse.

"Schools should communicate with the governor," Madigan said at a news conference. "And if I were speaking on behalf of schools I would say: 'Governor, you made a mistake when you vetoed education funding reform, and I think you oughta get together with the legislature and come to an agreement.'"

"There's a way to solve this," House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said. "It's by coming to the table, negotiating a fair compromise that is going to make sure that funding for schoolchildren throughout the state of Illinois is going to be fair, it's going to be better, and let's put this to rest."

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