Bruce Rauner

Rauner Signs Bill to Keep Schools Open and Funded This Fall

The bill increases spending for K-12 education by $244 million and for early childhood education by $25 million

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill Wednesday allowing funds to flow to the state's schools, ensuring they remain open and teachers are paid this fall. 

"Education is the most important thing we do as a community," Rauner said in a statement. "I would have done more for our schoolchildren, but I am taking action today to ensure our teachers are paid and our schools are open and funded." 

The measure increases K-12 education spending by $244 million and early child education funding by $25 million. While significant, this spending isn't as high as Rauner initially proposed in his budget, which would increase K-12 spending by $312 million and early childhood education spending by $32 million. 

The governor also took a stab at House Speaker Michael Madigan, who is entangled in a budget battle with the governor that includes a fight over whether — and how — to help Chicago Public Schools make a $634 million payment to the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund on June 30. 

"I refuse to allow Speaker Madigan and the legislators he controls to hold our schools hostage as part of their plan to protect the political class and force a tax hike on the middle class without real reform," Rauner added in his statement. 

The bill was signed by the governor Wednesday and goes into effect July 1, meaning the state's annual state aid to public schools will be given out on Aug. 10, as scheduled. 

The rest of the budget plan remains undecided as the first day of the new budget year draws closer. 

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