Schools across Illinois are still waiting for state money while legislative leaders try to agree on a new funding formula. Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed large portions of a Democrat-sponsored plan, saying it was too generous to Chicago Public Schools. The list of educators lobbying for lawmakers to override that veto includes some surprising names.
School administrators have had to choose sides in this political fight — whether they support the governor, or the bill Democrats originally passed. That leaves Rauner College Prep in a strange position. It’s one of 17 high schools in the Noble Network — the largest group of charter schools in Chicago — and the first named after a donor. Rauner and his wife Diana have given more than $3 million to Noble.
"Yeah, we've appreciated their support over the years. They've been supporters of Noble,” says Cody Rogers, communications director for the network. Michael Milkie, Noble’s CEO, has publicly supported the Democratic plan. And that makes economic sense. Most charter schools in Chicago are authorized and funded by CPS.
The debate over school funding has focused on Chicago Public Schools, which Rauner alleges would get a "bailout" under Senate Bill 1, sponsored by Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill). The governor vetoed much of that proposal, cutting a CPS block grant worth more than $200 million and making scores of other changes.
Legislative leaders are now trying to work out a compromise.