School Funding Compromise Draws Critics

Aug 25, 2017

Credit NPR Illinois

Senate Bill 1 was supposed to help Illinois cure its chronic case of inequitable school funding. The Democrat-sponsored measure has become a partisan controversy that's now preventing state money from being sent to schools.

Legislative leaders yesterday announced they'd achieved compromise, but reports that the deal includes a $75 million tax-credit program for private school tuition scholarships is drawing criticism.

Kevin Rubenstein, who represents special education administrators, says private schools don't play by the same rules, and it's not fair to use public funds to help schools that can kick out a student with disabilities.

"Private schools across the country are looking to make money. And so they recruit kids and they tell them that they're able to serve them, and then they're not able to serve them, so they're returned to the public school," Rubenstein says. “They could say: ‘We think you need this many services, that's too much for us,’ and the parents and family of that child would have no recourse.”

Teacher unions also oppose the idea.

Negotiations resume Sunday and the House is scheduled to vote on school funding on Monday.