As students throughout Illinois begin another school year, Senate Republican lawmakers are stressing that even with the historic investment in education funding that Republican lawmakers pushed for, more work must be done to ensure schools—and other Illinois programs and services—receive the state resources they rely on.
Through the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission, some of that work is already underway. The third meeting of the Commission will take place Sept. 7, as lawmakers from both sides of the aisle continue to meet with stakeholders in the education community to develop a new school-funding formula that will ensure every student in Illinois, from Chicago to Carbondale, has access to a quality education. This bipartisan Commission will present its recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly by Feb. 1, 2017. This will allow lawmakers to take action in advance of the 2017-2018 school year.
However, Senate Republican lawmakers underscore that it is imperative this bipartisan collaboration extends beyond education. In order to truly recover from the state’s year-long budget impasse and restore Illinois' fiscal house, lawmakers and the Governor must work together to pass a balanced, full-year budget that incorporates the needed structural reforms that will help improve our state’s economy, while also drawing employers to Illinois and creating good-paying jobs.
The stopgap budget, and the willingness to come together, demonstrated to Illinois residents that change was possible. Now, Senate GOP legislators say the General Assembly and Gov. Bruce Rauner must show the public that compromise wasn’t fleeting, but indicative of a positive way forward.