The Illinois General Assembly has signed off on a major school funding overhaul that unlocks cash for over 800 school districts throughout the state and is expected to reduce disparities between wealthy and poor school districts.
The bill restructures how Illinois distributes money to schools throughout the state, and provides more money to all school districts. It also provides $75 million for a tax credit for people who donated to private school scholarships. That drew criticism from teacher unions, some school officials and lawmakers.
The measure passed the House late Monday night, despite "no" votes from two Quad Cities representatives.
Democrat Mike Halpin from Rock Island says he couldn't agree to the part of the bill that provides $75 million in tax credits for people who donate to private school scholarships.
"The underlying provisions for education funding reform--those are going to have significant positive affects on the Quad Cities. I just don't know if the scholarship program is going to help people in this district, and I found it unacceptable to couple that bill with a $75 million tax break for millionaires that is effectively going to undermine public education."
Representative Tony McCombie from Savanna also voted against school funding bill, saying it didn't do enough for schools in her district, and that the tax credit program will put a $75 million hole in the state budget.
The Illinois Senate approved the measure 38-13 on Tuesday, with Senator Neil Anderson from Andalusia voting "no."
The bill now heads to Governor Bruce Rauner who has vowed to sign it.