After first voting it down, Illinois House approves school finance deal

Gov. Bruce Rauner gives a thumbs up after giving his first speech as governor on Monday Jan. 12 2015 at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield Ill

The bipartisan piece of legislation passed in both the senate and house with zero opposition votes. It also provides $75 million for tax credits for people who donate to private school scholarships.

Southern Illinois lawmakers don't call the bill they passed Monday night "perfect" but said it will get the job done.

The new law makes IL the 10th state to pass laws that automatically register residents to vote when they apply for or renew their driver's licenses and state IDs. This vote required 71 votes to override, but it came up short, only garnering 63 votes in support of the override. The state has already missed two payments because the school funding bill has been caught up in the House. While districts are opening on time, many say they won't be able to last long without state funding. Gemmingen teaches at West Junior High School in Belleville District 118, which estimates that it would have to close by October without state funding.

The Senate is now scheduled to vote Tuesday on the measure.

Legislators have been unable to agree on a way to fund schools.

Republican and Democratic leaders had been negotiating the proposal in closed-door meetings for days, with few details released before Monday.

The trip wire for many Democrats was a $75 million tax credit for families who donate to private schools.

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Many Democrats and some Republicans opposed the tax credit, which teacher unions lined up against. It provides money to help Chicago Public Schools pay its pension costs, as the state does for other districts, and allows Chicago to raise property taxes by $120 million to help reduce its massive unfunded pension liabilities.

Lawmakers in the Illinois House are debating a plan to overhaul the way the state funds schools.

Without a new funding plan, more than 800 school districts won't get state money.

"It will help us keep violent criminals behind bars", she added. Others say the legislation spends money IL doesn't have. Democrats said it closed huge disparities in per-student funding between wealthy and poor districts. State Rep. Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth, supported the legislation.

Rauner - a longtime supporter of private school voucher and other "school choice" programs - has given mixed signals about the latest deal. The plan also includes a tax credit for some small businesses. Spokesmen for House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton declined comment Sunday.

"Taxpayer dollars should be invested in our public school classrooms, plain and simple". IL schools will be without state funds until a bill is passed.

"There's a lot of issues in here that are tough", said House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs.

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