Watch CBS News

Day One Of Special Session For School Funding Ended In No Decision

CHICAGO (CBS) – With state lawmakers now in special session, the battle over statewide school funding continued in Springfield.

And the only thing decided Wednesday was that nothing will be decided until Monday at the earliest.

CBS 2's Political Reporter Derrick Blakely is in Springfield with Wednesday's developments.

Democrats have refused to send a school funding measure to the Governor's desk hoping to negotiate to avoid a partial veto.

But the Governor said he wants to veto first, and talk changes later.

So Senate President John Cullerton now said he will send the Governor the school bill on Monday.

Two Democratic State Representatives blew off going to Springfield entirely, instead, taking part in a Gale School clean-up project, correctly forecasting no action on Wednesday.

"We need to do something productive with our time," said Rep. Ann Williams. "Instead of being in special session accomplishing absolutely nothing."

And they had plenty of company.

Only 91 of 118 House members showed up at all, with the House adjourned by noontime even though a special session costs $40,000 a day.

Instead, Senate President John Cullerton accused Governor Rauner of refusing to meet to discuss changes in the school funding bill.

"I'm afraid that he's acting out of anger," Cullerton said. "You know, he had a bad month. I mean we've overridden him I think four times in a row. Half his staff was either fired or quit and I just wanted to have a meeting with him."

But, joined by a host of GOP lawmakers in a show of solidarity, the Governor insists there is nothing to discuss until the bill is on his desk.

"They want to create a crisis, cause pain and bend the people of the state to their will," Rauner said.

Governor Rauner objects to money in the bull used to pay for Chicago teachers' pensions. He has vowed to veto that portion with House Speaker Madigan promising an override.

"The Governor should not veto education funding reform because it's fair to every student, every district in the state," Madigan said.

So what's next?

If Governor gets the bill on Monday, he will veto part of it. And then, lawmakers will attempt to override that veto. If the override fails, they would have to start from scratch on a school funding measure. And Monday is just 10 days way from when the first state school funding checks are supposed to go out.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.