Less than 24 hours after Gov. Bruce Rauner partially vetoed a bill to overhaul the state’s school funding formula, a group of Chicago students from the city’s Southwest Side gathered outside his Winnetka home to protest his decision.
Rauner stripped away portions of the bill that benefited Chicago, calling it a “bailout” for the Chicago Public Schools. Rauner said Democrats inserted extra money for CPS’ underfunded teacher pension system.
“I deserve the same opportunities as a kid that goes to New Trier,” said MacKenzie Reagor, one of the protesters and a junior at Hancock High School in Chicago. “They live over here. I live in Chicago. What’s the difference?”
The state cannot distribute money to any school district in Illinois until this latest showdown between the governor and Democratic lawmakers is resolved. The first payments to school districts are due Aug. 10.
Chicago protesters arrived in Gov. Bruce Rauner’s Winnetka neighborhood Tuesday morning. The students came as part of a summer jobs program at the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council and were accompanied by parents and organizers from the advocacy group Raise Your Hand.
Several students and adults spoke out against Rauner’s veto of the school funding bill and then knocked on doors around the neighborhood to spread their message.
The students were met with mixed reactions. Some neighbors disagreed with the governor’s partial veto, while others avoided the protesters.
School districts across Illinois are anxiously waiting for funding from the state while Illinois lawmakers attempt to negotiate a deal that both Democrats and Republicans can accept. State dollars cannot be distributed until a new funding formula becomes law.