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Guest view: Special interests shouldn’t scuttle education funding reform | Columnists

Public education is society’s most important responsibility. Education affords every child the opportunity for the American Dream, regardless of background or family circumstances. With a great education, you can be whomever you want to be, get a good job and provide for your family.

This is why, as governor, I am fighting to overhaul the way our state funds public schools.

At the beginning of my term, I established a bipartisan School Funding Reform Commission. Democrats and Republicans alike have complained about our state’s school funding formula for decades, and my administration took on this challenge.

Although it often seems like nothing gets accomplished in the political chaos, this bipartisan commission rose above the discord in Springfield. After many months of hard work, we came together to produce genuine bipartisan reform.

Unfortunately, our work is not yet finished. I was disappointed when the majority party took the commission’s work and inserted political goodies for special interests.

Then they sat on their bill – for two months. Democrats in the Illinois Senate used a procedural quirk to keep their version of the education funding bill from reaching my desk. They sought to breed fear, uncertainty and create a crisis.

When the bill finally came to my desk, I issued an amendatory veto within hours, and began earnest discussions on a compromise.

My amended bill allows for the fairest and most equitable path to funding our public schools. It levels the playing field so that all the property value of every community is accounted for. I’ve charged the General Assembly with ensuring that the new school funding formula serves all the children in our state, with equal respect for disadvantaged children in all regions of Illinois.

With my changes to the bill, I’ve placed my administration’s cards on the table. You know…

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