Rooney decries Democrats for wait and hurry up tactics on school funding
Sen. Tom Rooney (R-Rolling Meadows) said on Sunday that he found it ironic that Senate Democrats are expressing concerns about state schools not opening on time after doing nothing with the state's K-12 funding bill since May.
“We’re going to complain about three days that passed ... when two months were taken after the passage of the bill,” Rooney said. “Two months where it sat there doing nothing, and now we want to cry that time is an issue. I don’t understand that at all.”
Prior to Sunday’s vote to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's amendatory veto, Senate Bill 1 languished in the Senate chamber for two months despite passing both chambers in May, ostensibly because of Democratic concerns that Rauner would issue such a veto.
Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) finally sent SB1 to Rauner on July 31, the last day of a special session Rauner had called to move the bill along. Rauner used his veto power on Aug. 1 to strip SB1 of additional funding he felt unfairly favored Chicago Public Schools (CPS).
Rooney, who teaches economics and history at West Leyden High School in District 212, blamed Democrats for grandstanding while SB1 stagnated.
“In two different instances of those saccharine melodramatic moments that our side is subjected to every once in a while, we were given a civics lecture about how a bill needs to pass, but then all of a sudden we forgot that once it passes both houses it needs to be sent to the governor in a timely and expeditious manner and not two months,” Rooney said.
Many Democrats decried the veto, arguing that it took away vital funding from Chicago. Rooney and many of his Republican colleagues contended that without the veto, SB1 is not an equitable bill and ignores the needs of all other state schools besides CPS.
“What we’re saying is that everybody in this state needs to be treated equally,” Rooney said. “Nobody is special. That’s a message anybody should be able to understand.”
The Senate went on to vote to override Rauner, 38 to 19. SB1 now heads to the House, which is expected to convene on Wednesday. The chamber will need at least 71 votes to override Rauner’s veto. The original version of the bill passed the House in May on a vote of 60-52.