Negotiations between legislators for passage of SB1 have narrowed to one or two issues, say multiple Democratic sources familiar with the negotiations. At the top of the list for Republicans, are including some kind of school voucher program and education spending mandate relief for school districts.
Republican legislators have called for $215 million of Chicago Public Schools pension payments to be moved out of the funding formula to the pension code, but have not demanded reduction in overall Chicago pension funding, say Democrats. And there has been no discussion of reducing the CPS block grant payment either.
“They’ll leave the block grant in there,” said Rep. Will Davis (D-Chicago), lead House sponsor of SB1. They’re just looking for what they can get. That’s what it boils down to. If it was really a problem for them, they wouldn’t be willing to pay for it at all. They’re OK with trying to do it, just in a different place.”
Whether or not Gov. Bruce Rauner on board with GOP negotiations is unclear to Democratic legislators, since negotiations have been limited to legislators.
A leader meeting on SB1 is scheduled for Friday, and is likely to be conducted on a conference call, rather than face-to-face.