DALLAS -- The Chicago Teachers Union may challenge a newly signed school aid funding bill because it includes a $75 million tax credit program for donations made to private schools.
The CTU said it is considering suing to block the school funding law because of the tax credit provision, a spokesperson confirmed. The union has labeled the program a voucher program that would harm public schools.
“Our lawyers are evaluating the constitutional issues, civil rights issues and non-severability clause included in the bill,” the spokesperson said.
If the union successfully challenges the tax credits, the entire school funding measure would be “invalid” under a provision lawmakers inserted into the legislation. The measure authorized additional funds for the fiscally challenged Chicago Public Schools.
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the bill into law Thursday afternoon in a ceremony, attended by Chicago Mayor Raum Emanuel, held at a Chicago elementary school. Comptroller Susana Mendoza will pay $540 million in state aid owed to schools for August, once the bill becomes law.
The bill allows the state to distribute education aid and will provide $450 million for CPS, about $150 million more than the district had expected in the $5.7 billion budget the school board approved Monday.
The bill landed support from the Republican governor and GOP lawmakers by including the $75 million tax credit program for donations made to private schools.
Rauner has called the compromise bill a victory. The governor’s previously used his amendatory veto powers to reshape the original school funding overhaul legislation in Senate Bill 1 lawmakers approved in May to dramatically cut CPS funding and reshape how tax-increment funding and future enrollment changes impact funding formulas.
The compromise bill he signed directs more money to the Chicago schools.
In a press conference on Wednesday following the Senate and House approval of the bill, Rauner called the deal “a compromise that was reasonable and was worked out on a bipartisan basis.”