State Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion, says school funding legislation proposed by Gov. Bruce Rauner cuts some Southern Illinois schools short on funding. (RK PR SOLUTIONS PHOTO BY RYAN KEITH)

Staff Report

MARION — Citing the desperate need for adequate funding for downstate schools, state Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion, is urging passage of a school funding bill that boosts investment in all schools — something the Southern Illinois lawmaker says doesn’t happen under Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed plan.

"For too long, downstate schools have taken less than what they require when it comes to public school funding," Bradley said. "The governor’s plan puts far less money into our schools than the plan I supported, and instead provides more to wealthy suburban Chicago school districts. The governor’s proposal would send our tax dollars to help schools with Olympic sized swimming pools while at the same time providing no increase for many schools in Southern Illinois."

The spending plan backed by Bradley would invest an additional $4.9 million dollars into schools in the 117th district, which are already struggling to make ends meet. The number of dollars going to local schools is drastically reduced by $2.7 million dollars under Rauner’s proposal. Bradley points out that Rauner’s plan would provide no additional dollars for four schools in the 117th District: Akin CCSD 91, Ewing Northern CCSD 115, Thompsonville CUSD 174 and Sesser-Valier CUSD 196.

"The governor may not understand downstate Illinois, but if he was take a look at the condition of many of our schools, he would understand that every dollar counts," Bradley said. "While we are negotiating a stopgap budget, making our schools stronger must be a key part of the discussion. My focus remains on making sure that our schools and critical providers have the funding they deserve."

The state legislature is scheduled to be back in Springfield today. The deadline to reach some sort of budget agreement is the end of the day tomorrow to prevent the state from entering its second fiscal year without a state budget.

Dateline Marion

Read more: Bradley says Rauner’s school budget doesn’t do enough to help Southern Illinois classrooms