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Volume 24, Number 64, November 29, 2018

Game over: HB 5175 override flops in Senate

By Jim Broadway, Publisher, Illinois School News Service

The authority of a small body of folks you don't know to impose a charter school for your school district to pay for whether your elected school board likes it or not will continue at least for a while - perhaps forever; HB 5175 died in the Senate Wednesday night. Cause of death? Could have been money poisoning.

As you read in Monday's newsletter, the House overrode Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto of the bill last week. The chamber coughed up 71 votes, the bare minimum for an override, but significantly more than the 67 members of the Democrats' majority caucus. Actually, an amazing 15 Republicans joined in the fun.

Then one of the "anti-Rauner" turncoat Republican turncoats - Lindsay Parkhurst of Kankakee - filed a motion to reconsider the vote by which the veto override motion passed. That froze the bill and, even though it could have been unfrozen Friday or Tuesday, it did not thaw out until Wednesday. So the window was open just a bit.

It wasn't until late in the day Wednesday that the Senate override motion, almost the last item of the day, was taken up. The "debate" was brief. The Senate sponsor was Sen. Bill Cunningham. His presentation was very lame. Maybe that was because he's from Chicago, which doesn't have an elected school board.

The main opponent of the override was Sen. Chuck Weaver, R-Peoria. He was allowed to imply that, unless the Illinois State Charter School Commission retains the power to overrule a local school board, charter advocates will have no opportunity to appeal a board's decision in this regard. That, of course, is false.

Rulings by a school board that a citizen feels were improperly reached can be appealed in the same venue as the rulings of any other governmental body - in the courts. But courts might take into consideration the effects of a charter on district students who don't attend it. The SCSC is not so hampered. In fact, Illinois charter law specifies that the best interests of the attending children - not the other students - is what counts.

Weaver also suggested that school districts with limited resources often "don't get it right," and asserted that on the occasions when the SCSC has overruled local school boards it was because the "should have been" overruled. None of his assertions, all unsubstantiated, were challenged by Cunningham.

Many senators did not vote on the motion. It was late in the day, so many of them were probably gone. Why not wait until this morning for the roll call? Because the Senate canceled today's session. In other words, folks, the whole event looked like a well rehearsed play. Could it have been so designed? Certainly.

But that's where the money comes in. Campaign contributions play a big role in policymaking. It's illegal, of course, to promise money in return for a particular policy outcome. But policymakers, especially the leaders, are good at reading people. They know what's implied when you say, "We would really be grateful."

The Illinois Network of Charter Schools is not a political action committee, in spite of being listed as one of Parkhurst's "Top Contributors." But INCS President Andrew Broy is also a treasurer of the INCS Action PAC, which is a political action committee, one that the Sunshine Project reports controlled $1.74 million.

You may have noticed that Sunshine listed two treasurers for that PAC. The other is Adam Rogalski, a former employee of INCS. Who does Adam work for now? He's listed on Linked in as an Advocacy Program Officer for the Walton Education Coalition. The Waltons. You've heard of them. (This is interesting news.)

The Senate roll call follows. Monday's issue referred to a "game" that might be played on HB 5175. There's one in which a majority of the legislature - a three-fifths majority, in fact - gets to vote for something popular, like "local control of schools, for example, but the popular objective still slips out of reach.

Could that be what happened to HB 5175? It takes a lot of money to pay the script-writers for a drama like we saw this week. But $1.7 million, with the potential for access to some Walton cash - yeah, that should be about enough.

Senate roll call on HB 5175 veto override motion lost 31-14
Senate members

District No.

Party

Vote

City

Iris Y. Martinez

20

D

N

Chicago

Patricia Van Pelt

5

D

N

Chicago

Scott M. Bennett

52

D

NV

Champaign

Melinda Bush

31

D

NV

Grayslake

Napoleon Harris, III

15

D

NV

Harvey

Toi W. Hutchinson

40

D

NV

Chicago Heights

Emil Jones, III

14

D

NV

Chicago

David Koehler

46

D

NV

Peoria

Steven M. Landek

12

D

NV

Burbank

Kimberly A. Lightford

4

D

NV

Chicago

Martin A. Sandoval

11

D

NV

Chicago

Ira I. Silverstein

8

D

NV

Chicago

Elgie R. Sims, Jr.

17

D

NV

Chicago

Steve Stadelman

34

D

NV

Rockford

Omar Aquino

2

D

Y

Chicago

Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant

49

D

Y

Plainfield

Daniel Biss

9

D

Y

Evanston

Cristina Castro

22

D

Y

Elgin

James F. Clayborne, Jr.

57

D

Y

East St. Louis

Jacqueline Y. Collins

16

D

Y

Chicago

John J. Cullerton

6

D

Y

Chicago

Thomas Cullerton

23

D

Y

Villa Park

Bill Cunningham

18

D

Y

Chicago

William R. Haine

56

D

Y

Alton

Don Harmon

39

D

Y

Oak Park

Michael E. Hastings

19

D

Y

Frankfort

Linda Holmes

42

D

Y

Aurora

Mattie Hunter

3

D

Y

Chicago

Terry Link

30

D

Y

Gurnee

Andy Manar

48

D

Y

Bunker Hill

Pat McGuire

43

D

Y

Crest Hill

Julie A. Morrison

29

D

Y

Deerfield

John G. Mulroe

10

D

Y

Chicago

Antonio Muņoz

1

D

Y

Chicago

Laura M. Murphy

28

D

Y

Des Plaines

Kwame Raoul

13

D

Y

Chicago

Heather A. Steans

7

D

Y

Chicago

Jason A. Barickman

53

R

N

Bloomington

Tim Bivins

45

R

N

Dixon

William E. Brady

44

R

N

Bloomington

Kyle McCarter

54

R

N

Vandalia

Dan McConchie

26

R

N

Lake Zurich

Jim Oberweis

25

R

N

North Aurora

Dale A. Righter

55

R

N

Mattoon

Tom Rooney

27

R

N

Palatine

Dave Syverson

35

R

N

Rockford

Jil Tracy

47

R

N

Quincy

Chuck Weaver

37

R

N

Peoria

Craig Wilcox

32

R

N

McHenry

Michael Connelly

21

R

NV

Lisle

Yadav Nathwani

24

R

NV

Glen Ellyn

Neil Anderson

36

R

Y

Moline

John F. Curran

41

R

Y

Woodridge

Donald P. DeWitte

33

R

Y

West Dundee

Dale Fowler

59

R

Y

Harrisburg

Wm. Sam McCann

50

R

Y

Jacksonville

Sue Rezin

38

R

Y

Peru

Chapin Rose

51

R

Y

Champaign

Paul Schimpf

58

R

Y

Murphysboro

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