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Gov. Rauner Signs Education Funding Bill

Illinois schools will be able to open on time this fall ... despite an ongoing budget stalemate in Springfield.

Schools not having the money to operate had been a worry, given Gov. Bruce Rauner's condemnation of the spending plan passed by Democratic legislators.

It isn't anymore. Democrats' budget is broken into some 20 different pieces.  And Rauner has signed one of them -- the bill that funds education.

From the onset, Rauner has tried to position himself a champion of education. Here he is, giving his budget address in February:

"For years, state support for education has been cut, even when it didn't have to be. It's time to make education our top priority again."

The measure he's signed into law gives millions of dollars more to preschool through high-schools.

In a press release Rauner, a Republican, says he still wants to send even more money to schools. At the same time, he is already taking steps to cut other state services -- including a program that helps working, low-income families pay for daycare.

Representative Al Riley - a Democrat from Olympia Fields -- calls that "disingenuous."

"It's sort of a closed loop. There's only so much money to go around. So, to make cuts ... which deal with issues that those very children still need to deal with - a lot of the social service cuts that were made, and then saying you want to send more money to education, it just doesn't add up."

The budget for everything else -- including money for state universities (which Rauner has recommended be cut 30-percent) -- remains in limbo.

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