Gov. Rauner visits Breese, Illinois to tout recent education bill

BREESE, Ill. – Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is traveling the state to promote the new education bill that he and the legislature finally agreed on.

Part of the law the governor had been pushing for will affect private schools with a special scholarship fund for students.

The governor called the new law an important change in funding education.

“It’s a big deal. We’re going to have equal opportunity at the American dream now,” he said.

When Rauner walked into the gym at Mater Dei Catholic High School in Breese, Illinois on Wednesday, the student body and teachers gave the governor a standing ovation.

Governor Rauner said it took a long time and tough negotiating; not everyone got what they wanted in the bill. He said he fought hard for the $75 million scholarship fund that people can donate to and receive a tax credit.

The fund could allow 6,000 low-income kids to choose a private or parochial school to attend as opposed to going to their neighborhood public school. The governor said he’s also pleased about the help low-income schools will receive.

“We have a new way to allocate the money so that small districts, rural districts, lower income districts, get more money so in the end the get the same amount as the high-income districts.”

Some public school educators fear the scholarship fund will cause them to lose students and, eventually, school funding.

Governor Rauner said he plans to sign the bill Thursday.