Senate Bill 231: McCann criticized for his vote

By Gary Scott on May 11, 2016 at 1:49pm

State Senator Sam McCann is getting criticism from a local special education advocate regarding his vote on Senate Bill 231.

According to Bev Johns, president of the Learning Disabilities Association of Illinois, McCann ignored the advice of his constituents by voting for SB231. The legislation passed on the third reading, 31-21, mostly along party lines. McCann was the only Republican to vote “yes”.

“Senate Bill 231 barely passed the Ilinois State Senate with only one extra vote, and unfrotunately, Senator McCann was that one extra vote. So, his vote was a vote to cut special education funding by almost one third, and that’s very very unfortunate because we have children with disabilities who desperately need services and we need funding for all of the school districts to provide services two the children

McCann acknowledges that the bill impacts special education, but claims the impact isn’t a negative one.

“I think it’s definitely a better system than the one we have now. The system we have now is grossly flawed. We have some school districts spending upwards of $30,000 per student, and some school districts spending $6,000 per student. That’s a broken system, dysfunction and broken by anyone’s estimation and analysis,” says McCann.

“So, Senate Bill 231, while it’s not perfect, it actually brings approximately $6 million in additional new revenue into school districts in and around the 50th State Senate District.”

Johns has been critical of Senator Manar’s previous education funding proposals. She says this version would still eliminate the $9,000 for each special education teacher, and would replace current funding with a special ed block grant, which she says could be used for any purpose.

The bill now moves on to the House.