Back in 1979, when Currie started her first term, Chicago's House delegation was packed with very conservative white men. But now, "I don't feel as if I'm leaving a void" by retiring, the liberal legislator from Chicago’s liberal Hyde Park neighborhood told me Thursday night. The city's delegation these days is filled with "fresh, bright, able, progressive people," Currie said.

Lost in much of the hoopla over the process of passing school-funding reform through the Illinois General Assembly is the fact that this is a pretty darned good and far-reaching bill.

It’s been clear for decades that the way Illinois funds its public schools has been wrong-headed. But finding a solution has eluded everyone who has tried. Until now.

Using non-farm jobs data from the Illinois Department of Employment Security, over 120,000 net jobs have been added in Illinois since February of 2015, the first full month of Rauner's term in office.

But most of those jobs were gained in 2015, when 83,400 jobs were added

Governor Bruce Rauner has said for the past several days that he’s open to just about any sort of compromise in order to get school funding reform signed into law.

Chicago has vast property wealth and the largest population by far in Illinois. But it also has a large amount of that property wealth locked up in Tax Increment Financing districts.

The education-funding-reform bill that passed the House and Senate in May and was finally sent to Governor Bruce Rauner on July 31 was the product of four years of research, endless listening tours, and lots of hard bargaining.

But when Rauner issued his amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1 last week, he introduced a bunch of new ideas that had never been on the table, including during endless discussions among members of his own education-funding-reform commission.

The battle plan to kill the Democrats’ education-funding-reform bill (Senate Bill 1) that was plotted before Governor Bruce Rauner’s infamous staff purge in early July – and which still appears to be mostly operative – actually anticipated low special-session turnout, because there likely wouldn’t be much of anything to vote on. Rauner’s folks figured that the Democrats would wait a while before lifting the parliamentary brick off the education-funding-reform bill – the better to foment a crisis atmosphere as the clock ticks down to schools reopening after summer break.

So legislators not showing up for session will likely only amplify the governor’s contention that the majority party isn’t interested in preventing a crisis and funding schools.

In the end, Mike Zolnierowicz had only one choice. Governor Bruce Rauner’s top political lieutenant and former chief of staff, the man everyone calls “Z” who was most responsible for winning the 2014 Republican primary, simply had to resign late in the afternoon on Friday, July 14.

The week began with the early-Monday firing of Richard Goldberg, Z’s close friend and hand-picked successor as Rauner’s chief of staff. Rumors had circulated for months that First Lady Diana Rauner had turned on Goldberg and wanted him out, and in the previous few weeks it was known among a select few that the governor had been calling around looking for a possible replacement, including calling a couple of people in Indiana who declined the offer.

But Z and others were caught totally off-guard when Goldberg was abruptly fired and not offered a position in the vast campaign apparatus that Z had constructed. Rauner had not only made a major decision without consulting Z, his supposedly number-one guy; he had also needlessly kicked Goldberg to the curb.

After Governor Bruce Rauner hired Illinois Policy Institute President Kristina Rasmussen as his new chief of staff, I reached out to one of the House Republicans who voted to override the governor’s budget and tax-hike vetoes. How was he feeling?

“You mean after the irate phone calls and e-mails and the letter that arrived at my house today telling me and my wife (by name) to move out?” he texted back. “I’m doing fine – seriously I am. I can just guess what the new chief of staff might have in store for me.”

Rasmussen’s anti-tax group essentially weaponized its Facebook page against lawmakers during the run-up to and aftermath of the overrides of Rauner’s vetoes.

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