Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner said on Monday he intends to block money earmarked for Chicago Public Schools' (CPS) teacher pensions under recent legislation because he feels it is too much of a "bailout" for a badly managed system.
Central Illinois' school districts could see a lot more money headed their way. "[SB1] is nothing. It's scraps from the table".
"Gov. Rauner promised to overhaul the worst school funding formula in the country to the benefit of all IL schoolchildren", Manar said. And, he wants those millions of dollars to go to districts that need them the most. IL schools rely on local property taxes to cover more than 60 percent of their costs, it said.
Rauner and the Democrats agree on the legislative goal of providing more state aid to the neediest districts and less to the more affluent districts.
Rauner objects to specific state-funding allowances for Chicago schools on top of a new requirement that the state pick up the employer's portion of teacher pensions costs for them - the way it does for every other IL district. "They are being led by the architect of their own demise. If it's possible to get worse, it looks like it could get worse to me".
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Rauner said he planned to issue an amendatory veto that would remove the $300 million the legislation would send to CPS to cover current and past due pension payments, which amounts to a "bailout of Chicago's broken teacher pension system" the governor's office said would take "away critical resources from school districts across the state".
Chicago's students deserve adequately funded front-line classroom services and a school system that respects and engages engages families and neighborhood residents, built on best practices and a commitment to adequately fund a high-quality education for our youth.
When Rauner embarked on his budget showdown with Madigan and Cullerton in spring 2015, the governor indicated "crisis creates opportunity", and he said he'd use "leverage" gained to win approval of his economic agenda.
Under the Democratic bill, CPS would get $215 million in new pension money without having to trade any of the special grant dollars. Mayor Rahm Emanuel said it's unfortunate that Rauner is pursuing a political path rather than a productive one.
The bill has been held in the Senate on a procedural vote for weeks, keeping it from reaching Rauner's desk.
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