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Question of the day

Monday, Jun 27, 2016

* SJ-R

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday reiterated he will not support what he calls a bailout of Chicago schools as part of his effort to get lawmakers to pass a stopgap budget and funding for K-12 education.

At a Statehouse news conference, Rauner said Democratic leaders have indicated they’re willing to hold up education funding to secure additional money for the Chicago school system.

“The people of Illinois should not be held up to bail out Chicago schools,” Rauner said.

* Sun-Times

The state’s board of education, headed and governed by Rauner appointees, launched a financial investigation last winter into CPS’ finances. Through that probe, it determined that CPS didn’t meet criteria for the certification of financial distress necessary for the state board to take financial control.

CPS faces a $1.1 billion deficit in the new fiscal year starting July 1, and has been hoarding cash to make a massive pension payment on June 30. It passed last year’s budget with a $480 million gap and has been begging Springfield to help ever since, borrowing hundreds of millions at sky-high interest rates in the meantime. The district has also argued it is exempt from state oversight and has been lobbying for a change to the state funding formula for schools.

* But it’s not just about Chicago money. Riverbender

“Governor Rauner’s proposed education funding plan does not invest enough money into our local schools,” continued [Rep. Dan Beiser, D-Alton]. “Education funding needs to be made a priority by the governor and my fellow members of the General Assembly, because if an agreement is not made, many schools may not be opening in the fall. It is important that everyone works together to move our all of our schools forward—not just some of our schools.”

Under Rauner’s plan, which was unveiled only hours before the May 31 deadline, two schools in Beiser’s district would see no increase in state funding, East Alton-Wood River CHSD 14 and Wood River-Hartford Elementary School District 15. In total, the governor’s plan would send $2.6 million dollars less to local schools than the plan that Beiser supports.

“The education funding plan that I voted for would send $34.4 million to schools in the 111th district, which would represent an increase for each school district,” Beiser said. “The governor’s plan fails to help every school. In fact, Governor Rauner’s plan shifts funding towards wealthy suburban school districts, while schools like East Alton-Wood River would not see any additional investment. That’s not something I can support.”

* AP

Steven Brown is spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan… says House Democrats approved hundreds of millions more for elementary and secondary education than Rauner seeks. So the schools issue remains unsettled.

…Adding… And this…

* The Question: Knowing that additional money would not be paid for because of a lack of revenues, how much, if any, extra money should Gov. Rauner agree to for all K-12 schools in order to reach a deal on the stopgap budget? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.

panel management

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Huh? - Monday, Jun 27, 16 @ 12:45 pm:

    A million here/there pretty soon talking about real money.

    Funding in excess of $400 million would provide pressure for a tax increase.

    Funding less than $400 million is spitting into a hurricane, serves no purpose and does little to relieve the funding problem.

  2. - 47th Ward - Monday, Jun 27, 16 @ 12:46 pm:

    I voted for $0. Until he signs a major tax increase or makes draconian cuts elsewhere, there is no money to give K-12 an increase. By his own admission, giving K-12 an increase is unfunded and results in an unbalanced budget.

    What am I missing? Spell out the off-setting cuts or agree to new revenues. Those are the options. Spending “more” on schools is a lie without having the revenue available to actually pay for the new spending.

    Rauner has been getting away with this dereliction of duty for two years now. Enough is enough. Do your job Governor: lead, follow, or get out of the way.

  3. - Juice - Monday, Jun 27, 16 @ 12:46 pm:

    Are you asking how much more over FY ‘16, or how much more over the $200 million the Governor wants as long as it means CPS doesn’t get a dime more?

  4. - Dead Head - Monday, Jun 27, 16 @ 12:56 pm:

    Education should be the top priority of the State, not prisons or Executive Office salaries.

  5. - Casual observer - Monday, Jun 27, 16 @ 12:57 pm:

    I’m not qualified to answer this question. Also, I prefer a full FY budget not a stopgap.

  6. - HistoryProf - Monday, Jun 27, 16 @ 1:04 pm:

    I picked the high figure but tip my hat to Causual observer. I can’t pretend to have masted these figures either.

    I voted the higher figure because Barbara Flynn Currie’s point is well taken. A property tax-based system insures that rich kids stay get the opportunities and poor kids don’t. I think I would favor trading the elimination of property taxes for full education funding backed by a steeply progressive income tax.

  7. - phocion - Monday, Jun 27, 16 @ 1:10 pm:

    0. Here’s a concept for legislators. Find a way to pay for more money for education, THEN fund at the higher amount.

  8. - Anonymous - Monday, Jun 27, 16 @ 1:17 pm:

    Not exactly a bell curve on the questionnaire answers.

  9. - Norseman - Monday, Jun 27, 16 @ 1:19 pm:

    $300 - close to splitting the difference.

  10. - Jocko - Monday, Jun 27, 16 @ 1:20 pm:

    I picked $400 mil. That’s a little more than half promised to social services. Out of curiosity, how will Bruce justify having taken Chicago’s money without providing services in return?

  11. - Square Pegs - Monday, Jun 27, 16 @ 1:26 pm:

    Fund it all. It is noble to want to overhaul the delivery of inefficient systems. But not when backs are up against the wall. There needs to be a thoughtful bipartisan commission to redo the funding formula.

    In the meantime, fund all of the schools. Not some. All.

  12. - cdog - Monday, Jun 27, 16 @ 1:32 pm:


    “because of a lack of revenues”

    maybe it is time to do something about that.

  13. - Wensicia - Monday, Jun 27, 16 @ 1:35 pm:

    I picked the higher number. In my district, about 66% of my property taxes fund our schools, yet because we are a poor community we still have one of the lowest per pupil amounts in the state.

  14. - From the 'Dale to HP - Monday, Jun 27, 16 @ 1:40 pm:

    EFAB thinks the state needs $5 billion more in spending on K-12, so this wasn’t too tough of a call.

  15. - Cassandra - Monday, Jun 27, 16 @ 1:45 pm:

    Hard to answer without knowing how much my income taxes would go up to pay for various levels.

    If accompanied by a substantive property tax freeze, I’d go with one of the higher amounts. But I don’t believe there will be a property tax freeze.

    So I’d have to assume the same (high) level of property taxes, which aren’t producing a particularly high level of school or other services in my suburb, plus a substantially higher income tax. It really is quite daunting for those trying to make it on middle and working class incomes.

  16. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Jun 27, 16 @ 1:50 pm:


    He is already offering $105 Mill in hold harmless funding, so no school gets less money this year even if they lost students; $74 Mill of that goes to CPS.
    $75 Mill more for early childhood education
    $55 Mill more GSA funding

    CPS also gets another $250 Mill from their Block Grant as long as the funding formula is not changed.

  17. - illinois bob - Monday, Jun 27, 16 @ 1:52 pm:

    @from the dale to HP

    =EFAB thinks the state needs $5 billion more in spending on K-12, so this wasn’t too tough of a call=

    Do you mean the same EFAB committee that consists of five members, three of whom are leaders in the teachers unions and one who’s typically a school superintendent? Gee, and that group wants a whole bunch of new money for them and their union membership.

    Whodda thunk it?

  18. - Henry Francis - Monday, Jun 27, 16 @ 1:55 pm:

    My opinion isn’t worth squat on this issue. But what about Meeks - where is he on this?

  19. - From the 'Dale to HP - Monday, Jun 27, 16 @ 2:05 pm:

    @illinois bob, are you saying people in Illinois don’t pay enough in property taxes or that schools should at least 50 kids per classroom?

  20. - Anon - Monday, Jun 27, 16 @ 2:07 pm:

    The state has no “extra” money for anything. The best districts should hope for is the same level of funding as last year until a long-term budget solution is reached. Anything else is just digging the whole deeper, regardless of which side you’re on.

  21. - Phenomynous - Monday, Jun 27, 16 @ 2:24 pm:

    To Currie’s comments highlighted by WBEZ - on average $0.60 of every property tax dollar in Illinois goes to schools…but that number is $0.50 in Chicago. That is worth mentioning.

  22. - NewsToDownstate - Monday, Jun 27, 16 @ 2:50 pm:

  23. - Cheryl44 - Monday, Jun 27, 16 @ 3:33 pm:

    Just like state government workers don’t pay taxes, Rauner believes Chicagoans don live in Illinois.

  24. - Hit or Miss - Monday, Jun 27, 16 @ 3:35 pm:

    Zero as: 1)there is no budget, 2) there is a large unfunded pension debt, and 3) there are billions of unpaid bills. Illinois should pay for what it has promised before making more promises for additional funding of anything.

  25. - Ahoy! - Monday, Jun 27, 16 @ 3:46 pm:

    voted for $1 - $100 million but I think a lot of it depends on the deal. This (while fun) was a black and white answer when the color we’re discussion is gray.

    In the end Madigan is going to ask for a number that Rauner won’t accept to try to continue the war until the election.

  26. - Illinois bob - Monday, Jun 27, 16 @ 3:56 pm:

    @from the dale

    =@illinois bob, are you saying people in Illinois don’t pay enough in property taxes or that schools should at least 50 kids per classroom?=

    No, I’m saying that Illinois taxpayers are paying too much for K-12 public education overall and we need to get to spending around the national average per student (exclusive of gold plated pensions) since the cost index for Illinois is about 98% of the national average. We can’t afford paying 18% above that average per year (per the NEA Rankings and estimates report) for receiving what is average quality of education at best.

    In my time working as a physics instructor in a high quality, working class parochial school, I learned what great things can be accomplished for about 75% of what public schools spend, and STILL out achieve the public system.

    We need to work smarter and use technology as an instructional productivity tool for one thing. We need to greatly expand online learning opportunities for those students disciplined enough to handle it. We need to expand the school year through technology to make students year long learners and allow them to catch up over the summers and earn inexpensive credit to graduate and move on early.

    We also need to get senior faculty costs down to where they reflect that faculties’ productivity and student outcomes. We need to hire teachers who are more like entrepreneurs than civil service workers.

    Education is the only profession where the tech revolution failed to dramatically improve productivity to allow for the substantial compensation increases enjoyed by staff over the last few decades. It’s time to fix this and move into the 21st century.

  27. - madco - Monday, Jun 27, 16 @ 4:04 pm:

    – two schools in Beiser’s district would see no increase in state funding, East Alton-Wood River CHSD 14 and Wood River-Hartford Elementary School District 15.–

    Beiser conveniently fails to mention that none of the other school districts in his district (Alton, Bethalto, Granite City, Edwardsville, Roxana, East Alton) will receive no increase. To put his statement in further context, all of the schools I mentioned in parentheses, except for East Alton, are consolidated school districts (the elementary, middle and high schools are under one school district, one administration, etc), while East Alton Elementary and Wood River-Hartford Elementary are their own separate districts that feed into the East Alton-Wood River High School District. They’re the only system in all of Madison County that isn’t consolidated. Voters have tried to consolidate those 3 districts twice in the past 5 years, one vote failed by 12 votes, the second failed by 8. It’s on the ballot again this year. When schools are searching couch cushions for $$, this is a no-brainer. But no surprise that Beiser didn’t put it into proper context. The real story should be: almost every school in Beiser’s district are receiving an increase in funding under Rauner’s education funding proposal.

  28. - Anonymous - Monday, Jun 27, 16 @ 4:20 pm:

    Illinois Bob,

    Your’re right: teachers are overpaid. THAT’s the problem. THAT’s the root of the economic malaise. Here I thought it was a lack of buying power causing flat demand and therefore relatively little investment. But you know, what could I know?

    And here I thought the lack of buying power was caused by historically flat to declining wages.

    Hmmm. Learn something new every day.

    And here I thought that while the public sector has been creating jobs every month since 2008, 20% of the economy has been in recession, namely the public sector. I thought, you know, you can’t have a booming recovery when 20% of the economy is in decline. But come to find out, the problem is overpaid teachers and government workers.

    Could you please explain to the rest of us how exactly overpaid teachers are holding down the economy?

    Cause here I was about to blame un-taxed vulture capitalists like BKR, Trump, and Romney and the wage stagnation that has resulted from their comings and goings. Turns out it was those g*& d@#$ overpaid teachers.

  29. - HistoryProf - Monday, Jun 27, 16 @ 4:21 pm:

    Sorry, “Anonymous 4:20 pm” was me.

  30. - 47th Ward - Monday, Jun 27, 16 @ 8:51 pm:

    ===”Anonymous 4:20 pm” was me.===

    That would an awesome screen name.

  31. - btowntruth from forgottonia - Monday, Jun 27, 16 @ 9:28 pm:

    “We need to hire teachers who are more like entrepreneurs than civil service workers.”
    Say what?

  32. - Juvenal - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 9:40 am:

    Not a penny.

    There shouldn’t be a stop gap.

    Rauner needs to stop kicking the can down the road.

    Take the advice of Crain’s: pass a balanced budget, declare victory, and move on.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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