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Republicans once again claim Democrats are pushing CPS bailout

Thursday, May 18, 2017

* From the Illinois Policy Institute’s news service

Of the grand bargain bills, Senate Bill 1 changes the state’s school funding formula. It passed, 35-18, with three lawmakers voting present. Under the legislation, the state picks up $135 million in annual pension payments for CPS while continuing to pay the school district about $250 million in annual block grants, which are not given to other Illinois school districts.

“How is that fair to other districts?” Illinois Sen. Jason Barickman asked on the Senate floor. “This keeps that Chicago block grant in perpetuity, forever. It picks up the Chicago Public School pension costs forever.” Barickman said Democrats like to talk about parity, but “giving special deals and special rules to Chicago isn’t parity.”

Rauner’s administration said the education funding bill passed by Senate Democrats Wednesday is not what was negotiated.

“This bill is not consistent with the framework of the bipartisan, bicameral School Funding Commission,” Illinois Secretary of Education Beth Purvis said in a statement. “Senator [Andy] Manar abandoned our bipartisan process, departing from agreements already finalized in the commission and forcing a Chicago bailout at the expense of every other school district in the state, some of which are in worse financial straits than CPS.”

* The gist of the sponsor’s response to the Chicago bailout allegation was briefly described by the AP

The sponsor of the Senate proposal, Democratic Sen. Andy Manar of Bunker Hill, maintains that holding all districts harmless includes ensuring CPS does not lose funding.

That’s basically what Senate President Cullerton told reporters as well yesterday. The Republicans are pointing to money that CPS is still getting without mentioning that all districts are being held harmless.

* Manar’s press release was chock full of heat, but very little light…

“The Rauner administration and Republicans want to behave like this is a vexing new problem that Illinois has never tried to tackle before. The truth is this is a more than 20-year-old problem that we have studied to death, repeatedly debated and willfully ignored.

“In Gov. Rauner’s perfect world, Illinois’ aging public schools would feature teachers that are paid less, support services that are outsourced and very little accountability to the communities they serve.

“That’s not the world we live in. We owe it to our students of today and our students of tomorrow to deal with Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation school funding formula now. Educators, parents, taxpayers, students and advocates are clamoring for change, and we would be remiss to not get this done before May 31. Gov. Rauner knows this, and so does his education secretary, Beth Purvis.

“Here’s the bottom line: The only opposition that exists to Senate Bill 1 is from Bruce Rauner and his enablers, who for some reason refuse to show independence from the governor when it comes time to do the right thing.

“Gov. Rauner and his team can put out all the statements they want claiming I abandoned the bipartisan process. I can sleep at night knowing I’ve never abandoned Illinois students or leveraged the state’s future for a political agenda.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

13 Comments »
  1. - The Captain - Thursday, May 18, 17 @ 9:48 am:

    Where has this Andy Manar been hiding? Bravo.


  2. - Chairman McBroom - Thursday, May 18, 17 @ 9:55 am:

    The rhetoric of Manar and company is very amusing given the fact they rammed this bill through without an updated score for school districts from ISBE. Irresponsible even if all districts are being held harmless.


  3. - On the other hand - Thursday, May 18, 17 @ 9:59 am:

    Guessing this wasn’t the planned Chief Sponsor for SB1 in the House?


  4. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 18, 17 @ 9:59 am:

    ===The Republicans are pointing to money that CPS is still getting without mentioning that all districts are being held harmless.===

    Now, I’m not saying Mr. Barickman is being… disingenuous. Not saying that.

    I guess I’m saying leaving out certain mathematical facts, it can make arguments seem disingenuous when you are talking dollars and impact and reality in both.

    Yep, that’s what I’m saying… Yes.


  5. - City Zen - Thursday, May 18, 17 @ 10:05 am:

    So the baseline to CPS being “held harmless” includes those block grants that should have been reduced over the years. Just re-calibrate and set a new baseline.


  6. - Earnest - Thursday, May 18, 17 @ 10:12 am:

    >The only opposition that exists to Senate Bill 1 is from Bruce Rauner and his enablers, who for some reason refuse to show independence from the governor when it comes time to do the right thing.

    This is the closest he comes to a cohesive consistent message, and it’s a ways off.

    OT, but I find it ironic that Rauner rails against career politicians, but he’d never be able to control someone who fears a primary challenge, which seems to be the main criteria for being a career politician.


  7. - Chicago Schooler - Thursday, May 18, 17 @ 10:17 am:

    =“How is that fair to other districts?” Illinois Sen. Jason Barickman asked on the Senate floor. =

    Its actually unfair to CPS. The absence of state pension payments to Chicago dwarfs the block grant and the proposed $135 M pension contribution.

    CPS pays $733 million annually to meet its state-mandated pension obligations. The other school districts Barickman worries about? Nada, Zero, Zip.


  8. - Sue - Thursday, May 18, 17 @ 10:22 am:

    The State doesn’t need to and should not bail out COS since Chicago foolishly spent its pension dollars on other programs. This is akin to a 5 year old asking his parents for more money after spending the piggy bank at the ice cream store


  9. - Albany Park Patriot - Thursday, May 18, 17 @ 10:40 am:

    Given the amount of money Rauner has made on public pensions, this is highly ironic.


  10. - City Zen - Thursday, May 18, 17 @ 10:41 am:

    ==Its actually unfair to CPS. The absence of state pension payments to Chicago dwarfs the block grant and the proposed $135 M pension contribution.==

    You’ve got that backwards. The block grants is and always has been much greater than that pension payment.

    ==CPS pays $733 million annually to meet its state-mandated pension obligations.==

    That amount is a recent phenomenon, and only that large from all the low payments made the past 20 years because Daley put the pension money into funding operating expenses.

    ==The other school districts Barickman worries about? Nada, Zero, Zip.==

    Actually, downstate school districts contribute 0.58% towards pensions. And CPS does not have a state pension fund (TRS) but has its own pension fund (CTPF).


  11. - winners and losers - Thursday, May 18, 17 @ 10:42 am:

    =The only opposition that exists to Senate Bill 1 is from Bruce Rauner and his enablers==

    No, Senator Manar, special education teachers are opposed to SB 1 because you are not willing to even discuss changing the bill to stop the elimination of direct and dedicated funding of $9,000 per year for each special ed teacher.

    The 511 page Amendment 5 to SB 1 was introduced on May 17, sent directly to the Senate floor by Assignments on May 17, and after a brief debate voted on by the full Senate.

    Senators had no idea how SB 1 would affect their school districts in the future as it is impossible to do an evaluation of a 511 page bill in a couple of hours.


  12. - Ron - Thursday, May 18, 17 @ 11:05 am:

    All Illinois school districts should fund the pensions of their employees. What a joke.


  13. - Demoralized - Thursday, May 18, 17 @ 11:52 am:

    I’m not sure you ever get to an agreeable school funding reform bill because it seems that Rauner and the Republicans would oppose anything that doesn’t at least leave Chicago at current funding levels.


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