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Purvis changes her story

Wednesday, Jul 26, 2017

* From the Illinois Policy Institute’s news service

Rauner’s Education Secretary Beth Purvis said the Democrats’ bill is an evidence-based plan, but it also provides hundreds of millions of dollars to Chicago Public Schools pensions above and beyond the funding formula.

Purvis said that in 1995, an agreement was made that, because the state didn’t pay for the cost of Chicago Public Schools pensions, it instead would send a block grant, which is about $250 million a year “that is over and above what they would otherwise get within the school funding formula.”

“And the idea was, ‘Chicago Public Schools, we’re going to give you that money and pay down your pensions’,” Purvis said. “Now CPS didn’t use that $250 million to pay down their pensions. In 11 of 25 years, they only made partial payment or no pension [payments].”

Purvis said by ignoring that pension debt, the health of CPS pension funds deteriorated rapidly.

“Our argument is … it’s as if your parents gave you money to pay for your college tuition,” Purvis said. “You didn’t pay for your college tuition, instead you bought a car. That car got you to and from school so it’s important but now you’re going back to your parents and saying, ‘Hey, can I have some of my brother and sister’s college money to pay down my college debt?’ I just don’t think that’s fair.”

* Dusty Rhodes at WUIS earlier this week

In reality, the CPS block grant has no formal relationship to pensions. All districts receive state reimbursement for seven “categoricals” above what they receive in General State Aid. Every district except Chicago has to submit vouchers to get reimbursed for these categoricals. But since 1995, Chicago has been reimbursed via a block grant, based, at least in part, on the reality that submitting claims for thousands of different students was burdensome. Over the years, as CPS enrollment has declined, the block grant resulted in the district receiving $250 million more than it would if it had to submit vouchers for reimbursement.

Rauner’s education czar Beth Purvis has said those extra funds have been audited, and aren’t being misspent. “There’s no implication that CPS is misusing those funds in any way, shape or form,” she told me in May. “We believe that they’re using them for the educational costs of educating those children.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

19 Comments
  1. - winners and losers - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 9:53 am:

    If you track the comments of Beth Purvis over the years, she often contradicts herself.

    But she has to do something for her $250,000 a year salary.


  2. - Illinois O'Malley - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 9:54 am:

    @Superstars, you’re supposed to get your lies straight before you talk to the press.


  3. - slow down - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 9:57 am:

    The intellectual dishonesty from the Raunerites is sadly not surprising but depressing nonetheless. Purvis knows full well the $ has not been misspent but she suggests exactly the opposite.


  4. - Blue Bayou - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 9:58 am:

    So, what’s the hold up on SB1?

    Let me guess: Crisis Creates Opportunity.

    Is that it, Gov? Madame Secretary?


  5. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 9:58 am:

    90% of what Beth Purvis is saying to to appease Bruce and Diana Rauner.

    So… she agrees with the ridiculousness… or at least 90% of it, her own credibility be… well…

    Maybe the Education Secretary (A phony, made up position not paid for by anything “Education, but I digress) really is t an accounting guru, on account that Purvis can’t tell a story straight when it come to understanding… accounting.


  6. - SAP - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 10:02 am:

    So Purvis’ current story is that the State should pick up CPS pension contributions?


  7. - Retired Educator - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 10:03 am:

    If your explaining, your losing. Rationalization is a usually a problem. I am not sure who her audience is. Those who have followed this know the reality of the funding.


  8. - Blue Bayou - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 10:05 am:

    OW, maybe we could get a list of accomplishments, or at least “things being worked on,” by the very expensive Education Sec.

    How is she earning her salary?


  9. - CEA - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 10:11 am:

    I wonder if Purvis said what the IPI says she said, or if they just say she said what she would have said if she’d said what they would have told her to say.


  10. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 10:15 am:

    - Blue Bayou -

    If that list includes “State Fair Parade organizing”… that might not suprise me. I’m sure 90% of her existence is to pretend that the 90% quote from now on is just baloney.

    I’d like to see that list too - Blue Bayou -…


  11. - Blue Bayou - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 10:20 am:

    OW, I can almost guarantee you that anyone involved in education in the state of IL has no idea what she does.

    Now that I think about it….maybe that’s a good thing.

    Overall, no matter how much you tout your Ed Sec, or your wife stumping for your accomplishments in education, it only matters what you do.

    And the Governor has done nothing but tear education down.


  12. - City Zen - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 10:22 am:

    ==You didn’t pay for your college tuition, instead you bought a car.==

    A Range Rover?


  13. - Sonny - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 10:32 am:

    I’d love to hear how the IPI requests for interviews with people in the admin go and see the whole process. Do they help massage the quotes for them? How do propaganda pitch meetings work? It’s so disingenuous, phony and unethical.


  14. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 10:48 am:

    “Our argument is … it’s as if your parents gave you money to pay for your college tuition,” Purvis said. “You paid for your college tuition for the first year, but then the Governor cut the budget for your college and tuition went up each year for the next three years. Now you’re going back to your parents and saying, ‘Hey, tuition went up, like 20%, I had to sell my car and borrow a ton of money. Send my brother and sister out of state to college, because no one knows if my public university will even be here in 2-3 years.’ I just don’t think that’s fair.”


  15. - Annonin' - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 10:52 am:

    Block grant there to pay for special ed and other mandates ….. pensions never involved


  16. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 11:03 am:

    Wherever this money was spent, let’s be abundantly clear here. CPS. That means the Administration. Business folks that run the system.

    Leave teachrs out of your vitriole


  17. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 11:24 am:

    Misue of funds, eh?

    What do you call using DHS funds to pay a ghost payroller on the governor’s personal staff for a made up, redundant position?

    Waste, fraud or abuse?


  18. - Roman - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 11:56 am:

    The Education Secretary needs to take a history class.

    The 1995 law was no “deal” at all. Every Chicago member of the General Assembly voted against it.

    That law stupidly eliminated the dedicated Chicago property tax levy for teacher pensions (which kept the CPS fund solvent for decades) and gave the Chicago Board of Ed statutory authority to take pension holidays for several years. It also promised the state would cover a third of CPS’s normal pension costs, only to roll that amount back to nearly zero in subsequent appropriation bills.

    Arguing that Chicago gets too much state funding through the 1995 block grant structure is legit. The pension argument is 100 percent bogus.


  19. - Educator - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 2:27 pm:

    Lies, lies and more lies from Ms. Purvis.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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