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E-mail indicates that ISBE is still waiting on numbers from Dept. of Revenue

Friday, Aug 11, 2017

* This morning, I received a tip that I should file another Freedom of Information Act request with the Illinois State Board of Education for e-mails between ISBE and the Illinois Department of Revenue because there might be another one. The previous response is here.

Here’s what ISBE sent me this morning. It’s an e-mail from Education Superintendent Tony Smith to Department of Revenue Director Connie Beard sent on Tuesday night, after I submitted the FOIA. Gov. Rauner’s education czar Beth Purvis is copied as is Smith’s assistant…

From: Tony Smith
Sent: Tuesday, August 08, 2017 6:24 PM
To: Connie Beard
Cc: Dr. Beth Purvis; Kimberly Clark
Subject: Governor Rauner’s AV to SB1

Hello Director Beard,

I’m writing to you directly to request your help. The State Board of Education is in the process of finalizing a model of Governor Rauner’s Amendatory Veto to SB 1. We completed and sent a version on Monday afternoon and then we received an email this morning informing us the data we received from the Department of Revenue was not accurate. We have to create a new file. We are unable to complete the file requested by the Governor until we receive confirmation from the Department of Revenue that the changes to CPS TIF data reported today to ISBE staff do not affect the data for any other district.

As you know policy makers urgently need this information to make informed decisions on school funding. Please let me know if there is anything you need from ISBE to facilitate getting the data as soon as possible.

Thank you for any assistance you can provide.


Since my FOIA included e-mails up to and including today, and the response was sent to me at about 10:30 this morning, has ISBE ever heard back from Revenue? I checked with ISBE’s spokesperson and was told “I don’t have the answer for that.” I checked in with IDOR and haven’t yet heard back. I’ll update if they respond.

But, you know, no pressure or anything. The Senate isn’t scheduled to vote on the governor’s AV until Sunday. Tons of time, right?

I’ve also filed another FOIA for ISBE correspondence with the governor’s office.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 11:50 am:

    But if they don’t have numbers, who did that first set of numbers Rauner and the Republicans toured the state with?

    Wait. Are you telling me those numbers weren’t accurate? Are you telling me we’ve been fed lies?

    But Sen. Justin Barrickman stood behind those numbers. He assured everyone the governor’s plan and numbers were better.

  2. - HoneyBadger - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 11:50 am:

    Tin foil hat is on right now. Do you suppose ISBE and/or IDOR were directed (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)to hold back by a higher authority or right up to the last minute, so there would be little or no discussion?

  3. - wordslinger - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 11:51 am:


    Not a knock on ISBE or IDOR. They’re actually trying to do their jobs, under strange circumstances.

    Rauner and BTIA are struggling to pull off the proverbial one-car funeral.

  4. - Will Caskey - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 11:55 am:

    God help me but It’s Time For Some Game Theory:

    Let’s say Rauner is dragging his feet because the analysis says his crummy AV is crummy. Let’s say he wins an override vote in a squeaker because of it.

    I do not see how this is not WORSE for S/HGOP for taking a vote blind that in retrospect was extremely terrible for their districts?

  5. - 47th Ward - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 11:55 am:

    So tired
    Tired of waiting
    Tired of waiting for you

  6. - Real - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 11:56 am:

    I could be wrong, but I don’t believe there was an error. I believe they are withholding the numbers because Rauners plan would leave schools worse off.

  7. - HoneyBadger - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 11:57 am:

    Maybe if there are brave GOP legislators who vote to override the veto, they will become targets for the Raunerite/Proft party to be primaried.

  8. - Norseman - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 11:59 am:

    Translation: “hurry and gin up the numbers. The BTIA(TM) want the phony baloney spreadsheet to try and convince folks they didn’t screw up the AV.”

  9. - 47th Ward - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 12:04 pm:

    If they release numbers that show certain school districts in HGOP districts getting harmed, they are begging those members to vote with Democrats to over-ride.

    If they don’t give number, they’re asking all of the HGOPs to “trust them” and even more HGOPs should vote for the override.

    If the numbers were good for most districts outside of Cook/Chicago, then I think we’d have seen them by now. Governor Rauner is following the same strategy he has for three years with his “hide the ball” on the budget. This is why he doesn’t show his cards: they are awful and no one will vote for what he’s actually proposing. He has to resort to misdirection and outright deception.

    What does that say about him? What does it say about the House and Senate Republicans that are enabling him?

  10. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 12:07 pm:

    Message for Rauner to Senate and House Republicans: Trust me. Sometimes it’s better to not know the details.

  11. - Rabid - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 12:14 pm:

    “we received an email” guess who

  12. - Politix - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 12:27 pm:

    Something tell me comms team members will have no info for quite awhile. Purvis is nervis/ous. Hence all further communication on the issue will be done by phone or in person.

  13. - Henry Francis - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 12:28 pm:

    It seems the Guv’s only contributions to the legislative process are to insert poison pills.

    As a great statesman once said: Outrageous.

  14. - hisgirlfriday - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 12:28 pm:

    The only legislatively responsible and fiscally conservative thing for GA Republicans to do is vote to override the governor.

    Illinois schools have budget certainty from SB1. The governor has not given any clarity to schools how their budgets will be affected by his AV, let alone that they will be better off.

    Override the AV and try to pass Rauner’s reforms next year. There will be another year of education to fund then and maybe by then ISBE will have an analysis to provide to show how awesome Rauner’s reforms are.

  15. - Real - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 12:31 pm:

    Even if the ISBE report released Monday contained an error why not publish those numbers? If Rauner’s numbers were so good he would publish those and he would have the new numbers worked on expeditedly.

  16. - Anonymous - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 12:33 pm:

    If Rauner had only proposed his plan through the legislative process instead of creating a crisis, we would have the numbers.

  17. - Decaf Coffee Party - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 12:35 pm:

    Even if somehow the governor produces numbers that show many districts would be better off this school year under his AV (by shifting $$$ from CPS and perhaps double counting the CPS pension $$$), schools better also look at the long-term effects of TIF/PTELL, getting no credit for the cost shift expenses, and capping regional costs.

  18. - Honeybear - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 12:49 pm:

    My theory is Governors loyal people over at Revenue cooked the numbers. ISBE caught the “error” and sent it back. Now IDOR can’t figure out how to cook it without being discovered or discredited. Either way I bet IDOR folks are going to be asked to fall on their swords.

  19. - morningstar - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 12:49 pm:

    BVR to ISBE: Keep the gopher in the hat a little longer. Maybe when you pull it out it will be a rabbit.

  20. - Logan's Run - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 12:52 pm:

    Override as a matter of principle. Is this how legislators want to be treated? Teach this governor that he shouldn’t throw wrenches into the process, fail on the math and then hold back numbers, and leave them swinging in the wind. Republican legislators have an opportunity to tell Rauner and his unprepared IPI staffers to both back off and get it together.

  21. - Arthur Andersen - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 12:52 pm:

    If the BTIA ™ is trying to cultivate an impression they are cooking the books, they are doing a heckuva job.

    Otherwise, failing bigly. No one should be expected to cast a vote without presumably reliable numbers in hand.

  22. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 12:53 pm:

    How do Rauner and the Republicans explain why the numbers are different from what they paraded around the state prior to his AV?

  23. - A Jack - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 1:00 pm:

    Couldn’t they have just looked at the Cook County Clerk website? The Cook County Clerk has plenty of Cook County TIF data.

    Oh wait, those numbers might be too accurate for their estimates.

  24. - Mod Dem - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 1:22 pm:

    Rich - You also may want to include DoIT in the correspondence on the topic. Perhaps they are involved in the data extraction as well. I believe the old Revenue IT department is under DoIT now.

  25. - James - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 1:33 pm:

    My take:

    BTIA folks pulled an all-nighter to write their first AV. Their inexperience was evident to ISBE and IDOR. The school superintendents and municipalities are not happy with it. Even formerly loyal media outlets are turning against the AV.

    Now, it’s looking like a desperate cover-up ordered by the Governors office to prevent the ISBE/IDOR analysis from reaching and possibly persuading House Rs before the override vote.

  26. - Swift - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 1:50 pm:

    Not to sanction the Governor’s attempts to wreck public schools in addition to social service providers, ISBE and IDOR seem to be pretty forthcoming in responding to FOIAs for emails. They can legally drag their feet on these and take up to 10 business days to respond, which would push the date to provide the emails past the Senate’s session on Sunday dealing with the AV. I also suspect a FOIA from the illustrious Rich Miller would warrant consultation with the Governor’s Office who would have the ultimate say on when to release the emails, yet Rich has emails today.

    Odd, in my opinion, considering the AV happened without the data from DOR or ISBE, the data ISBE asked for is not accurate, and no one seem to care that DOR and ISBE can’t seem to get their acts together to get numbers to Rauner’s staff. This isn’t good government, it’s pretty screwed up, yet Rich gets the email affirming that. Further, why is there even the one email? Screw-ups are phone calls, not emails subject to FOIA. Trump supporters have their “deep state” boogeymen, does Rauner too?

  27. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 2:13 pm:

    Doesn’t it beg some questions about the original set of Rauner plan numbers and how those numbers have been disappeared after serving as the centerpiece of the GOP opposition to SB 1?

    Is anyone still standing behind those numbers they’d been standing behind?



  28. - RNUG - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 3:04 pm:

    Like COGFA, the analysts at IDOR tend to be honest with their numbers.

    Suspect the delay is due to the fact the actual numbers don’t match the outcome desired by the Governor’s office … and they are trying lots of different scenarios to find a politically acceptable set.

    When the numbers do come out, be sure to read the footnotes and assumptions very, very carefully. IDOR won’t outright like, but there are favorable ways of presenting bad news.

    And I suspect that is why IDOR and ISBE are answering the FOIA’s quickly. They want to be as honest as they can be.

  29. - wordslinger - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 4:22 pm:

    –Doesn’t it beg some questions about the original set of Rauner plan numbers and how those numbers have been disappeared after serving as the centerpiece of the GOP opposition to SB 1?–

    LOL, and some pretty obvious answers.

    It’s a farce now — you have to show your cards at some point.

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