* Press release…
Daniel Biss released the following statement in response to Governor Rauner’s inclusion of private school vouchers in the most recent school funding proposal.
“While I am encouraged that we are closer than ever to an agreement on public school funding, it is absurd that, in order to fund public schools, Governor Rauner and his allies are demanding a tax credit scheme that will just put more money in the pockets of millionaires and billionaires. The private school voucher program doesn’t help create a more equitable education system—it’s a false choice, and just the latest example of Rauner putting millionaires over the middle class.
“What we need is equitable school funding for all Illinois students, not more money in the pockets of people like Bruce Rauner and J.B. Pritzker.”
Not a bad political move by Biss because it forces Pritzker to make a choice between the teachers unions and supporting a funding reform bill.
*** UPDATE 1 *** From Galia Slayen at the Pritzker campaign…
JB and Daniel Biss are both in favor of funding our schools and are both against private school vouchers. It’s unfortunate that Daniel Biss is more focused on playing politics than standing up to Bruce Rauner and doing what’s right for Illinois kids.
I asked Slayen if the statement meant that Pritzker was opposed to the negotiated agreement, but haven’t heard back. I’ll let you know.
…Adding… The Pritzker people say they don’t want to comment on the bill itself until it’s finalized.
*** UPDATE 2 *** From the Chris Kennedy campaign…
Here’s video of Chris speaking out against vouchers last week during his interview with Capitol Connection.
At the 2:05 mark, Mark Maxwell asked Chris to weigh in and Chris responds:
“If you read the state Constitution, it makes it very clear in plain language that we’re not allowed to use tax dollars to fund private education and Catholic education. Now, maybe Bruce Rauner can find a way through twists and turns to get around that provision in our state constitution, but once you start violating Constitutions, I don’t know where that game ends.”
Additionally: While it’s certainly a sign of progress that leadership has reached a school funding agreement, it’s concerning that it seems to maintain Governor Rauner’s $75 million school voucher program masked as a scholarship program. Our governor shouldn’t advocate for robbing the public education system to enrich private schools. Our governor should serve the needs of all students throughout the state. We need a leader who will overhaul the way we fund schools so that all students have access to a quality public education.
*** UPDATE 3 *** Ameya Pawar…
[ *** End Of Updates *** ]
“Education funding should be distributed equitably to public schools across Illinois. It is dead wrong to give vouchers and tax credits to private or parochial schools. Using taxpayer money to fund private schools benefits the children of wealthy families at the expense of the rest of the state.”
* I’m hearing that the House Democratic teleconference meeting today was “brutal” on this topic. “Our caucus is going crazy over the quasi voucher [stuff],” said one House Democrat. “I don’t see a path to 71,” said another. “Longest caucus call ever,” said yet another who was on the call.
If Downstate Republicans allied with the IEA start to jump ship (especially now that the governor has given them political cover to do so by essentially saying the bill is another Chicago bailout attempt), then we’re in for some real turmoil.
The tax credit could get pulled out of the bill by the leaders or yet another side deal is cut against the governor’s wishes like what happened with the budget, or… Well, I’m not sure at this moment. Maybe Madigan can work some magic. But this is gonna be tough.