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*** UPDATED x1 - ILGOP responds *** CTU may sue to block school funding reform law over tax credits

Thursday, Aug 31, 2017

* The Chicago Teachers Union is considering some very risky legal options

If the union successfully challenged the tax credits, the entire school funding measure would be “invalid” under a provision lawmakers inserted into the legislation. That would include the new money authorized for CPS.

Previously, an Illinois Appellate Court in 2001 upheld a state income tax credit of up to $500 for parents for paying “qualified educational expenses” that exceed $250 for the education of children in K-12 private schools.

The credit was challenged based on the state constitution prohibiting government money for religious purposes, including a ban on spending to “aid” or “to help support or sustain any school” that is “controlled by any church or sectarian denomination.”

In its 2001 ruling, the Appellate Court noted that a tax credit “does not constitute public funds” received by the government. Instead, “it merely allows people to keep more of their own money.”

So, if the CTU does file a lawsuit and it’s successful (which seems doubtful, but whatever), then the entire evidence based model would be enjoined and $7 billion in state school funding would be halted.

Over a $75 million pilot project.

*** UPDATE ***  ILGOP…

“The Chicago Teachers Union has a long history of brinkmanship and intransigence, and their refusal to accept the bipartisan school funding compromise is no different. CTU’s opposition to a five-year, $75 million tax credit scholarship pilot program is not only unreasonable, it puts the education of millions of Illinois schoolchildren at risk. We implore them to try something different for a change - be reasonable and support compromise.” - Illinois Republican Party Spokesman Aaron DeGroot

The Chicago Teacher’s Union is threatening legal action over the new evidence-based school funding formula that received bipartisan support just because it contains Illinois’ first-ever school choice pilot program.

If successful, their latest temper tantrum would block Illinois schools from receiving over $7 billion dollars in state funding all in the name of brinkmanship and refusal to compromise.

Democrat gubernatorial candidates are already jumping on board with Chicago Teachers Union in yet another example of Chicago Democrats kowtowing to CTU regardless of how unreasonable they’re position is.

Daniel Biss and Pritzker-running mate Julianna Stratton actually voted against the school funding compromise, opting instead to protect the status quo and their own political interests.

J.B. Pritzker himself has said he would’ve voted no, and Chris Kennedy’s campaign has even been fundraising on taking educational opportunities away from underprivileged kids.

Once again, the Chicago Teachers Union says jump, and the Democrats ask ‘how high,’ all to the detriment of Illinois schoolchildren.

* Related…

* Bernard Schoenburg: Sen. Manar pushed school funding changes for years: But Manar had known of the problem for a much longer time. It was when he was in college, in the mid-1990s, he recalls, that he accompanied his mentor, the late state Sen. VINCE DEMUZIO, D-Carlinville, to hear a speech on the need for school funding changes from then-Gov. JIM EDGAR, a Republican. It was in 1997 that the last major revision to school funding in the state was passed, Manar said.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

46 Comments
  1. - Whatever - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 10:53 am:

    ==Over a $75 million pilot project.==

    Purity of essence. Peace on earth.


  2. - Anonymous - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 10:53 am:

    I mean, if they want to waste their time and money on a slam dunk loser of a case, I suppose that’s their right


  3. - Lonely Man - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 10:55 am:

    JB Pritzker opposed the bill. Is he going to fund the litigation for CTU also?


  4. - Curl of the Burl - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 10:57 am:

    Lonely - good question. I bet the odds on that are even.


  5. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 10:58 am:

    This is a mistake.

    Any Dem candidate for Governor that doesn’t realize how it could put the Dem Nominee in jeopardy with “a Chicago Union” trying to hurt downstate schools isn’t understanding what Rauner wants to peddle, and how this plays into, up to now, a failing narrative of putting regions against each other… while in the same breath touting this school funding bill.

    Walk away from this.

    No good to be found here.


  6. - SAP - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 10:58 am:

    I have criticized the Governor for not accepting 90% of a loaf and declaring victory, but this just quantum levels crazier.


  7. - SAP - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 11:00 am:

    Not to speak for Pritzker, but I believe his position was that the tax credit was bad policy, not that it was unconstitutional.


  8. - PJ - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 11:00 am:

    They have no chance. This is crafted specifically to skirt that constitutional limit.


  9. - West Side the Best Side - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 11:01 am:

    Sometimes it seems like the CTU and the Governor just deserve one another.


  10. - wordslinger - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 11:04 am:

    Who’s the judge that’s going to sign an order blowing up $7B in funding for every school in the state over a $75M tax credit?

    Judge Crater?


  11. - @MisterJayEm - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 11:04 am:

    “I have criticized the Governor for not accepting 90% of a loaf and declaring victory, but this just quantum levels crazier.”

    I presume leadership will file this suit as a sop to the union’s hard-cores with no expectation (or intention) of winning.

    “Sorry, Che. You can’t say we didn’t try…”

    – MrJM


  12. - Anon221 - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 11:05 am:

    CTU needs to realize they need to let this battle go and focus on the “war” instead. It is a pilot program with a sunset. There is a Dem candidate for Governor that has stated he will work to end it. There will be an “ammo dump” of donors and schools and “distributors” of the dollars that can be used for future campaigns. Trying to win a court case on principle (and I do support the principle) is not the way to go. Please CTU, let it go and just breathe.


  13. - H-W - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 11:05 am:

    == If the union successfully challenged the tax credits, the entire school funding measure would be “invalid” under a provision lawmakers inserted into the legislation. ==

    What sort of provision was inserted? Did is state if any part is deemed invalid then the whole is invalid? I have seen that sort of language used to force lawmakers to vote, but not to prevent lawsuits. Just curious.


  14. - the Cardinal - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 11:13 am:

    The CTU should focus efforts in the class room and dump all the false outrage. Your folks are well taken care of…go get the results that Kids deserve and parents expect in the classroom.


  15. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 11:14 am:

    I want to say the piece on Andy Manar by Bernie was fantastic. He is the one that deserves much of the credit, along with Will Davis. They worked their tails off.


  16. - Really ctu - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 11:15 am:

    Besides Mike Madigan you are the second biggest problem in the state of il.get rid of CUT


  17. - Mary Sunshine - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 11:19 am:

    The tax credit doesn’t even start until next year, by the time it gets up and running we could be only a few months away from having a new governor. We could end up spending much less than 75 million before the program is repealed if that’s the case Everyone complaining about the bill should put their energy and resources into working against Bruce Rauner and his ilk.


  18. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 11:23 am:

    Legal question: Why can’t CTU sue to block the scholarship program? I understand that the new law will not be severable. Can a court rule for the “common good” that education funding can continue, while the scholarships cannot?


  19. - igotgotgotgotnotime - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 11:25 am:

    Shouldn’t the conservatives be the ones challenging a $75M bailout? They’re an inconsistent bunch.


  20. - Joe M - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 11:37 am:

    Where will the money for this $75 million tax credit come from? Was it budgeted for in the recent budget that passed? Or will it put the state budget $75 million more in the hole?


  21. - Obamas Puppy - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 11:42 am:

    You can keep saying it is a “pilot program” and maybe that makes some feel better about this voucher scheme but it is not temporary. When this is implemented who is going to eliminate this for kids who are already in a private school? Yanking a kid out of any grade after growing up with those kids is traumatic and will never happen. Also everyone knows increasing this amount of tax break for the rich will be the next ransom that must be paid for the Guv to sign any sort of budget.


  22. - DuPage Bard - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 11:46 am:

    This will be good for CTU and teacher’s unions.
    This won’t be a Chicago bailout once the teachers sue it’ll be teachers unions blocking a bill they agreed with 90%. Special interests are ruining our state says the Governor. CTU may just prove that to be true.

    Teachers against Kids


  23. - My thoughts - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 11:47 am:

    What I do not understand is why for example Loyola University of Chicago, a private Roman Catholic university, should be able to receive MAP grants while a private college preparatory high school should not receive vouchers. Article X Section 3 of the Illinois constitution states no public funding shall be made available to “college, university, or other literary or scientific institution, controlled by any church or sectarian denomination”.


  24. - RNUG - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 11:47 am:

    CTU needs to walk away from this one for now.

    Concentrate on electing a Governor and more Legislators. Then you can repeal that provision if you still want to.


  25. - Sue - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 11:52 am:

    And they wonder why States with less union participation have more economic growth, jobs and prosperity


  26. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 11:53 am:

    I’m not sure the repeal will come so easily with Madigan as speaker.


  27. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 11:54 am:

    Sue, more jobs and prosperity? Are you sure?


  28. - Molly Maguire - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 11:57 am:

    CTU gonna CTU


  29. - Ghost - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 12:17 pm:

    Judge Crater …. sounds like a character in clue

    Judge Crater, in the court house with the candlestick er gavel….


  30. - Ghost - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 12:18 pm:

    actually insuppose that hame would be more aptly called Clueless


  31. - winners and losers - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 12:18 pm:

    Obamas Puppy is correct. NO State that has started neo-vouchers has repealed them.

    Reminds me of gambling in Illinois: first Riverboats that sailed a few times a day, then fixed locations that are much larger and could be entered at any time, and now slots all over Illinois in every little town and village.

    As I stated earlier, Vouchers (tax credits) for private schools are an extremely important and emotional issue for those who support public schools, public education, and local public schools as the heart of a community.

    Witness the Federal battle over Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education (confirmed only with the V.P. breaking a time in the U.S. Senate) all over Vouchers and Charter schools.

    As the Fred Klonsky blog states today:

    Betsy DeVos is the law in Illinois


  32. - A guy - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 12:24 pm:

    What’s truly amazing is that this ridiculous notion is being contemplated “out loud”.

    Even if it comes to nothing, as it likely will; the CTU is on the record for this idiotic boner.

    They can’t help themselves. All about the kids, except the 100% of it that isn’t. Dorks.


  33. - igotgotgotgotnotime - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 12:39 pm:

    I’m guessing MAP grants pass muster because they’re given to Illinois residents, to be used where the resident sees fit, not to institutions.


  34. - Wondering - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 12:50 pm:

    I wouldn’t be too quick to bet against CTU on this. Appellate courts have been reversed. Reasonable educational expenses is not a scholarship.


  35. - Chicago_Downstater - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 12:55 pm:

    Ideologues annoy me. I’m more ideologically in-line with the CTU than I am with Rauner, but frankly I’d be happy to stick them both in a boat & shove them off into Lake Michigan.

    I’ve tried being patient with all the folks saying “but but but it’s emotional.” But no more.

    You have emotions? Ok, fine. Have your emotions. Go eat some cake with Tina Fey. I don’t care. But don’t take away money from the very kids you claim to care about.

    Basically pluck out thine own eye if it offend thee, but keep your fingers out of the rest of our eye sockets. *rant over*


  36. - winners and losers - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 1:10 pm:

    A politician ignores passion and emotion on an issue at their own risk.

    But the bill clearly violates the INTENT of the Illinois Constitution -
    “Neither the General Assembly nor any county, city, town, township, school district, or other public corporation, shall ever make any appropriation or pay from any public fund
    whatever, anything in aid of any church or sectarian purpose, or to help support or sustain any school, academy, seminary, college, university, or other literary or scientific
    institution, controlled by any church or sectarian
    denomination whatever; nor shall any grant or donation of land, money, or other personal property ever be made by the State, or any such public corporation, to any church, or for any sectarian purpose.”


  37. - Carhartt Representative - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 1:17 pm:

    CTU finds vouchers to be a threat to continued education funding for CPS. They also believe that this scholarship language was an end around. Better to fight it now, then in ten years when the question isn’t if, but how much.


  38. - Demoralized - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 1:50 pm:

    Those of you saying this is unconstitutional are making an incredible stretch. You get tax deductions now for education expenses. You get tax deductions now for charitable contributions, including to churches. How is this any different? It’s not.

    Ever heard of the textbook loan program? Religious school could participate.

    There is no constitutional issue here


  39. - My thoughts - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 1:58 pm:

    igotgotgotgotnotime - much like the tax credit for the voucher is given to the donor to use where they see fit?


  40. - walker - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:10 pm:

    “”"little good to be found here”"”

    Unfortunately, that describe a lot of the political actions of CTU leadership.


  41. - Chicago_Downstater - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:10 pm:

    @winners and losers

    “A politician ignores passion and emotion on an issue at their own risk.”

    Last I checked the CTU weren’t politicians, but I digress, because I think there is a larger issue with your statement.

    Obviously a politician is at-risk if they ignore their constituents’ emotions and passions. However, politicians are also at-risk if they allow a small segment of their constituents to run roughshod with their emotions and passions over the basic needs of their other constituents.

    Let’s say the CTU had got their way & killed the education bill. Do you think Chicago parents were going to care more about tax credits or the fact that schools now aren’t funded?

    Now let’s say that the CTU wins their lawsuit. Again are parents going to care about defeating those bad old tax credits or that they now have nowhere to take lil Johnny because schools are closed?

    Rich has rightfully pointed out to me before that I tend to underestimate the public support the CTU currently enjoys. I agree. But one day the CTU will reach too far. And I think if they go through with this ideological purity test of a lawsuit and win and shutdown schools for a measly tax credit while continuing to lobby for ever increasing benefits at the cost of the families they are supposed to serve, then that might just do it.

    And it certainly won’t help them when they go to try to unseat Rahm. Because we all know that’s what this is all about, right?


  42. - winners and losers - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:21 pm:

    It was a false argument that it was SB 1947 or nothing, school funding or no funding.

    It is now a false argument that if SB 1947 is found to violate the intent of the Constitution that schools will not be funded.

    The Courts are very likely to significant time to correct the situation.

    Any lawsuit will be very difficult to win, but a 75% CREDIT on every dollar of tax is very different from a tax deduction.


  43. - Ron - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:21 pm:

    Good I hope CTU wastes lots of money on this. Less to spend at election time.


  44. - My Thoughts - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:38 pm:

    winners and losers - Previously, an Illinois Appellate Court in 2001 upheld a state income tax credit of up to $500 for parents for paying “qualified educational expenses” that exceed $250 for the education of children in K-12 private schools.


  45. - Chicago_Downstater - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:40 pm:

    @winner and losers

    What was the alternative for SB 1947? There weren’t enough votes for an override unless I’m missing something.

    And you say that the judge could just magically wave his gavel and take the tax credits out even with the trigger language in the bill? If that’s the case, then what you are suggesting is an obvious example of legislating from the bench. If you really care about the constitution as your posts seem to indicate, then I’d think you’d be just as concerned about the separation of co-equal branches. But honestly it just seems like a rather risky assumption that a judge would just magically lift away the tax credits.

    Just because this issue is emotional and gets certain folks passionate doesn’t mean it’s worth the harm pursuing it could cause. Basically, I’d happily encourage the CTU to tilt at windmills here if there wasn’t a chance they’d mistakenly canter off and hit the school.


  46. - winners and losers - Thursday, Aug 31, 17 @ 2:51 pm:

    On the small chance part of SB 1947 would be ruled unconstitutional (and therefore, the bill as a whole could not take effect per a specific part of the bill with that exact intent), the Illinois Supreme Court will almost certainly allow months before cutting off school funding.

    That is hardly legislating from the bench.

    In fact the Court could review two parts of the bill:
    (1) tax credits for private schools
    (2) the inseverability clause as an attempt to restrict Court review

    Alternatives to SB 1947?
    (1) A new bill on funding
    (2) Current law, which would require an
    appropriation bill


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