Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner vowed Monday to eliminate a Chicago bill on public education funding that gives more money to teacher pensions than student needs.
Rauner said that Democrats are playing to “Chicago special interests” and getting mucked up in “political games,” rather than helping Chicago’s students, according to the Chicago Tribune. He said that if the millions of “bailout” dollars were taken out of the Chicago teacher pension system, the money could be better used to do great work in rural and suburban areas.
He asked both Democratic Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and Illinois Senate President John Cullerton to send him the legislation so that he could amend it as he sees fit.
A clause in the bill says that the school can’t spend federal aid unless it has been vetted by a new “evidence-based” formula, which the Democrats passed in May. Rauner said Cullerton was refusing to send him the funding formula bill to “create crisis and then force the pension bailout for the city of Chicago and put a new permanent structure in place that hurts our local schools every year going forward.”
Cullerton’s spokesman wouldn’t say if or when the legislation would be sent to Rauner, and instead said that the Senate had slowed the process “because Gov. Rauner threatened a knee-jerk veto.”
The formula mandates $215 million in pension assistance to Chicago public school teachers, and gives a block grant of $250 million.
“That is so hurtful to me, so insulting to me,” Rauner said after being accused of not caring about poor minority students in Chicago. “I’ve spent 25 years of my life, my wife and I, helping improve the public schools in the city of Chicago, not only with our time but also our financial resources.”
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