Governor Rauner Plays A Card In School Funding Debate | WGLT

Governor Rauner Plays A Card In School Funding Debate

Apr 25, 2017

Governor Bruce Rauner indicates a key difference in competing school funding bills is a bargaining chip.

Rauner said Chicago Schools should be treated the same as other districts by the state. That came during a tour of the Beer Nuts factory in Bloomington as WGLT asked Rauner about Senator Jason Barickman's school funding formula bill.

That bill would eliminate a $250 million block grant for Chicago schools.

"Chicago has also received a special block grant of $250 million that no other district in the state of Illinois receives. And that more than compensates for the amount of their pension payment. And even while they were receiving that block grant, Chicago schools skipped their pension payments for years and years," said the Governor.

A similar version of the funding formula bill sponsored by Democratic Senator Andy Manar keeps the block grant.

"We could leave it as it currently is as a block grant and them picking up their teacher pension. Or we could change it where the state of Illinois picks up the pension payment for the Chicago teachers, however, the block grant should then go away and it should just be the funding formula," said Rauner.

A third version of the bill is in the house, sponsored by a Republican.

Rauner said he is optimistic the versions can come together in a measure that will pass.

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