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Rauner Keeps Playing Games with Illinois Schools

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Rauner Keeps Looking to Score Political Points at the Expense of Children’s Education

Two weeks ago, Governor Rauner vetoed a bipartisan state budget, which included education funding, that would have ended the state’s two-year budget impasse. Then, Rauner called on legislators to sustain his veto even though it threatened to keep schools from opening in the falls. Many districts were already suffering under Rauner’s self-imposed budget crisis and were collectively owed $1 billion. Many districts were forced to take on debt to keep classes open.
Now Rauner, reeling from his budget defeat, is looking to score political points by playing school districts off each other. In a press conference today, Rauner said he would partially veto SB1 to strip out a so-called “bailout” of Chicago schools. Well, Chicago’s two biggest papers disagree with his characterization:
Chicago Tribune Editorial Board – “Let’s get something straight: It’s not a bailout. CPS is teetering on bankruptcy. It is borrowing to pay off borrowing and faces a structural deficit so alarming that none of the proposals in Springfield to overhaul the statewide formula would funnel enough money to bail out CPS. Not even close.”
Chicago Sun-Times Editorial – “Rauner has called Manar’s bill a ‘bailout’ of CPS. That has fanned flames for Republicans to nix it. But the governor fails to mention that SB 1 also would provide an enormous lift to many schools in the suburbs and in downstate communities such as Centralia, Prairie Du Rocher, Rantoul and Vienna.”
Earlier this year Bruce Rauner’s own administration said he agreed with 90% of what was in the bill. Now Rauner is seeking to extract as much political points out of that 10% as possible by pitting the city against the rest of the state. That is not the kind of leadership Illinois needs.
“Today Bruce Rauner put his reelection campaign ahead of Illinois’ students,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “Instead of working with legislators to find a compromise, Rauner pitted one part of the state against the other for political points. This same Governor created a two-year budget crisis that threatened every school district in Illinois. Bruce Rauner’s failed leadership is putting his political calculations ahead of the future of Illinois’ middle-class.”