Education funding remains sticking point on state budget deal

Illinois Budget
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Another Springfield showdown is looming.

The fiscal year ends Friday and state lawmakers are going to try again to pass funding for crucial state services.  It appears they’re closing in on a deal.

But on education funding, differences remain.

Late today, word came that Democrats have come up with an education funding plan that Gov Bruce Rauner and Republicans say they don’t support.

Senate Democrats want to add $750 million for public schools, including $286 million more for Chicago Public Schools.

“What they’ve said is no deals, no budget unless the funding formula changes and we get a lot more money for Chicago Public Schools,” Gov. Rauner said. “And they’re basically threatened to hold up the entire funding process for a bailout of CPS. Let me be clear. That is wrong. That is unfair. That is just not reasonable for the children around the state.”

This week, CPS is set to make a $676 million payment to its teacher pension fund. After that, the district says it will be left with only $24 million in the bank. That is not nearly enough to keep schools open this fall. Mayor Emanuel is looking to Springfield for help.

“I think the teachers in Chicago and the taxpayers in Chicago should be treated fairly and stop subsidizing every other school district and every other teacher,” he said.

Even as the education fight continues, Republicans and Democrats report progress on a stopgap measure that would provide money for road construction, public safety and social services.

But without some sort of deal, Rauner is warning the state is heading for catastrophe.

“We are on the verge of a crisis with no budget whatsoever,” he said.

The General Assembly meets in Springfield on Wednesday. Governor Rauner today asked that Democratic and Republican leaders get together tomorrow for closed door talks.

 

 

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