Rauner Introduces New Funding Plan That Doesn't Include CPS ‘Bailout'

"I have said it before, and I say it again today: we must not bail out a broken system that refuses to change the way it does business," Rauner said

Gov. Bruce Rauner released details about his revamped stopgap funding plan for education and other essential government services Tuesday, but the plan doesn’t include the substantial funding increase for Chicago Public Schools that Democrats are asking for.

"I have said it before, and I say it again today: we must not bail out a broken system that refuses to change the way it does business," Rauner said in a statement Tuesday. "Forcing Illinois to raise its income tax to bail out CPS is fundamentally unfair to our school children, parents, homeowners, and small business owners across the state."

Rauner is meeting Tuesday in Springfield with Senate President John Cullerton, Houe Speaker Mike Madigan, Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin. The General Assembly will reconvene Wednesday for a special legislative session.

The governor's revised plan, which is split into two separate bills, would ensure that schools open on time and that other essential government services, like social services and higher education, are funded through the end of the year.

Radogno and Durkin filed Rauner’s new stopgap measures Tuesday. The identical bills will be introduced to the House and Senate simultaneously. In total, the package includes $50.3 billion in funding for fiscal year 2017, as well as $25 billion to shore up fiscal year 2016.

The plan would fund K-12 for the full year with an increase in funding of $240 million. All told, schools would receive $7 billion.

A “hold harmless” clause, which gives all school districts as much money as they received the previous year, is included in the bill.

This means that, under Rauner's plan, CPS wouldn’t lose the $74 million that it would under the state’s school funding formula, but it it also means that the district wouldn’t receive the $286 million funding increase or the $112 million for pension payments outlined in the plan proposed by President Cullerton Monday.

That plan would increase general state K-12 funding by $760 million. Democrats are also expected to file a stopgap funding plan for essential services Tuesday. 

Cullerton sounded off on Rauner during the groundbreaking for a Chicago Plumbers' Union training facility Tuesday, claiming “Chicago is not being treated fairly like the rest of the state.”

“He wants Chicago to get zero for their pensions, it’s just not fair,” Cullerton said. “We’re asking for $110 million and he says that’s too much.”

House Speaker Mike Madigan, who spoke at the same event Tuesday, called for a compromise, claiming he was cooperating with the governor’s working group on the budget. Madigan also insinuated that the governor's divisive rhetoric was counter-productive.

“The governor could be more helpful,” Madigan said. “He could drop the rhetoric, he could drop there’s a difference between a child in Chicago and a child in Oak Park or Evanston. They’re all children.”

Nevertheless, Radogno said the plan was feasible for the state and reiterated that it doesn’t include a “bailout” for CPS.

“The measure we filed today would fully fund the foundation level for the first time in years, as well as include a ‘hold harmless’ to ensure that all school districts get at least as much as they received in this past school year,” Radogno said in a statement. “What this plan does not contain is a bailout for Chicago Public Schools, as Democrat legislators have proposed. Their plan is not acceptable or affordable to the taxpayers of Illinois – particularly in our downstate and suburban communities.”

The state’s lingering budget impasse will likely stretch into its second year Friday. On Monday, Rauner warned that if bills to fund education and other essential state services aren’t passed soon, critical elements of the government could shut down after July 1.

Last month, as it was becoming clear that lawmakers weren’t going to come to a budget agreement before the end of the spring legislative session, Rauner announced his original stopgap funding bills for K-12 education and other essential government services.

Rauner has spent most of June touring the state pushing his original funding measures. On Tuesday, the governor claimed lawmakers "have essentially reached agreement on a six-month stopgap budget" and continued to blame Democrats for holding up education funding for a "massive bailout" of CPS.

Rauner insists that previously proposed legislation could allow Chicago to manage CPS' problems. This includes applying Cullerton's pension reform proposal to CPS teachers' pensions and allowing the district to declare bankruptcy. Rauner also recommends granting local control of collective bargaining to allow CPS to remove teachers' pensions pickup from contract negotiations.

"If Mayor Emanuel would join with his friend, President Cullerton, and lead in the effort for reforms along with Republican legislators, then together we could protect students, teachers, and taxpayers in the city and the state, creating a better future for everyone," Rauner said.

Emanuel shot back at Rauner Tuesday, slamming elements of the governor's beleaguered Turnaround Agenda.

"Instead of doing the hard work of fixing Illinois' broken education funding formula, Bruce Rauner has wasted 18 months of his term holding the entire state hostage in the name of workers' compensation and right to work," Emanuel said in a statement. "After all that time, Bruce Rauner is doubling down on the failed formula that rewards wealthy children who grow up in elite communities and penalizes poor children in Chicago and accross the state, and he is standing behind Illinois' ignominious distinction of being 48th in the nation for education funding."

"That is the real tragedy," he added. 

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