Both Illinois and Chicago Need Real Revenue Solutions, Not Political Gamesmanship
Chicago –(ENEWSPF)–January 20, 2016. On Wednesday, Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, despite still not being able to pass a state budget, introduced legislation aimed at taking control of Chicago Public School’s budget. This move is backed by Governor Rauner who has more than doubled Illinois’ deficit in his first year in office.
“Governor Rauner’s attempt at a hostile takeover of Chicago Public Schools is yet another example of boardroom-style governance that has proven to be such a failure,” stated Amisha Patel, Executive Director of Grassroots Collaborative. “Governor Rauner’s approach hasn’t worked for fixing the state budget and it won’t work for Chicago Public Schools.”
“It is an outrageous proposal. We have had to implement layoffs and reduce services that our community needs because of the inability of the Rauner administration to pass a budget. Across the state social service providers are closing and families are suffering as a result. Governor Rauner has been unable to meet the state’s basic obligations and now he wants to be trusted with Chicago’s schools? With his track record he shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near our schools.” said Jennifer Ritter, Executive Director of ONE Northside, a community organization on Chicago’s north side that had to lay off 6 Ceasefire employees as a result of the budget impasse and is still owed $150,000 by the state.
Current school funding formulas have led to the under-resourcing of Chicago Schools, schools that employ the greatest number of Black and Latino educators and serve a large percentage of the state’s Black and Latino students. We need more democracy and accountability via an elected school board, not an extension of the current policy that moves decision making even further away from the Black and Latino communities most impacted by these policies.
Even without equitable resources from Springfield, Chicago Public Schools has many options to fill its budget deficit. A TIF Surplus bill has been introduced in Springfield and in the Chicago City Council that would move hundreds of millions of dollars from a Mayoral-controlled slush fund back into the school system. A new report by the ReFund America project released earlier this week shows how Chicago Public Schools, the City of Chicago, and the State of Illinois are being bled dry by Wall Street banks through predatory interest rate swap deals. The report shows that Chicago Public Schools has paid out $502 million on these bad bank deals, $22 million more than the current $480 million CPS budget shortfall. Chicago could take immediate action to renegotiate these deals.
As the impacts of the budget impasse continue to worsen, working families need real revenue solutions not the austerity plans being pushed by Mayor Emanuel and Governor Rauner.
Grassroots Collaborative is Action Now, American Friends Service Committee – Great Lakes Region, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Chicago Teachers Union, Enlace Chicago, Illinois Hunger Coalition, Jane Addams Senior Caucus, ONE Northside, Service Employees International Union Healthcare Illinois Indiana