Students at Rockford’s Guilford High School showed off their latest high-tech projects to Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner today.
Rauner stopped by the school to talk about education funding and to check out their innovative engineering-track programs. He pledged to increase K through 12 funding and reduce state mandates on schools.
The Republican governor also clued the students in on the partisan battles that were blocking progress on a state budget.
“Some of the legislators say, ‘No, no, we’re going to hold up school funding until you agree on a tax hike, governor,’” Rauner said. “No. We’re not going to do that. I want to make sure our schools get funding – your school gets funding – no matter what, and you get money than you’ve ever gotten before from the state. That’s what we’re fighting for.”
Rauner has been traveling Illinois to promote his school-funding plan. He says Democratic attempts to alter the school funding formula are designed to bail out Chicago's financially-strapped school district.
Democrats have leveled the same charge against Rauner’s proposed takeover of Chicago Public Schools. But State Senator Andy Manar, a Democrat from Macoupin County, says the real problem is that the current funding formula relies too heavily on property taxes.
"This lawsuit is not at an end,” Manar said. “We are still going to attempt to show that the law does pass the muster under strict scrutiny as well."
Manar proposed legislation that would divert state aid from wealthy districts to schools with more low-income students. His measure would also end Chicago’s automatic claim to millions of dollars in federal funding.