Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) said he wants school funding reform tied to the state budgeting process.
"The governor has linked things together. We don't have a budget because he's got his 'turnaround agenda.' So I can link things together too," Cullerton said during remarks Monday at the City Club of Chicago. "This is a turnaround agenda. We gotta change the school funding formula."
During his City Club speech, Cullerton said a school funding overhaul is needed because the current system is the "most inequitable system of school finance in the country." The state's public education funding system has remained unchanged since 1997.
"Before we appropriate money for education for next year, (which) starts July 1, we have to fix this formula," Cullerton said. "And it's not a special deal for Chicago. In fact, we're eliminating the special deals for Chicago," including the special block grant it receives.
Chicago's Progressive Reform Caucus wants the Emanuel administration to "delay or abandon" its proposal to use roughly $100 million in borrowed money to pay termination penalties for interest-rate swap agreements.
The caucus opposes the "Emanuel administration's plan to voluntarily pay massive interest-rate swap termination penalties" because it could result in "windfall profits for big banks" and cost "taxpayers more over the next few decades," Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) said during a press conference at City Hall on Tuesday.
The interest-rate swap agreements in question, held between the city and financial institutions, date back to former Mayor Richard M. Daley's administration. The $100 million in swap termination payments is part of a $2 billion borrowing package set to go before the Chicago City Council on Wednesday.
"The administration has said we're getting out of these risky deals, but what we're getting out of this deal is an irresponsible financial move by the administration," Waguespack said. "We need to stop this plan, abandon it today, and not move forward on behalf of taxpayers."