Illinois public school superintendents are blasting Gov. Bruce Rauner over education funding in the state.
As reported by Politico, fifteen Illinois school chiefs, including Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool, sent a stern letter Monday to the governor on the issue.
"The formula is broken," the letter reads. "Yet despite collective agreement on this from across the state, including your own acknowledgement of that fact, you continue to push a proposal that puts more money into this worst-in-the-nation K-12 funding system in the same way.
"We are profoundly disappointed in the decision to play politics with the state education budget and pit school districts against each other in an unnecessary competition for insufficient resources," the letter continues. "We expect the Governor of the entire state to rise above political games to put all of our children's futures before politics. However, instead of suggesting reforms that reflect the economic diversity of Illinois, your proposal continues to put a greater burden on the districts supporting our most vulnerable students. In the face of the many recent proposals to improve our state's inequitable approach to education funding, you put forward one that maintains the failed status quo of Illinois' outdated funding formula."
Superintendents from Berwyn North School District 98, East Moline School District 37, Waukegan Public Schools and West Aurora School District 129 were among those who signed onto the letter, which can be found here.
Rauner, meanwhile, discussed the school funding issue Monday during a stop in Chicago.
He expressed concern that the ongoing budget stalemate could delay the opening of Illinois public schools this fall. Rauner also drew the ire of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel after calling some CPS schools "crumbling prisons."
"The simple fact is that when you look objectively at the state of Chicago Public Schools, many of them are inadequate," the governor said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. "Many of them are woeful, and some are just tragic. Many of them are basically almost crumbling prisons. They're not a place a young person should be educated."
Emanuel fired back at Rauner's comments.
"Last week, I said his rhetoric of division and divisiveness -- of targeting [and pitting] one group of people against another -- was Trump-like. Now, it sounds like he's auditioning to be Donald Trump's running mate," Emanuel stated, before touting the results of a new University of Chicago report showing gains in CPS graduation rates.
Rauner's comments also came under fire from Chicago Ald. Howard Brookins (21st), the council's education committee chairman. The alderman posted the following statement on social media:
Words matter, and the offensive way that Governor Rauner speaks about Chicago families is just getting uglier and uglier.
First, he accused Chicago families of not contributing taxes and not being hardworking. Today, he's taking his racist rhetoric even further - saying that Chicago's schools are 'crumbling prisons.'
Unlike our Governor, I visit Chicago schools all the time, and I can tell you that our students are hardworking, that they're making tremendous academic gains and without the progress Chicago students are making, the state's schools would be on the decline. If the Governor wanted to respect our students, teachers, and principals, he would start funding all our schools equitably instead of punishing poor students throughout the state of Illinois.
It's time for Governor Rauner to apologize for his inflammatory rhetoric that insults our children and degrades their achievements.