Barickman says Dems holding school funding to give Chicago special treatment
Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Champaign) says if there is some issue keeping the state's school funding bill stuck in the Legislature, it's one the Democrats have manufactured.
“They’re creating this unnecessary crisis, this theater around whether or not schools are going to open this fall," Barickman told Dan Proft and Amy Jacobson of "Chicago’s Morning Answer" radio show.
Proft is a principal of Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication.
The measure, Senate Bill 1, passed the General Assembly in May, but Barickman contends that Democrats have not sent it to Gov. Bruce Rauner because they know he wants to use an amendatory veto to remove wording that provides additional funds to Chicago Public Schools (CPS).
“They inserted these poison pills that pick up Chicago pensions and fix some of those Chicago issues,” Barickman said. “Suburban Democrats and downstate Democrats do not want to have to vote on a school funding bill that doesn’t include the special provisions for Chicago."
Barickman and other Republicans have an alternative plan that differs from SB1 in how the Chicago pension system is treated and how schools spend state funding.
“Chicago’s normal pension costs, Chicago’s health care costs and even Chicago’s unfunded pension liabilities are included in their (the Democrats) formula,” Barickman said.
Barickman said Republicans would enforce transparency measures so that taxpayers can see how their money is being spent.
“We give voters tools so they can very easily, through referendum, lower their property taxes if they think they’re in a district that is spending more money than they should,” Barickman said.
Barickman also takes issue with the “hold harmless” provision in SB 1, which says that no school district will receive less funding than in the previous school year, because it doesn’t take into account the loss of enrollment at schools across the state, particularly CPS.
“It’s a horrible policy, and it’s totally driven by politics, and it actually disregards what the school districts have said,” Barickman said.
According to Barickman, school districts want the “hold harmless” provision to be done on a per-pupil basis.
“The Democrats in their proposal totally disregard what the schools have said and totally disregard the good policy that (comes with it)," he said. "The Democratic proposal is designed to address the losses of Chicago."
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