Manar05242017With two days left in the legislative session and no signal from Gov. Bruce Rauner that he intends to sign a school funding reform plan this spring, Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) called attention to school districts he represents that are forced to compete under an unfair system Monday, May 29.

“Take a school district like Taylorville that in recent years has laid off 40 percent of its teachers and staff because the state has failed to get this right in Springfield,” said Manar, the sponsor of Senate Bill 1, a school funding reform measure that passed in the Senate and is pending in the House.

“For too many years we’ve poured good money into a bad system, and the system prevents Taylorville from getting what it needs to offer basic services to kids.

“And take a district like Morrisonville where they’re using 20-year-old textbooks but they’re held to the same standards as everybody else in the state. Those kids are required to take the same standardized tests and perform as well.”

Manar said the Senate Democrats’ school funding model, coupled with the balanced budget proposal the caucus advanced last week, represent the best chance struggling downstate schools have for regaining the sound financial footing many of them lost during Gov. Rauner’s budget stalemate with the legislature. Senate Bill 1 would enable the state to establish a formula that fairly and adequately funds schools for the first time in more than 20 years.

“The Senate Democrats’ budget prioritizes that funding for those students who aren’t just in the city of Chicago, but are all across Illinois,” Manar said. “Those are the things that we have put forward and have led on, that will result in lower class sizes, more technology in the classroom and more services to children who live in poverty. All of these things will produce better outcomes from public schools, regardless of where they are in the state.”

Category: School Funding Reform

Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) explains the challenges of advancing a school funding reform plan to Gov. Bruce Rauner's desk.

"The governor has traveled the state in recent weeks and has patted himself on the back for what he calls 'a record level of funding,'" Manar said in this May 19 interview at the Capitol. "What the goernor doesn't, of course, say is that along with that has come a record level of inequity because he has been standing in the way of reform.

"Just today, the governor issues a statement decrying the bill that was just passed — a bill that his own school funding commission recommended. The governor's own budget proposal that was filed 14 days after his school funding commission put out detailed recommendations did the opposite of what his own commission recommended.

"So it's pretty clear to me the governor is standing in the way of us getting this done once and for all. But nonetheless, we need his signature on a bill to make it the law of the land."

Watch for more about how Democrats are leading on the issue of school funding reform in Illinois.

Category: School Funding Reform

ManarPresser05192017State Senator Andy Manar is urging Illinois school superintendents to be aware that misleading figures are being peddled about Senate Bill 1, the school funding plan that passed in the Illinois Senate this week.

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office this afternoon acknowledged the figures are inaccurate and outdated but stopped short of denouncing them.

“This appears to be a textbook example of fake news. I am disturbed as to how and why this information was put out there and framed as official information from the Rauner administration, clearly with the intent of confusing and misleading people about Senate Bill 1,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat.

“Senate Democrats have asked the executive inspector general to look into that, but right now I want to make sure school superintendents are aware that outdated information is fraudulently being passed off as up-to-date news about Senate Bill 1.

“Furthermore, I hope Gov. Rauner and Education Secretary Beth Purvis will follow our lead and alert school officials about this misleading information to set the record straight. Anything less makes them complicit in a concerted effort to jeopardize Illinois’ shot at achieving meaningful school funding reform.”

Category: School Funding Reform

Manar05172017Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), a widely respected advocate for fair school funding in Illinois, issued the following statement regarding criticism leveled by the Rauner administration today immediately following the Senate’s passage of Senate Bill 1, a school funding reform measure sponsored by Manar:

“The Rauner administration and Republicans want to behave like this is a vexing new problem that Illinois has never tried to tackle before. The truth is this is a more than 20-year-old problem that we have studied to death, repeatedly debated and willfully ignored.

“In Gov. Rauner’s perfect world, Illinois’ aging public schools would feature teachers that are paid less, support services that are outsourced and very little accountability to the communities they serve.

“That’s not the world we live in. We owe it to our students of today and our students of tomorrow to deal with Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation school funding formula now. Educators, parents, taxpayers, students and advocates are clamoring for change, and we would be remiss to not get this done before May 31. Gov. Rauner knows this, and so does his education secretary, Beth Purvis.

“Here’s the bottom line: The only opposition that exists to Senate Bill 1 is from Bruce Rauner and his enablers, who for some reason refuse to show independence from the governor when it comes time to do the right thing.

“Gov. Rauner and his team can put out all the statements they want claiming I abandoned the bipartisan process. I can sleep at night knowing I’ve never abandoned Illinois students or leveraged the state’s future for a political agenda.”

Category: School Funding Reform

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