Editorial: A Once-in-a Generation Opportunity for Rauner, Madigan and Cullerton

Chicago Sun-Times – August 6, 2015: For the first time ever, Springfield has a real opportunity to make progress on two fundamental and seemingly unsolvable education-related funding problems in Illinois: Fixing a broken state school funding formula that strains property taxpayers’ wallets and hurts the state’s neediest students, and giving Chicago the same pension funding support that every other Illinois school district long has enjoyed.

This is the promise embedded in a bill passed by the Illinois Senate on Tuesday, a promise we hope House Speaker Mike Madigan and Gov. Bruce Rauner, despite deep philosophical differences on other issues, can find a way to get behind it.

The beauty of this bill is twofold: First, all three state leaders agree on most of its three core elements. Rauner and Cullerton generally support what’s in the bill, and on one of the most controversial elements — more pension funding for the Chicago Public Schools — Madigan has signaled a new openness. As the state’s budget stalemate grinds on, such opportunities are exceedingly rare. As Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool, speaking about the provision for equitable pension funding for Chicago, said in a statement Thursday, “For the first time, the governor, senate president, house speaker, and others agree that when it comes to funding our schools, there is an inequity in the system that needs to be changed.”

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