Batinick labels Senate education funding bill a Chicago-biased scam
The "hold harmless" clause in the Senate's school funding measure is a sneaky way for legislators to shift more money into the Chicago Public School (CPS) system, Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) told Dan Proft and Amy Jacobson, hosts of "Chicago’s Morning Answer" radio show, recently.
“This is really a scam on top of a scam on top of a scam,” Batinick said.
Proft is a principal of Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication.
SB1 has passed the General Assembly but has not been sent to Gov. Bruce Rauner, who has vowed to veto it because he also believes it unfairly favors CPS. If a compromise is not reached soon, schools throughout the state face the possibility of not opening on time. On Monday, Rauner called legislators back to the Capitol to do more work on the measure, starting on Wednesday.
The "hold harmless” provision in SB 1 is ostensibly meant to ensure that no school will receive less state aid this year than it did last year, but Batinick argued that biased property value reporting has set up Chicago to get a much bigger share than it should.
“Chicago has more property wealth that it should be putting towards its schools, especially versus what we do in the suburbs, but somehow with one of those last-minute amendments, [CPS] went from a tier 2 to a tier 1. So, they somehow changed the formula to make it a needy school district, so it’s literally a multilayered scam."
SB1 separates school funding into four tiers, with the poorest being identified as tier 1. Those schools would receive 40 percent of new state funding, according to NBC Chicago. This is what is known as evidence-based model of funding, which allocates money to school districts based on how much they need to provide a quality education.
“Republicans that voted for the budget didn’t know that they were voting for a budget that was tied to the evidence-based model formula,” Batinick said.
According to the Illinois Policy Institute, the bill would give CPS a $215 million pension bailout and keep elements of a special block grant that gives the system $250 million more from the state.
Rauner wants to use an amendatory veto to remove additional funding that would be allocated to CPS pensions.
“What I believe the Democrats are doing is holding onto the bill to try and force a crisis and force Rauner to take the blame for not opening schools,” Batinick said.