Documents on ed funding published by governor's political allies (VIDEO)

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A website with ties to Bruce Rauner produced an article with claims that the education reform proposal passed by Senate Democrats this week slashes funding for some schools and “bails out” others. In presenting the  report on Thursday night, the publication indicated data accompanying the article was up-to-date, exclusive material provided by Governor Rauner’s administration.

After the report was posted online, Senator Andy Manar, the architect of the school funding reform package, was alerted by education advocates to the misleading material.

This morning, Senate Democrats gathered to demand answers about what appeared to be an intentional and unethical leak by the governor’s office. By afternoon, the governor’s office publicly acknowledged the figures were inaccurate and outdated but stopped short of denouncing them.

Senator Andy Manar issued a warning to Illinois school superintendents that fake numbers were being peddled around the state in an effort to confuse and mislead people about Senate Bill 1.

“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.” (read the rest of Manar’s statement)

Senator Toi Hutchinson of Kankakee joined five of her colleagues in signing a letter to the Executive Inspector General today calling for an investigation into how state documents regarding school funding reform made their way to a political group associated with the governor.

“I will meet anyone on the merits. But don’t lie,” Hutchinson said. “The information that was published is not even based on the bill that was voted on. In a time of great angst and division in our state, this does nothing to advance the kind of solutions our communities are begging for us to deliver.” (more from Hutchinson)

“This is a clear violation of state law,” Tinley Park Senator Michael Hastings said. “Entities that receive state dollars cannot use the Illinois taxpayers’ dollars to campaign. We need to find who is responsible for attempting to sabotage negotiations to move our state forward and give our children a better future.” (Hastings urges investigation)

The Rauner administration has been vocal in its opposition to Manar’s legislation, claiming it “bails out” Chicago Public Schools.

“I’m tired of hearing the term ‘bailing out CPS,’” Senator Iris Y. Martinez said. “Let me remind Governor Rauner and Beth Purvis that the Chicago Public School District is the third-largest school district in the nation. Shame on the administration that cannot look at this picture for all children across the state and see that every child deserves the same education.” (Martinez statement continued)

Read the letter to the Executive Inspector General here.