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Sen. Holmes reacts to retired teachers’ press conference

Sen. Linda HolmesSPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Linda Holmes, D- Aurora, released the following statement after a press conference organized by retired teachers speaking out against cuts to the Teachers’ Retirement Insurance Program (TRIP) included in the House Republicans’ budget plan:

“The problem with the House GOP’s budget plan is that it takes a prior agreement that teachers have paid for and relied upon throughout their entire working lives and throws it out the window. The Capitol Compromise would cut funding for TRIP by more than 30 percent, forcing retirees on a fixed income who do not receive social security to suddenly pay more for healthcare. The House should hold up the state’s end of the deal by advancing the Senate’s plan, which maintains full funding for TRIP.”

Manar: Don’t balance the budget on backs of retired teachers

manar 062717SPRINGFIELD – There are better ways to balance the state budget than on the backs of elderly retired teachers who rely on meager pensions to survive, Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) said today.

“The Republican proposal would cost retired teachers in Illinois thousands of dollars by driving up out-of-pocket health care premiums,” Manar said. “I will continue to oppose any proposals by Republican lawmakers and Gov. Rauner that rely on raiding the pensions and health care funds for retired teachers to balance the state budget.”

Manar’s remarks were made in response to concerns raised today by the Illinois Retired Teachers Association regarding Republican budget plans that rely on underfunding state pension plans and reducing appropriations for retiree health care in order to claim they are “balanced” proposals.

A budget introduced by Republicans earlier this year cut the Illinois Teachers’ Retirement Insurance Program (TRIP) by more than 30 percent ($23 million), and the latest Republican budget nearly doubles the original GOP cuts to TRIP, slashing subsidies by $40 million, with plans to phase out health care assistance for retired teachers.

The Senate’s balanced budget, which passed on May 23, does not rely on massive cuts to retired teachers to close the $5 billion gap in Gov. Rauner’s budget. Manar said the state should keep its promises to retired teachers.

“Let’s start looking to the billionaires and corporations that can afford to kick in more, rather than the elderly retired kindergarten teachers who live in subsidized housing and ration their monthly checks to the penny so they can afford to buy groceries and pay the light bill,” Manar said.

Cullerton: look forward to seeing GOP's mid-June budget plans

jjc 053117trustAfter today’s Republican press conference on their mid-June budget proposal, the following statement was released from John Patterson, spokesman for Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton:

“It’s going to require bipartisan compromise to get to a balanced budget signed into law and get Illinois out of this situation. That’s the reality now that the May 31 deadline passed. We hope this is a serious, real step toward that compromise by House and Senate Republicans. But a Republicans-only, mid-June news conference doesn’t exactly scream bipartisan compromise.

Area schools poised to gain more than $17M under Senate education plan

link 022817 314SPRINGFIELD- The latest school funding reform numbers show that a fake news group linked to Gov. Bruce Rauner was indeed pedaling misinformation regarding public school funding in Illinois in the weeks leading up to approval of a historic education finance overhaul.

An analysis only recently made public by Rauner’s education agency shows that no school districts in Illinois would lose money under the plan lawmakers recently approved. In fact, schools in the 30th District are estimated to gain $17,109,571 in state funding under the Senate’s plan. Some examples include:

  • Waukegan Community Unit School District 60 — $14.60 million
  • Hawthorn CC School District 73 — $125,388

Supporters had said holding the line on funding was key to getting support for the overhaul that does away with the current, antiquated funding system and instead targets new state dollars to schools facing the toughest economic and educational challenges.

“A solid education could be the launching pad that allows  a child to achieve their dream,” State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) said.

The new plan seeks to maintain funding for schools that are doing well while bringing up those that are struggling. It’s a reform more than two decades in the works and one that still faces major political obstacles.

Gov. Rauner was already threatening to veto the historic education overhaul even before lawmakers had given it final approval. As a result, the Senate is delaying sending the paperwork to the governor’s desk in hope cooler heads will prevail and the governor will recognize he’s getting a win on a key policy he’s wanted.

Rauner promised to change the school funding system and put his hand-picked education secretary in charge of an elite taskforce. But that taskforce failed to deliver an actual plan. Lawmakers stepped in to finish the job of not just drafting the plan, but then approving it.

In the midst of this work, a fake news network began spreading erroneous numbers, saying schools across the state were going to lose money. These numbers appeared on fake news sites such as the Lake County Gazette. 

It was later revealed that the so-called latest numbers were actually pulled out of a different plan from more than a year ago. For whatever reason, Rauner and his education secretary did nothing to warn public school administrators and the taxpaying public of the misinformation or to set the record straight on public school funding.

Local school gains under SB 1. The approximate overall gain that some area school districts would experience under SB1 based on proposed funding levels:

  • Adlai E Stevenson District 125- $5,029
  • Aptakisic-Tripp CC School District 102- $2,658
  • Gurnee School District 56- $64,492
  • Hawthorn CC School District- $125,388
  • Kildeer Countryside CC School District 96- $3,661
  • Libertyville Community High School District 128- $4,214
  • Lincolnshire-Prairieview School District 103- $1,902
  • Mundelein Consolidated High School District 120- $57,826
  • Mundelein Elementary School District 75- $110,781
  • North Chicago School District 187- $2,141,524
  • Waukegan Community School District 60- $14,591,879

To review the Funding Illinois’ Future analysis, visit fundingilfuture.org.