• Sen. Robert PetersSPRINGFIELD – School districts will be required to operate with more transparency about their teacher employment data under a measure sponsored by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) that became law Friday.

    “Public school class sizes have been growing larger and larger over the last several years, which makes it harder for educators to provide the quality education,” Peters said. “Communities of color are hit particularly hard by this. These students are already at a systemic disadvantage, and they deserve to have the opportunity to learn the skills they need to succeed.”

  • SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) issued the following statement in response to Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool’s resignation:

    “With today’s departure of Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool, I am calling on Janice Jackson and Frank Clark to keep our schools open and put the resources in place to educate and support our children.” 

    Janice Jackson currently serves as Chief Education Officer for Chicago Public Schools. Frank Clark currently serves as President of the Chicago Board of Education.

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    A Cook County judge rejected a Chicago Public Schools injunction request in its state education funding lawsuit today. The school district needs an additional $215 million for pensions to avoid an early shutdown on June 1. CPS does not have the funds necessary to finish the school year and make their required pension payment. Senate Democrats reacted to the ruling with the following statements:

    “The General Assembly has a responsibility to make sure the academic progress of Chicago’s children is not disrupted due to our governor’s unwillingness to help them. His rhetoric has done nothing but alienate these children, and their education is not a political pawn.” – Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood)

    “I want to be very clear in explaining what this lawsuit is really about. CPS educates almost 20% of all students statewide, yet receives 15% of state funding. That means that for every dollar the state spends on educating students outside the city limits, a CPS student only gets 74 cents. This lawsuit is about equality.

    “90% of students in CPS are students of color. If we truly believe that education is a solution to inequality, it is time to start acting like it.

    “With a Cook County judge ruling against CPS and in favor of Illinois’ discriminatory, worst-in-the-nation school funding formula, Governor Rauner’s political divisiveness and disregard for our communities has full approval to continue. It is time to reform the school funding formula before Governor Rauner forces a CPS shutdown and anywhere from 2 to 2.5 million students are unable to go to school.” - Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago)

    “This ruling underscores the need in Chicago and the rest of Illinois for a fair public education funding system and a comprehensive state budget to back it up. That remains my top priority at the Capitol, and I would encourage everyone set aside politics and work toward compromise.”  - Senate President John J. Cullerton (D-Chicago)

    “Chicago students are at risk of having their education disrupted by the governor’s political agenda, and unfortunately this court ruling has failed to protect them. It is unacceptable that 2.5 million students labor under an unfair and unequal funding system. We owe it to them and to the future generations of Chicago to fund this system equitably.”  – Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago)

    “Illinois school districts are in a state of emergency, and I’ve seen little evidence that the governor understands the magnitude of their crisis.”

    “Somehow, lawsuits, social media campaigns and thunderous rallies outside the doors of his office aren’t getting the message across to him. News reports about districts nearly missing payroll, cutting programs and laying off teachers apparently aren’t setting off alarms, either, because he’s done very little to move the ball forward on school funding reform.

    “Superintendents and parents are sending a clear message to Springfield: their schools can’t survive much longer under the status quo. It’s up to Gov. Rauner to bring lawmakers together to get a balanced budget and to revamp the state’s school funding formula. Only then can we begin to ensure all students benefit from fair and adequate school funding in Illinois.” - Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill)

    “Governor Rauner has made it clear that Chicago’s children are just pawns in his political game, but I am hopeful that enough members of the General Assembly will come together to provide Chicago Public Schools with the same level of funding that every other school district receives. It’s time to put politics aside and put our children and their education first.” - State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago)

    “Children throughout Chicago now face a possibility that their education may be irreparably harmed due to the financial situation CPS faces. The last thing we should be doing is playing politics with any child’s education. Instead, the General Assembly needs to move forward on a funding formula that properly supports all children’s education, including those in Chicago.” - Senator Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago)

    State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) responded to Rauner Education Secretary Beth Purvis calling the fair funding lawsuit a “distraction.”

    “Our children are not a distraction. I resent the implication that low income children in my district are a distraction. The children of Chicago are facing the real possibility of having their academic progress disrupted.”

    “Governor Rauner continues to play political games and refuses to acknowledge the seriousness of the situation. Time after time, he has turned his back on Chicago’s students.

    “It is absolutely unfair and unacceptable for children in some parts of our state to receive better education than others and for the governor and the state to sit by and do nothing.”

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    SPRINGFIELD — Months after Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a measure that would have secured funding for Chicago Public Schools, Illinois Senate Democrats rejected his attempt to promise $215 million to the school system without any funding source to provide it.

    “This measure would have made yet another promise to Chicago students without taking the necessary steps to ever follow through on it,” said Sen. Jacqueline Collins, D-Chicago. “We already approved a measure last year – which the governor saw fit to veto – that would have addressed this very problem in a responsible way, with the necessary funding. As it is, this is another broken promise in the making.”

  • aquino 032817SPRINGFIELD – A Senate Republican plan touted as financial assistance to Chicago schools is not a solution, but rather a ploy to cover for Gov. Rauner’s recent PR gaffes and reckless veto of a plan that would’ve solved the problem last year, said Democratic State Sen. Omar Aquino of Chicago.

    “The Republicans’ plan to give CPS over $215 million without saying where that money will come from sounds like an empty promise to me,” Aquino said. “It will add nearly a quarter-billion dollars to state’s $13 billion backlog of bills by promising CPS funding that may never come. The governor wants to appear to support Chicago Public Schools because people are now confronting him over how poorly he has treated the schools, students and teachers. Perhaps the governor should think twice before grabbing his veto pen and before tweeting at a proud CPS alum like Chance the Rapper.”

  • martinez 010817SPRINGFIELD — Senate Republicans are offering an empty promise to Chicago schools in an attempt to cover up for Gov. Bruce Rauner’s ill-advised veto of a plan that would have solved a problem for the financially stressed school district, said Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago).

    “All this does is sink the state $215 million further in debt by promising CPS that there’s a check in the mail that we know may never come,” Martinez said. “At best, this is a thinly veiled attempt to solve the governor’s public relations problems with CPS, but the reality is that it won’t get a dollar in the classroom anytime soon, and certainly not in time to help. CPS students, teachers and administrators deserve better than this.”

    Legislation sponsored by State Sen. Michael Connelly (R-Naperville), Senate Bill 2172, commits the state to provide $215.2 million to Chicago Public Schools. However, it isn’t tied to any funding.

    “What we’ve got here is legislation that would blow a $215.2 million hole in Rauner’s already unbalanced budget for this year,” Martinez said. “This comes at a time when the state is already $13 billion behind in paying its bills.”

    Senate Bill 2172 could be heard in tomorrow’s Senate Executive Committee.

  • collins 022817SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Jacqueline Collins, D-Chicago, issued the following statement today as the Illinois Senate passed several key parts of the grand bargain legislative package aimed at ending the state’s two-year budget impasse.

    “While I am deeply disappointed that we have approved a gambling expansion, I am grateful that we saw strong bipartisan compromise on supporting Chicago Public Schools, giving voters the power to consolidate local government and taking steps to make sure we do right by taxpayers as we purchase goods and services in state government,” Collins said. “Today we have moved closer to a long-needed solution through compromise and statesmanship that has been sorely lacking in Springfield of late.”

  • aquino 120116SPRINGFIELD- State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) voted to override the governor’s veto of legislation that provides a more equitable state contribution to the Chicago Teachers’ Pension fund. Aquino released the following statement:

     “A pension is a promise and it is the state’s duty to ensure it is paid out to those who worked for it,” Aquino said. “However, there is an issue when funding becomes inequitable. Chicago taxpayers are paying for CPS teacher pensions as well as downstate teacher pensions, but residents living outside of Chicago don’t have to pay into Chicago teacher pensions. That’s not fair and that’s not how things should work. We need to make sure the system is protecting the taxpayers who pay into it.”

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  • martinez 041316SPRINGFIELD — Millions of dollars could be on the way to Chicago Public Schools under a plan Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) recently voted for.

    “Chicago students deserve the best education possible and that can only occur if CPS receives its fair share of state dollars,” Martinez said. “Education funding reform is the right thing to do so we can get needed dollars in the classroom for our students.”

    The education funding reform legislation Martinez voted for, Senate Bill 231, is designed to ensure that state funding for education is distributed based on student need.

    Under the plan, CPS would gain millions more in funding next year than what it receives this year. The measure is awaiting approval in the Illinois House.

    Martinez joined thousands of advocates at a rally in the Capitol today to push for passage of education funding reform.

    “Our message today was loud and clear: We can’t wait any longer to adopt a fair way to fund our schools,” said Martinez. “I am going to continuing fighting as hard as I can for the students I represent.”

  • raoul cps 051816SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) announced today that he is sponsoring a plan to bring the Chicago Public Schools into line with every other district in Illinois by making its school board a democratically elected body. He will hold hearings in Chicago to gather input from parents and other community members to ensure fair representation in the transition to elections, which will first be held in 2018 if the measure becomes law.

    “Chicago’s children deserve nothing less than full equality with the rest of the state – parity in funding and in democratic governance of their school district,” Raoul said. “It’s time to get this right, and I look forward to working with our parents and advocates to give CPS the government our schools so desperately need.”