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Local News

Joliet state lawmaker criticizes Rauner over education funding

Pat McGuire, D-Joliet
Pat McGuire, D-Joliet

JOLIET – A state lawmaker is strongly opposed to what he calls Gov. Bruce Rauner’s plan for education cuts. 

In a news release, state Sen. Pat McGuire, D-Joliet, said Rauner plans to stop funding for Advanced Placement, teacher certification and parent mentoring for students in K-12 schools. 

“Again this year, the governor’s proposed budget cuts funding to zero for effective programs. For example, Joliet Township High School District 204 recently won a national award for giving more students the opportunity to earn college credit in high school through AP courses,” McGuire said. 

Yet Rauner wants to “eliminate state funding for AP teacher training and AP test discounts for needy students,” McGuire said. 

In response, Beth Purvis, state education secretary, said Rauner has “delivered unprecedented funding for K-12 schools, more than $700 million from when he came into office.”

“Instead of pointing fingers, it would be helpful if [McGuire] would work with the governor and lawmakers to pass a balanced budget that provides even more support for education,” Purvis said. 

Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly did not directly respond to questions about funding specifics for the areas where McGuire expressed concern.

McGuire said in the news release that the Illinois State Board of Education “favors funding the very programs the governor wants to eliminate.” ISBE officials said the programs “build a stronger state,” according to the news release.

“Parents, students and teachers again this year need to speak up for the best opportunities available for students and the best training available for teachers,” McGuire said.

In his budget address this year, Rauner said his office proposes a “record level of funding for our schools.”

“We supported our K-12 schools at an unprecedented level in the last school year, and then we came back and did even more for this school year. Let’s begin to implement the recommendations of the school funding reform commission to make sure every child gets a shot at the American dream, no matter where they live,” he said.

A school funding reform commission released a report this year on school funding disparities. 

The commission said in its report that there was a consensus among its members that the state’s past method of prorating – or reducing full payment of – state funding to schools was detrimental to poor districts, as they are more reliant on state resources.

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