Illinois Budget Crisis Threatens to Slash $480 Million from Chicago Schools Mid-Year

Chicago teachers are voting this week to authorize a strike, though it wouldn’t occur any time prior to March 2016. Catalyst Chicago quotes Karen Lewis, President of the Chicago Teachers Union, explaining, “We don’t want a strike; we’d like to have a settled contract.” But the contract negotiations have dragged on and on and have […]

Illinois Senate Overrides Rauner’s School Funding Veto; Will House Save New Equity Plan?

School finance in somebody else’s state seems like the ultimately irrelevant, boring, and “in-the-weeds” kind of topic. Except that what is happening in Illinois ought to interest us all because it is a microcosm of today’s ideologically driven, rancorous and dangerously divisive state politics. In Illinois, discord between the General Assembly—both houses dominated by Democrats—and the […]

Tuition Tax Credit Vouchers Added by Rauner as Bargaining Chip in Illinois School Funding Debate

It shouldn’t be particularly surprising that a proposal to add tuition tax credit school vouchers for children living in families with annual income up to $113,775 has been thrown as a bargaining chip into the Illinois school funding impasse being negotiated in a special session in Springfield. After all, Governor Bruce Rauner has hired a […]

Why We Should All Care About the Illinois School Funding Mess—No Matter Where We Live

I confess to breathing a sigh of relief when some other state has a school funding crisis. At least it’s not Ohio (my state) this time!  I have to force myself to remember that political trends at the state level matter. Really, if you think about it, it isn’t important that Betsy DeVos is unlikely […]

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner Leads Ideological Fight Against School Funding Fairness

In an ugly special legislative session in early July, Illinois finally enacted a budget when the Legislature overrode Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto. It is the first budget the state has had since Rauner was elected governor over two years ago. But the wrangling between Republican Governor Rauner and the Democratically dominated Illinois Legislature continues.  On […]

Pending Train Wreck: Trump’s Budget and Healthcare Cuts on Top of Widespread State Fiscal Crises

What’s been happening in our statehouses over the past few weeks may help us picture the train wreck that looms if President Trump’s proposed budget, and/or the repeal-and-replace or total repeal of the Affordable Care Act should be enacted by Congress. We were warned several weeks ago in a report from the Center on Budget […]

Pending Teachers’ Strike in Chicago Reflects Long and Convoluted Funding Crisis

The Chicago Teachers Union has voted to strike next Tuesday, October 11. The union has not had a contract for over a year, and in threatening to strike, teachers are not only expressing dissatisfaction with the contract offered by Chicago Public Schools but also with years of state funding cuts and financial mismanagement that culminated […]

Politicians Shift Blame to Chicago Teachers for a School Funding and Pension Crisis

It is really, really hard to parse out the problems in the Chicago Public Schools less than a month from the beginning of the school year. What is clear is that all the years of financial shenanigans in the school district’s management including long-running borrowing from the teachers’ pension fund to pay for the district’s […]

From Chicago: An Inside Look at the Illinois Budget Catastrophe

If you read this blog yesterday, you know there is a day-long strike today in Chicago, an action organized by the Chicago Teachers Union to protest the draconian budgetary policies of Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner along with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s school policies.  In Illinois, the governor and legislature are still fighting about last year’s state […]

Philadelphia: Ideologues Press On to Expand Charters Despite Deepening PA Budget Crisis

The state of Pennsylvania is now more than 100 days beyond its June 30 budget deadline.  Last week the Republican dominated Pennsylvania House of Representatives rejected tax increases proposed by the state’s new Democratic governor, Tom Wolf.  The Philadelphia Inquirer reported, “In a major blow to Gov. Wolf’s agenda, the state House on Wednesday soundly […]