CHICAGO—The Chicago Teachers Union issued the following statement today amidst reports that Senate Bill 1 has been scrapped in favor of a bipartisan funding agreement involving school vouchers.
“Senate Bill 1 was designed to fix the inequitable school funding formula for the state of Illinois and remedy the state’s position as last in the nation for education. This current deal is a naked attempt by billionaire right-wing ideologue Gov. Bruce Rauner to push through a reverse Robin Hood scheme that siphons money from poor school districts and lets the wealthy avoid paying their fair share in taxes.
“The Chicago Teachers Union, along with a broad-based group of education organizations throughout the state, rejects this latest scheme and calls on legislators to vote this idea down.
“Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s shameful, tacit support of school vouchers continues to prove that he should have never been given the privilege of heading our school district. Under his leadership, our school communities are under the pressure of payday loans that take the form of $1.5 million per day in interest payments to Wall Street banks—money that could better be used for trauma counselors, pre-kindergarten teachers and school support personnel.
“The mayor has doubled down on predatory borrowing in terms of scoop and toss, toxic swaps, capital accumulation bonds and tax anticipation notes—all of which has given Wall Street more school cash at the expense of our most vulnerable school-aged children. He has failed to secure revenue at both the city and state levels, and is now supporting a plan that will give money to private schools that could be directed to our public school classrooms.
“Said CTU President Karen Lewis earlier this week: ‘Vouchers are a double whammy aimed at the heart of public education, and to be frank, amount to stealing from the same Black and Brown children to whom he claims to be providing sanctuary and equity.’”