Rauner talks education funding

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CHAMPAIGN — Governor Bruce Rauner was in town to say, even though there is a budget crisis, schools are still getting money.

Not everyone was happy to see Rauner in Champaign.

Some we spoke to say even though they’re glad K-12 will be funded this year, there’s long-term issues Rauner is not addressing.

“Education has got to be the most important place where we put our hard-earned taxpayer money,” said Governor Rauner.
 
He spread that message quite a few times, because he admits, the message has fallen flat before.
 
“Illinois has been the worst state in America for decades when it comes to state-level support for local schools. We give a smaller percentage of state school budgets from the state of any other state,” said Rauner.
 
But now, he says that’s turning around.
 
“We’re at a higher dollar amount coming from the state to K-12 schools than we’ve ever had in Illinois history. But we need to do more,” said Rauner.
 
Jen white with the Champaign Federation of Teachers agrees, and she says she knows what more needs to be done.
 
“If he was passionate about our students in our communities, we wouldn’t be going on two years without a budget,” said White.
 
White is glad Rauner feels strongly about education.
 
Rauner tried to show that, as he went from class to class at Franklin Middle School learning about its unique programs, like the use of chrome books and online college readiness programs.
 
But White says the governor needs to step outside the classroom too.
 
“The community is bigger than that. We always have to be, as our superintendent Angela Smith calls us, guardians of equity, and so we have to be thinking more globally about what our students are experiencing inside and outside of our schools,” said White.
 
Outside of Franklin Middle is where we found Jim Barrett picketing.
 
“Education is at risk. It’s great the governor showed up today to talk to the kids, but the schools are actually suffering quite a bit because of the budget crisis,” said Barrett, which is a subject Rauner didn’t address.
 
“That’s a big issue and it impacts our teachers,” said White.
 
Now White and Barrett hope Governor Rauner will not only get that going, but put the words “we need equal opportunity for every student and every teacher,” to action.
 
This visit was a part of a tour program Rauner is doing for schools all over the state, to make school leaders aware that he’s rallying for complete and consistent school funding.
 
Rauner also gave his thoughts on Trump’s pick for Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos.
 
He approved of her, saying “I know Betsy DeVos. I have great respect for her. She’s very talented. She’s a passionate believer in high quality education for every student.”
 
 
 

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