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Governor Rauner to give keynote on “economics of education” after slashing crucial programs, threatening 32% cut to higher education

4/20/2015
CHICAGO – After slashing funding for afterschool programs and threatening draconian cuts to higher education while giving $100 million in corporate tax breaks, today Governor Bruce Rauner will deliver a keynote address at a national media conference about the economics of education. Governor Rauner will address the Education Writers Association’s National Seminar (“Cost and Benefits: the Economics of Education”) at 1:00pm today (Monday) at the InterContinental Chicago. 

“Governor Rauner ought to take notes, not give a lecture on the right way to fund education,” said IFT President Dan Montgomery. “You can’t invest in the future of Illinois by cutting successful programs that allow our young people to excel and gutting resources for higher education. The Governor didn’t mention these radical changes as a candidate, and many predicted that it would be impossible​ for him to keep his promise of increasing education funding while shrinking the revenue stream." 

While many Illinoisans were observing Passover or Good Friday on April 3, Governor Rauner made $26 million in programmatic cuts to the critical social services our most vulnerable families depend on. His defunding of one program in particular, Teen REACH, will negatively impact 15,000 students across the state. The Governor takes credit as an education reformer, but he flippantly cut this program, which boasts that its enrollees graduate high school at a rate of 98% versus the statewide average of 82%. 

On World Autism Day, Governor Rauner cut funding for autism programs in the state, pushing more of the costs onto public schools to address the needs of students with autism. 

In his FY16 budget plan, Governor Rauner has proposed funding cuts for Advanced Placement programs; agricultural, art, and foreign language education; the Golden Apple Scholars program; and other essential programs. He has also suggested an across-the-board 32% cut from every public university in Illinois.

“Meanwhile, the Governor could be taking direction from the 65% of voters who support a millionaire’s tax to generate $1 billion for our schools, but instead he is handing out corporate tax breaks and balancing the budget on the backs of working families,” Montgomery added. "It really draws his priorities into question."

Rauner’s education platform also includes a hodgepodge of failed education experiments like expanding charter schools while starving public schools, eliminating due process rights for teachers, and merit pay.
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