Rauner Offers $200 Million of Pension Help to CPS – With Strings Attached

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Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner on Monday offered $200 million per year in aid to help cover the pension costs of Chicago Public Schools – but the money comes with strings attached.

If the school system takes the money, they have to implement Rauner’s school reform plan, which has big implications for union negotiations.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday repackaged a set of reforms he’s pushed since he took office in January, linking them — and an offer of help — to the financial crisis facing Chicago Public Schools.

[…]

As part of the offering, Rauner said Illinois could immediately give $200 million in state aid to offset Chicago Public Schools’ pension costs but only as part of a comprehensive school reform package that includes allowing the city and local towns to opt out of collective-bargaining requirements.

The proposal also would relieve districts of state mandates that schools have to pay for on their own. The governor’s office says these mandates represent major costs and proposes allowing school districts to use third-party contracting for transportation, food service and janitorial work.

“We’re willing right now to bring pension parity for the Chicago Public School system,” Rauner said at a news conference at the Thompson Center. Rauner put that support at $200 million a year.

Of course, before CPS accepts or denies the deal, the state legislature has to do the same. Top Democrats have come out against the proposal.

 

Photo by Tricia Scully via Flickr CC License

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