Set example and put students first

 
Updated 7/17/2017 10:21 AM

Thank you, Daily Herald writer Kerry Lester, for your July 12 piece, "Schools still waiting to see if they'll get money from the state."

We are all waiting on Gov. Bruce Rauner to get behind bipartisan school funding legislation. With a near-miss catastrophe barely in the rearview mirror, an emerging -- and completely avoidable -- crisis threatening two million Illinois schoolchildren is just ahead. Following a troubling pattern, critical state funding is being held up in pursuit of a political agenda that has nothing to do with your neighborhood school.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Senate Bill 1 provides additional funding for the state's neediest elementary, middle and high schools. It locks in current funding levels to ensure no school district loses state dollars moving forward and sets the groundwork to address growing teacher pension obligations. Under SB1, Elgin School District U-46 stands to gain $14 million in additional funding. Elementary school districts 15 and 54 will both receive more than $350,000 each in additional funding.

It's a solid piece of bipartisan legislation. Even the governor's education chief said it provides "90 percent" of what the governor wanted in a schools plan. Apparently, that's not good enough for Gov. Rauner, who is dead set on applying his hyperpartisan approach to our neighborhood schools and has pledged to veto the bill.

We're seeing a strategy that led to a lasting and destructive impasse repeated. Swapping a statewide fiscal crisis for a K-12 one is unconscionable and no spin from the self-proclaimed "Education Governor" will satisfy parents if their students are at home in October.

It's time to set an example by putting students first.

It's been a while since I graduated, but I think 90 percent is still an A-. That isn't too shabby. As others have said, 'Take the win, Governor.' Sign SB1.

Susana A. Mendoza

Illinois comptroller

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