Statement from Cinda Klickna,
President, Illinois Education Association,
on Governor Rauner’s budget address 

 

Springfield, IL – February 18, 2015 – The budget outlined by the governor today would injure children in need, devastate higher education and saddle families with huge student loan debt. It is a proposal that would hurt middle class families in every part of Illinois.

While the governor’s preK-12 education plan calls for a spending increase, the increase appears to have been achieved by cutting significant programs for children and middle class families.

Illinois cannot offer “world-class schools educating all Illinois’ children” with a budget that cuts funding for arts, languages, advanced placement, parent mentoring for English language learners, agricultural education, special education and money to help the lowest performing schools. Under this proposal our students will not be able to compete with those in other states and countries for the best jobs.

Illinoisans with the least access to a quality education will continue to suffer under this proposal. It’s a disgrace that, in 2015, schools in rural Illinois lack basic technology including high-speed Internet access. Yet this proposal would cut broadband funding.

The governor also proposes cutting funding for insurance programs for those living on fixed incomes (TRIP and CCIP). That is unacceptable.

The governor’s plan to drastically cut pension benefits for active employees is obviously unconstitutional and does nothing to address the state’s pension debt. Cutting retirement benefits would only make it harder to attract and retain the people we need to teach our children.

The good news about today’s speech is that Governor Rauner cannot autocratically impose his dark vision for Illinois. We will share our ideas with the governor and we will work with the members of the Illinois General Assembly, both Republicans and Democrats, to develop a plan to move Illinois in the right direction.

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For additional information, contact Charlie McBarron at 217/321-2213.