Rauner, Emanuel Both Praise Deal To Fund Illinois Schools

CHICAGO (CBS) — While it is not a done deal quite yet, both Gov. Rauner and Mayor Emanuel are optimistic about a tentative agreement to fund Illinois schools.

The measure includes a ground-breaking provision to subsidize tuition for private school students, CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports.

Speaking to businessmen in downstate Marion, Rauner sounded upbeat about the school funding deal.

“I think we’re on the verge of what’s largely good education funding reform,” the governor said, adding that he thinks the bill is still too favorable for Chicago schools at the expense of downstate districts.

Mayor Emanuel called it a new frontier in fairness.

“The state of Illinois will step up and treat the teachers, taxpayers and students in Chicago just like they do in the rest of the state,” the mayor said.

The key to attracting Republican votes is a plan to subsidize tuition for parochial and private school students.

Elizabeth Pennix has three children in Catholic schools.

“It would be a huge financial relief to get that sort of tax break or refund or whatever it would shake out to be,” she said.

Under the plan, taxpayers would receive a tax credit of 75 cents on the dollar for private tuition.

For example, a $10,000 tuition bill would produce a $7,500 tax break.

For a parent earning $100,000, that would reduce their tax bill by about $375.

Cardinal Blase Cupich lobbied hard behind the scenes for the benefit.

In a cautious statement today, the archdiocese said: “We commend our elected officials for working together for the good of all Illinois children, and we await the outcome of the legislative process.”

Emanuel said progress at CPS means he fears no competition.

“Competition is not something we have to be scared of,” he said.

Not all Democrats are pleased, including State Sen. Daniel Biss and Ald. Ameya Pewar, both candidates for governor.

They oppose the private tuition plan, saying it diverts public money to private schools.

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