LETTERS: Rauner’s objection to school funding bill ‘off-base’
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Again this week, columnist Mark Brown addressed the issue of equitable funding of education in Illinois. Brown has interviewed several superintendents from all around the state that support Senate Bill 1.
I urge Gov. Bruce Rauner to listen to Brown, the General Assembly and these school officials and sign SB 1. It would be a great start to reforming the funding of education in Illinois. Both parties worked together to create a formula that would help most school districts. Although the governor refers to it a “Chicago Bailout,” many downstate superintendents have urged the governor to sign the bill. Many of these districts have more in common with Chicago demographically — poverty-level students, special needs, language differences — than they have with wealthier suburban districts.
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Rauner’s objection to funding the normal cost for Chicago Teachers Pension Fund is off-base. As a resident of Chicago and a retired Chicago Public School teacher, I am both the payer (through property taxes) and receiver of my pension. I also support the Teacher Retirement System through state taxes, but if I resided in Oak Park, I would not be directly supporting my Chicago pension. Since Chicago serves around 18 percent of the students in the state of Illinois, one would think that education funding for Chicago (including pensions) would come through the General Assembly.
John P. Reilly, Edgewater
Bigotry is not Patriotism
Failing to throw millions of citizens off of their health care, President Donald Trump now leads the Republican charge to target specific groups of individuals. Citing health care costs, transgender people will be banned from serving in our military. Considering that a 2014 study estimated only 15,500 are serving and therefore account for a small percentage of service-members’ health care costs, it becomes clear that finances have nothing to do with this decision. Services specific to transgender care cost a thousandth of one percent of our nation’s annual defense budget.
Trump’s policy makes us less safe, and it is cruel to individuals willing to put their lives on the line for us. It sends the message that American patriotism is more about exclusion, hate and bigotry. Given that hate speech has been lately dismissed or even condoned by Republicans in power, it is unfortunate for the country that this measure likely will go unchallenged.
Jenica Roenneburg, Lena