The two candidates for governor disagree over whether state funding for schools is up or down. Republican Bruce Rauner sees it this way: “We have de-funded our schools in the last five years under our current administration. The funding for our schools has been cut roughly $800 million,” he said.
The actual figure from the state Board of Education is $861 million, but that includes $1 billion in federal stimulus funding in 2009 and $791 million in 2010, numbers which have been zero ever since, through no fault of the state’s. The state’s education contribution has actually grown during that time by $62 million.
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Gov. Pat Quinn sees the numbers differently: “In the last five years that I’ve been governor, we’ve been able to invest more than $2½ billion in more money for public education. That includes money for our teachers’ pensions,” he said.
The contribution by the state to teachers’ pension rose from $1.9 billion in 2009 to $4.9 billion this year, including the Teachers Retirement System, the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund and the State Universities Retirement System.
The two candidates appeared this (Friday) afternoon at the Illinois Education Association Representative Assembly and annual meeting in Chicago. It was their first joint appearance of the campaign.