In the new stopgap state budget, downstate taxpayers will help pay for Chicago teacher pensions; but one downstate lawmaker wants more parity.
State Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Normal, said parity is a two-way street. He said if downstate taxpayers are going to help pay for Chicago's autonomous teacher pension plan, then downstate schools should get special spending permission that Chicago has to avoid some state mandates.
"The reality is, CPS has a number of tools in its belt that are available to (the district),” Barickman said. "That gives them more flexibility to control their expenses than any other district in the state has."
Barickman is part of Gov. Bruce Rauner's new school funding commission. He said true parity needs to be a part of Illinois' school funding formula talks. "Again, on the notion of fairness, if it's good for Chicago, why can't we have these things elsewhere?"
Barickman said his goal for the new funding commission is a single funding plan for all schools in the state.