Illinois lawmakers last week approved a sweeping overhaul of the way the state funds public schools. Mainly Democrats supported the plan, but the top Republican co-sponsor chose not to vote at all.
Bob Pritchard, a Republican state rep from Hinckley, serves on five different education committees, and was on Gov. Bruce Rauner's school funding reform commission. You could say education is one of his key issues. But on the state's 700th day without a budget, he called on schools to close.
"We have to create a crisis. And it is going to be a crisis,” he said. “I don't want the schools not to open. But we've tried everything else. There's been all kinds of lobbying groups down here, talking about higher education, talking about mental health, talking about elderly services and child care services, and it doesn't move the needle."
Pritchard helped develop the school funding plan (he was chief co-sponsor of the major school funding initiative that passed the House), but when it came time to vote, he didn’t. Republicans called the plan a Chicago bailout, and most voted no. But Pritchard says the plan just needs work, and there's no way he'd vote against it.