Republicans calling for an end to block grants to CPS

Mar 7, 2014

Republican lawmakers are calling for the end of special state funding of Chicago Public Schools. They say it's unfair to the rest of Illinois schools. Chicago's public school system currently receives an annual "block grant";  the other 800 school districts in the state receive money based on a different formula. 

Senator Pam Althoff, a Republican from McHenry, says that winds up giving Chicago schools more than they deserve. She says the 477 million dollar grant CPS received last year was fraught with waste. Althoff cites the district's internal audit. It found fraudulent vendor claims and other false data that may have boosted how much CPS got from the state. She proposes Illinois fund Chicago schools like all other districts. 

"What I'm dunning is a program ... which is inherently unfair to every other school district in the state of Illinois. We are all--all of our school districts are struggling with funding. This just would make the situation more fair, uniform and would deliver parity to all of our children."

The senator estimates that eliminating the grant would free up some $230 million dollars to distribute to other schools. But General Assembly's leading Democrats say Chicago schools are the ones that aren't getting a fair shake from the state.  

Illinois picks up the tab for the employers' share of downstate and suburban teachers' pensions, but it does not do so for Chicago.