FACT CHECK: Bruce Rauner’s Real Record on Education

Chicago, IL — Yesterday, Bruce Rauner released a new ad featuring his wife Diana, highlighting the couple’s “passion for education.” But lately Rauner’s only passion is causing crises and distorting his own record. The reality is that Bruce Rauner continues to intentionally cut programs that help children and families build better lives.
 
Let’s take a look at Bruce Rauner’s real record on education:

  • Due to Rauner’s 736-day budget crisis, Illinois is over $1 billion behind in paying school districts money they were promised.
  • Hundreds of public university employees were laid off and dozens of programs were cut after Rauner failed to pass a budget for two years.   
  • Rauner proposed a 20% cut to higher education and a 31.5% cut to universities in his 2015 budget proposal.
  • The ad claims Rauner “increased early childhood education to its highest level ever," but in reality he proposed a $338.5 million cut to the Childcare Assistance Program in 2016 and decimated the program with his 2015 Emergency Rule, cutting off 90% of previously eligible families.
  • This month, Bruce Rauner vetoed the entire FY18 Illinois State Board of Education budget worth $11.9 billion, including:
     
    • $443.7 million for the Early Childhood Block grant.
    • $29 million in additional funding for bilingual education.
    • $387.6 million for disabled student transportation.
    • $135.2 million for disabled student tuition.
    • $262.9 million in transportation reimbursement.
    • $15 million for afterschool programs.
    • $1.4 million for the parent mentoring program.
    • $2.4 million in technology for success.
    • $846,000 for blind and dyslexic services.
    • $3.1 million for district consolidation costs and supplemental payments for school districts.
    • $100,000 for autism training and technical assistance.
    • $9 million in reimbursement for free breakfast and lunch programs.
    • $1.4 million for the visually impaired and educational materials coordinating unit.
    • $38 million for career and technical education.
    • $11.5 million for truant alternative and optional education program.
    • $6.3 million for alternative education and regional safe schools.
    • $5 million for agriculture education program.
    • $2.4 million for Afterschool Matters.
    • $500,000 for advanced placement classes.
    • $1 million for the lowest performing schools.
       

“Fresh off vetoing the entire education budget, this governor is ready to allow schools not to open next month. There is nothing ‘right’ about what Bruce Rauner is doing to Illinois schoolchildren,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “No amount of messaging, distortion, and validation is going to change the fact that this governor is failing in his basic obligation to ensure Illinois children receive a quality education.” 
 

BACKGROUND


RAUNER VETOED THE BUDGET THAT ALLOCATED FUNDING FOR SCHOOLS
 
The Budget That Allocated An Additional $350 Million For Schools Was Passed Despite Rauner’s Veto.“Illinois has its belated state budget, but the state Capitol’s next flashpoint in the political struggle over finances is about how to fund public education with just weeks before the first day of school. The spending plan lawmakers enacted this month over Gov. Bruce Rauner’s vetoes ended a two-year state-budget stalemate, the nation’s longest since at least the Great Depression. It includes a $350 million boost for schools.” [Chicago Sun-Times, 7/16/17]
 
RAUNER’S BUDGET CRISIS LEFT THE STATE MORE THAN $1 BILLION BEHIND IN PAYMENTS TO SCHOOLS
 
Rauner Claimed Schools Got An Extra $750 Million In State Funding, But Ignored The Fact That His Budget Crisis Left The State More Than $1 Billion Behind In Paying School Districts The Money Promised. “Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner often points out that despite the state budget impasse, elementary and high schools are better off than when he took office, thanks to a $750 million surge in state funding. Left unsaid: The record-setting budget stalemate means the state is more than $1 billion behind in paying school districts the money it promised for the school year that ends this month.” [Chicago Tribune, 6/17/17]
 
ILLINOIS’ UNIVERSITIES SUFFERED DUE TO RAUNER’S BUDGET CRISIS
 
Rauner’s Budget Crisis Cut Off Needed State Funding For Illinois’ Public Colleges And Universities, Leading Schools To Lay Off Employees And Cut Programs. “With no end in sight, Illinois' unprecedented budget impasse has cut off critical state funding to the state's public colleges and universities, which received only infrequent and unpredictable funding last year and no money this year as Rauner and the Democrat-controlled legislature have been unable to agree on a fiscal plan for the state. At universities across the state, hundreds of employees have been laid off, dozens of academic and athletic programs cut, weeks worth of pay erased through furloughs, maintenance projects halted, vendor payments delayed and reserves emptied.” [Chicago Tribune, 3/16/17]
 
HEADLINE: “Illinois Is Starving State Colleges And Universities” [CNN Money, 6/29/17]
 
RAUNER HAS CALLED TO CUT FUNDING FOR HIGHER EDUCATION
 
Rauner Proposed Cutting Higher Education Funding By 20 Percent In His 2015 Budget Proposal. “When Rauner proposed his first full-year budget in the spring 2015 session, his higher-ed proposal was for $1.59 billion, which was a 20 percent decrease overall and a 31.5 percent cut to universities. And when he vetoed the entire fiscal 2016 budget passed by the legislature — Democrats said they wanted to negotiate with Rauner to fill a multibillion-dollar hole, but no agreement was ever reached — higher ed was left with nothing except later-passed stopgap money.” [Bernard Schoenburg, State Journal-Register, 3/8/17]

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Crisis Creatin' Rauner