05192017CM0213 rMajority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) criticized Secretary of Education Beth Purvis for pitting the students in Chicago Public Schools against students in the rest of the state in her opposition to the Senate’s recently passed school funding reform bill.

“Governor Rauner and his administration think that some children don’t deserve the same chance. Apparently the children in Chicago Public Schools did something wrong, by being lower-income, by being black or brown, and don’t deserve equal opportunity,” Martinez said at a press conference this morning. “It is our responsibility as legislators to make sure that the circumstances children are born into do not dictate the education they receive. It is our job to stand up for every child in our state.”

Martinez joined several other Democratic senators in calling for the Executive Inspector General of Illinois to investigate the distribution of state materials from Rauner’s administration to a political group funded by the governor’s campaign.

State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), the bill’s sponsor, said at the press conference that documents incorrectly portraying the funding schools in Kankakee County would receive were sent to a politically-motivated publication. Manar had seen the documents on Thursday in a meeting with Governor Rauner and had pointed out their errors.

The Rauner administration has been vocal in its opposition to Manar’s legislation, claiming it “bails out” Chicago Public Schools.

“I’m tired of hearing the term ‘bailing out CPS,’” Martinez said. “Let me remind Governor Rauner and Beth Purvis that the Chicago Public School District is the third-largest school district in the nation. Shame on the administration that cannot look at this picture for all children across the state and see that every child deserves the same education.”

SB 1 replaces the state’s current school funding formula with an evidence-based model. It  passed the Senate 35-18 on Wednesday with no Republican support.

Martinez's full remarks can be viewed here.

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