ILLINOIS’ PUBLIC SCHOOL FUNDING CRISIS IS UNACCEPTABLE

By Kerry Goff

Allen Skillicorn, the Republican candidate for state representative in the 66th House District, has been concerned, like many have been, over the possibility of public schools not opening on time in the fall because of budget issues...

“No parent should ever have to wonder if their child’s school will open for the year, and no child’s education should ever be held hostage to the egos of politicians and the special interests that control them,” Skillicorn recently told McHenry Times.

Regarding recent news about redistributing funding from other school districts to support Chicago public schools, Skillicorn was more vitriolic.

“Springfield politicians want to take away school funding from our schools and bail out Chicago schools and their failed policies,” Skillicorn said. “I say hell no! We need suburban legislators with backbones who will stand up to (House) Speaker (Mike) Madigan and his minions.”

Skillicorn is even more upset over the inability of Madigan to hold House sessions as he promised.

“After promising that the House would meet every Wednesday (in June) in ‘continuous session,’ Speaker Madigan has now canceled session for the third week in a row,” Skillicorn said. “This is absolutely unacceptable. Social services agencies and critical government services across the state are at risk of closing, and many already have. Worse, without a budget, many schools may not be able to open on time this fall. As a father, I find this unthinkable.”

Skillicorn said Madigan’s repeated cancellations of scheduled House sessions are indicative of the behavior he continuously sees with the current government, which he says lacks any regard for Illinois residents.

“As your state rep, I will always fight to represent our community,” Skillicorn said. “Legislators should be meeting every day to find agreement on a long-term solution to balance the budget and get our economy growing again.”

Skillicorn offers some disconcerting statistics that reflect why schools are struggling to function up to expected standards.

“Illinois hasn’t had a balanced budget since 2001,” Skillicorn said. “Politicians’ lack of discipline has left Illinois with the worst credit rating of any state in the country, a $4 billion budget shortfall and more than $7 billion in unpaid bills. The Mercatus Center at George Mason University currently ranks Illinois 50th in the nation for fiscal solvency, a measure for how well (or poorly) a state can meet its spending obligations.”

Despite the dire need for funding and last week’s signing of a stop-gap measure by Gov. Bruce Rauner, there does not seem to be a permanent budget on the horizon any time soon

“Is a ‘stop-gap’ bill desirable? Hell no, but it would keep our schools open, our essential services functioning and relieve some pressure from institutions that have been left in the lurch,” Skillicorn said.