According to this morning’s Politico report from Natasha Korecki negotiations between Dems and Repugs in Springfield over SB1 includes a huge voucher component.
Yes. The voucher plan that Democratic candidate for governor Dan Biss correctly said should be a red line that Democrats should not cross.
But, they will cross it.
On the table to bring Republicans on board SB1 in the House: $75 million in private school scholarships. Under serious discussion is a 75-cent-on the dollar credit to families choosing private schools, with a five-year sunset on the program. That reflects the desires of Cardinal Blase Cupich and other advocates of the program, sources tell POLITICO.
Not just Cardinal Cupich. The vouchers are okay with Rahm Emanuel as well. He and the Cardinal met a week or so ago. Rahm will never miss an opportunity to undermine Chicago public schools.
And that is what a $75 million or a $100 million voucher plans is aimed to do.
The IEA and other education groups were planning on a rally in Springfield today but called it off when Michael Madigan put off the override vote. Why? Is passing SB1 with this voucher attachment not worthy of protest and a rally?
What happens if the Democrats were to say no to vouchers?
Democrats don’t have the numbers alone to override Rauner’s amendatory veto, but believe eight Republicans are leaning heavily toward an override — even without the scholarships. That’s after various degrees of pressure for SB1, including support from superintendents statewide. Democrats point to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s education proposal, which didn’t get a single “yes” vote last week. Every day another member announces he or she won’t seek reelection, leaving behind a potential for more brazen voting. Add tanking poll numbers and ongoing turmoil in Rauner’s office and you have a governor holding a weak hand. The worst-case scenario for Republicans is for another override to happen and they have nothing to show for it.
If scholarships really do happen, that would be something Rauner and Republicans statewide could campaign on. School choice in a blue state?
So, if the Democrats kneel before the Cardinal, the Mayor and the Governor and divert public money to Catholic and private schools through a massive voucher program, they may be handing Rauner a victory he wouldn’t have won on his own.