Rauner education plan calls for more spending

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Republican candidate for governor Bruce released his education plan for Illinois on Monday and it calls for more spending, but fails to say where the money would come from.

Despite promises to roll back the state income tax rate and freeze property taxes, Rauner vows to increase, not cut, education spending.

"It's not fair to our children to make education the political football that gets cut," Rauner said.

Rauner was not specific on what programs he would cut to increase education spending. Among those joining the candidate were his wife Diana and former Democratic State Senator, the Reverend James Meeks.

"I actually believe he has a heart for education," said Rev. Meeks.

"We need someone who takes this stuff seriously and recognizes how urgent it is," Diana Rauner said.

The Rauner plan also includes unlimited, fully-funded charter schools, increased vocational schools, and merit pay for teachers. The would-be governor also would eliminate tenure rules that he says make it too difficult to fire bad teachers.

"It's not fair to the children," Bruce Rauner said. "It's not fair to the families. We've got to change that."

"Due process for teachers protects teachers and allows them to speak frankly and speak up when things aren't going well without fear of reprisal," said Dan Montgomery, Illinois Federation of Teachers.

Governor Pat Quinn says the Rauner plan would leave a $4 billion hole in the education budget.

Quinn running mate Paul Vallas called it "reckless and irresponsible," "a lot of promises, but predictably fails to pay for any of them."

And the Quinn campaign emailed a 2010 video showing Diana Rauner praising the governor on education.

"Governor Quinn, you've been a stalwart supporter of quality early education," she says in the video.

"Pat Quinn raised taxes dramatically and still cut education funding," Bruce Rauner said.

The Reverend Meeks, the former State Senate Education Committee chairman, says he believes Rauner's promise to fully fund the schools.

"Education is his priority," Meeks said. "That's the single most important thing to Bruce Rauner."

The governor's office issued a statement Monday afternoon disputing Rauner's claim that Gov. Quinn has cut education spending. The release said education spending during the Quinn years has increased from $8 billion in 2009 to $10.4 billion this year.

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