SPRINGFIELD — State Sen. Bill Brady, the Republican candidate for governor, is taking heat from a teachers union over suggestions that school districts could consider foregoing teacher pay raises.
While questioned by reporters in recent weeks, Brady said his proposed cuts to the state budget would mean schools will see less money from the state.
“Local school districts could absorb that by maybe not offering the pay raises that they put in place,” Brady said Wednesday at a Springfield event.
“Let’s face it, the private sector’s gone without a pay raise, and in many cases pay cuts, over the last four years,” Brady said.
Illinois Federation of Teachers spokesman Dave Comerford said teachers already are dealing with threats of layoffs because the state is months behind in sending money to local schools.
Competitive salaries, Comerford said, are critical to keep teachers in the classroom instead of leaving the profession.
“And yet now we’re saying we want you to take massive pay cuts?” Comerford said.
Brady has proposed cutting state spending by
10 percent but hasn’t given a detailed description of what he would like to cut.
Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has proposed a
33 percent income tax increase to pay for school spending, but his plan wouldn’t raise enough money to solve the state’s entire $13 billion deficit.
Brady points out that while he would cut the amount of money the state promises to schools, local districts already are going without what’s promised because the state is so far behind in paying its bills. Under his plan, Brady said, school districts could better plan their budgets because they would actually get what’s promised.
“School districts can decide that we’re going to buckle up in these difficult economic times and we’re going to live within our means as well without increasing property taxes,” Brady told reporters.