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Heritage: CPS costs will affect every Chicagoan

Written By: Greg Bishop
 The fight between Chicago Public Schools and the teachers’ union could end up impacting every taxpayer in Chicago big time, according to research associated with the Heritage Foundation.

Not long after authorizing a strike, Chicago teachers rejected an offer that CPS CEO Forrest Claypool said would have given teachers a raise, among other concessions.

“It would have prevented teachers from being laid off due to a lack of funding. It would have provided more autonomy for teachers and it would have restricted charter school expansion.”

However, among other demands, the union wants a shift of tax increment funding to schools and for lawmakers in Springfield to pass a financial transaction tax. Mary Clare Reim, a research associate with the Heritage Foundation, says reports the deal could cost taxpayers a billion dollars will rattle some cages.

“I think when people hear that number they will start to understand that this will mean a significant difference for every person living in Chicago.”

Claypool says the move to reject the contract means it’s time to make cuts.

“We will have to cut $100 million dollars from school budgets in order to help decrease our deficits.”

Meanwhile Reim says the high cost of education tied in with projected deficits makes things very gloomy.

“All of this coupled together looks at a dire economic straits in Chicago.”

CPS has sold $725 million in bonds at 8.5 percent interest to get the school through the rest of the school year.

Governor Bruce Rauner said earlier this week that if Chicago’s mayor can’t strike a deal with teachers, then his administration through a state board overseeing the district can. Leading Democrats doubt a measure to have a state takeover of CPS is going anywhere.

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A research firm says Illinois’ medical cannabis pilot program has been plagued with setbacks, a lack of licensed growers and slow patient registration.

Arcview Market Research’s report this week says Illinois’ slow rollout jeopardizes dispensary businesses. Just last week the Illinois Department of Public Health denied adding 8 additional conditions to the program with Governor Bruce Rauner saying the state is assessing the performance so far and they’ll determine expanding the program further in the future.

“We’re accessing the performance of it so far and then we will make that judgement in the future. I don’t want to rush this. We’re making a lot of changes. We’ve got to walk before we run.

Christ Stone, CEO of medical cannabis dispensary HCI Alternatives in Springfield and Collinsville, says the state could help the program be a success by educating people, especially doctors.

“Listen, doctors go through many years of education and it is not in any textbook, it doesn’t tell you anything about marijuana or cannabis or any of the various strains and how they affect pain management. I think getting the education out and having the state help us with the education is instrumental in making this program a success.”

Meanwhile Arcview Market Research says Illinois’ denial of additional conditions will keep patient levels low for the foreseeable future. Despite the denial of additional conditions, IDPH announced this week the number of approved patients for the program now is approximately 4,400.

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