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Chicago Teachers Union Calls School Funding Deal A Reverse Robin Hood Scheme

CHICAGO (CBS) -- It's not a done deal yet, but Illinois is close to approving a plan to fund schools.

The bipartisan deal would free up a billion dollars in state funding for education.

CBS 2's Mike Puccinelli has a look at the tentative agreement.

And while it's being cheered by lawmakers on both side of the political aisle, the Chicago Teachers Unions said its essentially calls it a reverse robin hood scheme.

CTU said the deal rips off the public schools by funnelling at least $75 million a year towards vouchers.

The breakthrough came after legislative leaders met behind closed doors several times trying to hammer out a deal.

Then on Thursday, lawmakers from both sides put out statements saying a tentative deal has been reached.

The terms of the deal allow the Chicago Public Schools to raise property taxes about a state cap. They also would scrap some mandates like required daily gym classes in some districts. It also calls for Illinois to bankroll a portion of the Chicago Teachers Union pension plan.

And a controversial provision allows at least $75-million in public funds to be used for private school scholarships.

CTU leaders say it's reliance on vouchers siphons money from poor districts and allows the rich to avoid paying their fair share in taxes.

"We see vouchers as a problem because its going to rob the money that the same black and brown kids, both Rahm Emanuel and Bruce Rauner talk about saving," said Stacy Davis Gates, CTU Political and Legislative Director. "It's going to rob them of those very valuable funds."

The CTU said vouchers are aimed at the heart of public education and amount to stealing from black and brown children.

But the voucher component has the support of the Catholic archdiocese which of course, runs the largest private school system in the country.

Still the Mayor, who admits that property taxes could go up because of the deal, calls its a win win.

"This agreement, with a lot of different parts of it, takes a significant step to making sure we have equitable funding for all children," Emanuel said.

The Mayor even thanked Governor Rauner who issued a statement saying, "The Governor applauds the four leaders in coming to a consensus on historic school funding reform that reflects the work of the school funding reform commission. He thanks them and looks forward to the coming days when the legislation is passed by both chambers."

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