Manar tries to act as savior of downstate schools while Democrats choked off funding
TAYLORVILLE— State Senator Andy Manar, a career politician who has worked for Chicago Democrats since 1999, recently debuted a new lamenting the closure of an elementary school in his hometown. But what Manar didn’t mention is local leaders credited the failures of politicians like Manar for the closure and inability for the district to do anything with the closed building.
In 2015, the reported the former Meissner Elementary, which closed in 2009, would require $1 million for demolition and to remediate mold and asbestos issues.
“We’ve got other needs before we can address anything like that,” then-Superintendent Victor Buehler said. “Especially with the state finances the way they are.”
2015 is when Democrats like Mike Madigan and Andy Manar refused to pass a balanced budget after Governor Rauner vetoed a budget more than $2 billion out of balance, leaving schools across the state in limbo for months. Manar’s championed school funding reform bill in 2017, SB1, provided fewer new dollars for downstate schools like Bunker Hill than proposed under Rauner’s amendatory veto. Democrats also used shady parliamentary maneuvers to hold the bill until nearly the start of the school year to add to the crisis.
“Andy Manar can’t have it both ways on school funding,” said Seth McMillan, a small business owner and outsider running for State Senate. “He has been part of the problem for more than 20 years and his bill did more to hurt downstate schools until it was vetoed and brought both parties to the table. He has been on the Democrats payroll for 20 years, and what does he have to show for it? It surely isn’t the money to deal with Meissner Elementary or any other closed school in central Illinois. But he’s happy to give Mike Madigan higher taxes and more funding for Chicago pensions when he’s told to.”
Last year, Manar even that prorating, or cutting and delaying state funding in 2008, while he was Senate President John Cullerton’s Chief of Staff, led to the closure of Meissner.
“Andy Manar, Mike Madigan, and the Chicago Democrats pro-rated millions of dollars in funding from school districts all around central Illinois,” said McMillan. “Andy Manar can’t tell the truth about his history with school funding, proving there are too many career politicians in Springfield looking to protect themselves instead of their communities.”