Illinois districts back Rauner plan to undo school mandates

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois school districts have a new ally in Gov. Bruce Rauner as they try to eliminate state mandates they say drive up costs at a time when education funding is decreasing.

The Republican is pushing relief from so-called unfunded mandates as part of a larger proposal to freeze property taxes, curb union influence and overhaul Illinois’ school-funding formula. In a letter to legislators, Rauner says mandate relief could save districts statewide more than $200 million annually.

He’s specifically targeting requirements that districts offer driver’s education and daily physical education.

But getting rid of the mandates has been politically difficult, and it won’t get any easier with the Legislature divided over the state budget.

The Illinois Education Association says the best solution is for the state to fully fund education.