Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner came to nearby LaGrange on Monday to sustain his call for school funding reform. Rauner says he wants to increase overall state funding by $120 million.

He made the pitch at Lyons Township High School, which under a competing vision for school funding from Democratic state Sen. Andy Manar stands to lose almost $2 million in general state aid over the next four years.

Manar’s goal is equitably distributing general state aid for schools, meaning there would be more money funneled to poorer districts and less to wealthier ones. The way education is funded right now, poorer districts are at a permanent disadvantage in that local property taxes, not the state, serve as the principal source of revenue.

Rauner doesn’t see this redistribution of general state aid as equity, however. He sees it as creating a class of losers, i.e., richer districts.

Just where the additional money for Rauner’s school funding plan is going to come from isn’t clear. But there’s no way we can see where funding for schools increases overall or is redistributed to attain some sort of equity without sacrifices happening somewhere.

What we want to make sure of is that those doing the sacrificing aren’t the ones who need the boost most.

What we’ve seen clearly in the year and a half or so that Rauner has been at the helm of Illinois is that he’s not rushing to ask the state’s wealthiest and most powerful to contribute more. 

Instead, he’s asking Main Street to freeze property taxes, which will only serve to squeeze local governments even harder, and to gut public sector unions, which will depress wages in the long run. It’s an us-versus-them mentality that pits ordinary Illinoisans against one another while the Rauners of the world make sure they don’t have to bear any more of the burden.

 This is a complicated business, resolving the state budget crisis. Yes, schools need adequate — and equitable — funding. Yes, the state pension system needs to be reformed in order to have a sustainable model for the future. Yes, property taxes can be burdensome. Yes, there are public services that can be consolidated in order to reduce the long-term costs of providing them.

But everyone in the state needs to be part of those solutions. It can’t just come from the pockets and on the backs of ordinary Illinoisans.