Governor Bruce Rauner was scheduled to deliver the keynote address at a meeting of public school leaders Tuesday in Springfield. Instead, he sent his new education czar.
Beth Purvis, a member of Gov. Rauner's transition team, had been in office just about two hours. In fact, her exact title hadn't been determined.
But for the past 10 years, Purvis has been the CEO of the Chicago International Charter School.
During a question-and-answer session with the audience in Springfield, she had a ready reply for the suburban school official who asked why charter schools get to take funds away from public schools.
"The first thing i want to start with is that charter schools are public schools. And parents choose to enroll their children in charter public schools,” she said.
However, Purvis said charters won't be Governor Rauner's first priority. She said his top goal is to provide adequate and equitable funding for all schools in Illinois.
Another member of the audience asked what the governor will reveal about school funding in his budget address Wednesday.
"I don't like to start with a no comment,” Purvis said, “but to be candid, I don't know."
She promised that Rauner plans to increase school funding and eliminate costly political add-ons to standard curriculum.