Oberweis Alone in His Stand on Corporal Punishment School Construction, Education Dollars Also Divide GOP Candidates

By Patterson, John | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), February 5, 2006 | Go to article overview

Oberweis Alone in His Stand on Corporal Punishment School Construction, Education Dollars Also Divide GOP Candidates


Patterson, John, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: John Patterson Daily Herald State Government Editor

First in a weekly series on the candidates' positions on issues in the March 21 primary race for governor.

SPRINGFIELD - Paddling students and other forms of corporal punishment were outlawed in Illinois in 1994, but Republican Jim Oberweis would consider bringing them back if elected governor.

Oberweis, a Sugar Grove dairy mogul, was the only major candidate for governor of either political party to support corporal punishment in schools in responding to a Daily Herald questionnaire. He indicated he would support it if parents and the school principal agree on the specific methods and waive liability.

The other major Republican candidates all said they oppose corporal punishment in schools. Judy Baar Topinka, the state treasurer, elaborated that it was a decision for parents, not school officials.

Corporal punishment is one of several education policy disagreements among the four major Republican candidates for governor. Those running include Topinka, Oberweis, Bloomington state Sen. Bill Brady and former business executive and former State Board of Education Chairman Ron Gidwitz of Chicago.

More than half

Both Oberweis and Topinka said they would not commit to sending 51 percent of all new state dollars to education each year, a pledge now asked of every candidate since the 1998 race when Republican George Ryan made it.

Oberweis said paying off state debt should be the first priority, while Topinka declined to commit on the grounds candidates should not make promises they may not be able to keep.

Brady and Gidwitz supported the 51 percent education commitment.

Construction split

There was also a split regarding increased state borrowing to pay for school construction.

Brady and Topinka both support borrowing to help schools expand and update. Gidwitz and Oberweis said there are other priorities.

"We cannot add to the mountain of debt this state continues to incur under the Rod Blagojevich administration," Gidwitz said. "All told, Illinois has $65 million in debt owed and we cannot afford to keep piling on. …

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