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Topinka unveils education plan

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Republican Judy Baar Topinka (KWMU photo)

By AP/KWMU

Chicago, Ill. – The Republican candidate for Illinois Governor, Judy Baar Topinka, unveiled her plan for education Sunday.

She says she'd spend more than $8 billion on schools and teacher pensions over four years if she's elected. She's also pushing for $3 billion more for school construction.

Her plan doesn't say how she'd pay for such a plan, but adds that will be revealed when her campaign releases its budget plan.

A spokeswoman for the current governor, Rod Blagojevich, says Topinka would probably pay for the education plan by taking money away from Medicaid.

But her ideas have drawn interest from a major teachers union, the Illinois Education Association. The union has not yet made an endorsement in the governor's race.

Spokesman Charlie McBarron says the union is especially glad to see that Topinka's plan include support for struggling schools, adding the union's political action committee will meet next week with both Topinka and Blagojevich. That's the first step to a possible endorsement.

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