In one corner: Illinois' Democrat-led legislature that tucked a requirement for a new school funding formula into a groundbreaking state budget agreement last month, but created an emergency by sitting on the actual funding framework until last week, just 10 days before payments to schools are meant to go out.
In the other corner: Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, who swiftly vetoed parts of the school funding bill once it got to his desk, cutting money that would go to Chicago Public Schools, among other revisions. He's apparently willing to stick to his guns despite the hardship it could create, much like he insisted on passing his agenda as part of a budget agreement, creating a two-year stalemate.
The current match sounds all too familiar, only this time with the 2018 election upping the ante and the education of tens of thousands of schoolchildren at stake.
We're calling on the contenders to meet in the middle, and to drop any intention of delivering a knockout punch.
It is the time for House Speaker Mike Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton and Rauner to build on their otherwise encouraging consensus that the way Illinois funds schools now isn't equitable.
We're all frustrated by the inability of our state's leaders to step back from the brink and make headway on the state's many intractable problems.
While a boxing match needs a winner, it doesn't work that way in a functioning representative government, where compromise is the hallmark.
Let's start making the system work in Illinois.