Officials Respond to Proposal for State Takeover of CPS

City and State officials respond to GOP's proposal for a state takeover of the Chicago Public School System

Illinois politicians are responding to a proposal made Wednesday by Senate Republican leader Christine Rodogno and House Republican leader Jim Durkin to place Chicago's public schools under state supervision and allow the school system to declare bankruptcy in order to combat a $480 million budget shortfall.

Democrats have largely opposed the proposal. Illinois Senate President John Cullerton (D) claims the plan is “mean spirited and evidence of their total lack of knowledge of the real problems facing Chicago Public Schools.”

State Senator William Delgado (D), chairman of the Senate Education Committee, said, “The governor has forced the state into a financial crisis, and now he wants to take over one of the biggest public school systems in the nation. I find it hard to believe that this decision has the best of CPS students and family in mind.”

Kelley Quinn, spokeswoman for Rahm Emanuel said, “The mayor is 100 percent opposed to Governor Rauner’s ‘plan’ to drive CPS bankrupt. If the governor was serious about helping Chicago students, he would start by proposing, and passing, a budget that fully funds education and treats CPS students like every other child in the state.”

Forrest Claypool, CEO of Chicago Public Schools, echoed this sentiment, claiming, “the governor is defending a school funding system that is separate but unequal. Our children are facing systematic discrimination. CPS represents 20 percent of state enrollment but gets just 15 percent of state funding, even though 86 percent of our children live in poverty.”

Claypool continued, “The missing 5 percent represents nearly $500 million, the exact amount of our budget gap.”

State Senator Matt Murphy (R) reacted to Claypool’s claim, saying, “The debt is unsustainable and grew while CPS was getting more, not less as Claypool erroneously claims, than their proportional share from state.”

During today’s press conference, Christine Radogno said, “We don’t come to this position lightly but the track record of Chicago and its public school system is abysmal. Despite a $600 million financial advantage provided by the state, Chicago continues to dig their financial hole deeper.”

Of their plan, Durkin said, “CPS is facing massive layoffs and a possible teacher’s strike. And despite credit downgrades to junk status, CPS is now looking to pay for hundreds of millions of dollars in short-term operating expenses.”

Christine Radogno concluded her speech by saying, “The city doesn’t need a bailout, it needs a renaissance.”

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