As the stalemate over Chicago Public Schools funding persists, Wednesday’s CPS board meeting saw more rhetoric, with the school district and the state continuing to lay blame at each other’s feet.
“Yesterday, Governor [Bruce] Rauner, in a statement of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ absurdity, blamed the city for the immediate financial crisis that threatens to close our school doors early,” CPS CEO Forrest Claypool said.
Claypool has said CPS may have to close on June 1, as opposed to June 20, unless the district receives more money from the state to fill a $215 million budget hole.
Rauner’s administration fired right back.
“Look in the mirror, Mr. Claypool. You presented a budget to your board knowing that it spent $215,000,000 more than the General Assembly appropriated,” Beth Purvis, Illinois’ secretary of education,said in an emailed statement Wednesday night.“As CEO, you knew that the additional money was dependent on the passage of statewide pension reform.”
CPS blames Rauner for vetoing legislation in December that contained $215 million in pension money the district counted on. Rauner has said that the conditions legislators agreed to for that money weren’t met and that CPS’ fiscal irresponsibility precedes his tenure.
In February, CPS filed a lawsuit against Rauner and the state Board of Education, alleging that the state maintains “two separate and demonstrably unequal systems” for funding public education.
As funding woes continue to plague the district, the Chicago Teachers Union is considering another one-day strike. CPS went to court last week to ask a judge to block it. The CTU will vote on the strike April 5.
CPS staffers are also required to take four unpaid furlough days when classes are not in session.