U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin’s criticism of the plan for a state-run board to oversee Chicago Public Schools sounds like support to one Republican legislative leader. Durbin said the financially-troubled district, which had hoped for $480 million in pension assistance from the state in its last budget, can’t expect help from the federal government. “I’ve been an Illinois taxpayer observer, because there is no federal rescue, there won’t be a federal rescue,” Durbin said. “We have our own fiscal issues in Washington, and many things have gone unfunded and underfunded at the federal level.” Patty Schuh, spokeswoman for Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, one of the sponsors of the proposal, said in a statement that Durbin’s comments sound like he agrees with Radogno’s plan.
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“It sounds to me like Sen. Durbin is endorsing Sen. Radogno and Rep. Durkin’s proposal for an independent authority to takeover CPS and right the ship. There is no federal bail-out coming. There is no state bail-out coming.” Durbin criticized the proposal itself for the effect it may have on the Chicago Teachers Union, whose contract could be broken if CPS is allowed to, and then declares, bankruptcy. “"Every time he sits down and wants to talk about the future of schools or whatever it is, it's all about labor unions. He's really got to be put this agenda item aside and focus on getting our budget passed and getting our state back on its feet,” Durbin said. Rauner’s office declined to comment on Durbin’s remarks.