Governor Bruce Rauner is continuing his push to have a state board oversee Chicago Public Schools, saying a measure to do just that isn’t as dead as some portray.
Democratic leaders don’t think the measure will get very far.
Wednesday the governor again pushed for the state to form a board to oversee and manage CPS. At a news conference reporters pressed him on similar comments he made Tuesday.
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“Yesterday I didn’t say anything about blowing up Chicago Public Schools,” Rauner said. “I want to keep every school open, keep every teacher employed. I’d like to update our teacher quality in the coming years and there’s ways we can do that but there’s no way we have to have teacher layoffs. That should never occur.”
Tuesday the governor said he requested the Illinois State Board of Education to “begin the process to identify who could be available to take over and let’s look at the existing state law on the characteristics of the school districts where a state takeover was appropriate.”
Senate President John Cullerton issued a short statement saying "I thought we’d already addressed this. The law doesn't allow him to do that. So it’s not going to happen.”
Rauner said it won’t be up to Chicago Democrats.
“You watch what Democratic legislators from around the state who are not from Chicago like the Speaker and the President are,” Rauner said. “You’re going to see that that bill, that bill is not as dead on arrival as some might claim.”
Rauner said having the state manage CPS is an attempt to avoid tax increase resulting in borrowing for operational costs.
“Taxpayers, homeowners, small business owners in this city and in this state are looking at crushing tax increases,” Rauner said. “We’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg and I want to prevent that.”
“Once we’re done getting the financial structure into an affordable place, turn it back over to the people of Chicago with an elected school board, not a mayoral controlled school board anymore,” Rauner said.
The governor has been adamant in his push for what he says are structural reforms in Chicago and the state but Speaker Michael Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said they’re not really structural reforms.
“Because it’s neither reform nor structural,” Brown said. “It’s just taking another whack at middle class families so the 1 Percenters can get farther ahead.”
Rauner’s plan also appears to, in part, lean on legislation that would let CPS have the option of declaring bankruptcy, something Democrats have so far steadfastly opposed.