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Rauner lieutenants in the legislature claim CPS 'bankrupt' while continuing to deny financial aid to Chicago's schools... Republican leaders introduce bill to strip Chicago of rights...

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner.Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is trying to get the Illinois General Assembly to approve legislation that would declare Chicago's public schools "bankrupt". The plan, introduced as a bill in the Illinois General Assembly on January 19, 2016, would enable the government to nullify all collective bargaining agreements. It follows several bond rating downgrades from the three Wall Street bond rating agencies, while Rauner continues to push to abolish collective bargaining in Illinois.

Under legislation to be introduced by the Republican leaders of the Illinois House and Senate, Chicago Public Schools would ultimately be in bankruptcy. According to early reports on the proposed legislation, the bill would be introduced following a January 20 morning press conference by State Senator Christine Radango and State Rep. Jim Durkin, the Republican leaders of the Senate and House.

Such a move would enable the Board of Education to nullify union contracts, the most important of which is the contract with the Chicago Teachers Union. Early reports on the bill, however, indicate that a new Board of Education would be appointed by the Illinois State Board of Education, superseding the current seven-member Chicago Board of Education, which is appointed by Chicago's mayor.

By early morning, press reports indicated that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was "100 percent opposed" to the Republican proposal.

At first glance, the legislation would seem to have no hope, since the Democrats control both the House and Senate. But reports indicate that Senator Heather Steans, a Democrat, has been speaking in favor of some aspects of the plan. Steans has long been in favor of the massive privatization and charter schools expansions in Chicago.

Illinois GOP{ Senate leader Christine Radango (left) and GOP House leader Jim Dunkin (right) were scheduled to introduce the bill to put CPS under a Board appointed by the governor, a move that would lead to a claim of "bankruptcy" for the nation's third largest school system. Photo above appeared in the January 20, 2016 Chicago Sun-Times. The story was reported on line by Crain's Chicago Business and on line and in print by the Chicago Sun-Times. The Chicago Tribune reported it on line but not in its local print edition.

CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS STORY BELOW HERE:

GOP plan would allow state takeover of CPSand bankruptcy, By Greg Hinz Crain's Chicago Business

January 19, 2016. The Republican leaders of the Illinois House and Senate are stepping into the financial crisis at Chicago Public Schools, and it sounds like they're proposing a solution that City Hall will not like.

In a press conference scheduled for Wednesday morning, Senate GOP Leader Christine Radogno and her House counterpart, Jim Durkin, will propose legislation that would allow the state to take control CPS and potentially push it into bankruptcy, according to knowledgeable sources.

The latter move forcing the school system to reorganize, and in the process dumping its union contracts has been strongly pushed by Gov. Bruce Rauner, but resisted by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. But the Radogno-Durkin proposal comes at a very sensitive time for Emanuel. CPS has been pleading for state help to fill a $480-million budget hole even as Emanuel's own power has been restricted by fallout from the Laquan McDonald police shooting.

I've also confirmed that the bankruptcy clause would apply to the city itself, which has its own financial problems, and result in electing members of the Board of Education, who now are selected by the mayor. That measure could appeal to some, even some Springfield Democrats, who have grown disaffected with Emanuel's leadership and handling of the school board.

Specifically, I'm told, the package offered by the two top Republicans would extend to Chicago a measure authored by Sen. Heather Steans that allows the state to intervene in and effectively run troubled downstate and suburban districts. Such a move would be initiated by an independent review panel appointed by the State Board of Education.

The bankruptcy measure likely would be in separate legislation. Local units of government are not allowed to file for bankruptcy under current state law, but a pending GOP bill in the House would allow cities and villages to file.

Steans, in a phone call, confirmed that her takeover bill last year excluded CPS, which has been treated differently than other districts since lawmakers turned control over to then-Mayor Richard M. Daley a generation ago.

Steans said her view of a state takeover of CPS might depend on whether it came with additional state aid, but said bankruptcy would be "insane," potentially undoing gains in CPS performance in recent years. "You'd have a much harder time fixing the schools" under a bankruptcy filing, she contended.

The package comes as CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union continue with what have been contentious negotiations on a new contract talks that some sources say have begun to make a bit of progress.

It also comes as Emanuel and CPS officials loudly charge that the state shortchanges CPS by not picking up pension costs that amount to hundreds of millions of dollars a year. The state pays pension costs for other districts, but suburban officials say Chicago gets a disproportionate share of anti-poverty money.

City officials have been expected to push that argument pretty hard in coming weeks, and the Radogno/Durkin move could be viewed as pushback.

Rauner's office declined immediate comment, but it's unlikely the GOP leaders would act without his full support and quite possibly his direction.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES STORY BELOW HERE (FROM THE PRINT EDITION OF JANUARY 20, 2016):

PLANNING A TAKEOVER. GOP proposal would allow state board to take control of CPS; City Hall says Emanuel '100 percent opposed' By Tina Spondeles

Republican legislative leaders are planning to propose a bill Wednesday that would allow a state-appointed board to take over the financially troubled Chicago Public School system and pave the way for it to declare bankruptcy, sources told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Its a solution championed by Gov. Bruce Rauner and rejected out of hand by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The mayor is 100 percent opposed to Gov. Rauners plan to drive CPS bankrupt, mayoral spokeswoman Kelley Quinn said Tuesday night.

llinois Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno and Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin are planning to hold a news conference Wednesday morning to introduce legislation pertaining to the fiscal crisis in Chicago and CPS, according to Radognos office.

The GOP Senate leaders aides said no further explanation would come until the news conference.

But sources say the legislation will allow an emergency oversight board appointed by the state to take over CPS. It would also allow CPS to declare bankruptcy.

Emanuel is trying to fend off another teachers strike. The mayor last year signed off on a school budget that assumes $480 million in pension help from Springfield.

Word of Wednesdays announcements struck a nerve with the mayor and his allies.

The governor is defending a school funding system that is separate but unequal, CPS CEO Forrest Claypool said in a written statement. 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.

The missing 5 percent represents nearly $500 million, the exact amount of our budget gap. Our childrens futures are just as important as those in the suburbs and downstate. But the state does not value them equally.

Quinn also decried the proposed new legislation as Rauners handiwork.

If the governor was serious about helping Chicago students, he should start by proposing and passing a budget that fully funds education and treats CPS students like every other child in the state, Quinn said in an emailed statement.

Emanuel has repeatedly called CPS bankruptcy a last, not first, resort.

Its the wrong thing to do I would oppose that. What is driving the financial strain is a series of political decisions that have been made over the years. Thats what you need to fix rather than go to a judge to address your bad politics and bad choices, the mayor said last July.

On Tuesday night, Rauners office referred questions to a separate news conference the governor will hold an hour after the Republican leaders announce their legislation.

Last April Rauner said bankruptcy would at least let the countrys third-largest district restructure its debts and contracts including its teachers union contract. Rauner also said that Chicago and Illinois other municipalities should get to decide what to collectively bargain with teachers or even whether to have unions in their school systems.

One of Rauners chief arguments has been that in order for the state to get back on financial footing it needs more independence from unions.

He argues that Chicago and other Illinois cities and towns should get to decide what to collectively bargain with teachers or even whether to have unions in their school systems.

It shouldnt be dictated by Springfield, shouldnt be dictated by the teachers union, he said last April. The schools belong to taxpayers and the parents. They should decide what gets collectively bargained. They should decide, do teachers have to join a union to teach their children? If they want that, terrific. . . . Im not saying it has to change. But I want local control of that. Springfield shouldnt dictate those terms.

MID MORNING JANUARY 20 STORY BELOW HERE FROM DNA INFO...

Rauner, Republicans Plot CPS Takeover to Clear Way for Bankruptcy: Reports, By Ted Cox and Kelly Bauer, January 20, 2016 8:16am, Updated January 20, 2016

Gov. Bruce Rauner wants the state to take over CPS so the district can declare bankruptcy, according to reports. Gov. Bruce Rauner wants the state to take over CPS so the district can declare bankruptcy, according to reports. View Full Caption DNAinfo/Ted Cox

THE LOOP Republican state leaders are proposing for the state to take over Chicago Public Schools in order to clear the way for the district to declare bankruptcy, according to published reports.

Republican legislative leaders state Rep. Jim Durkin (Western Springs) and state Sen. Christine Radogno (Lemont) were to unveil the proposal Wednesday, according to Politico.

The Tribune cited Gov. Bruce Rauner's support for the idea, adding that sources suggest that, if passed into law, CPS would then declare bankruptcy to free itself of its costly union contracts, including a pact under negotiation with the Chicago Teachers Union.

CPS Chief Executive Officer Forrest Claypool rejected the idea out of hand Wednesday.

"The governor is defending a school funding system that is separate but unequal," Claypool said. "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.

"The missing 5 percent represents nearly $500 million, the exact amount of our budget gap," he added. "Our children's futures are just as important as those in the suburbs and downstate. But the state does not value them equally."

Claypool called the proposal and Rauner's support "deeply irresponsible," pointing to how "CPS and the [teachers union] are working feverishly to reach a deal that would cut costs while preventing midyear layoffs."

Raise Your Hand, which advocates for public education in Illinois, called the plan a "direct attack" on teachers and said it would cause chaos for students and their families.

"Bruce Rauner doesn't have a clue about what's happening at CPS," said Huu Nguyen, who has children in CPS. "He's wanted to blow up the district for years, and that's why he's not offered one solution to actually helping stabilize the finances of our system.

"He can't even pass a budget, and now he's taking it out on the families and the children at CPS."

Nguyen was surrounded by other parents, all of them carrying signs that said, "Bruce, don't blow up CPS! Bankruptcy is not a solution." Among them was Jennie Biggs, a Raise Your Hand board member and a mom to three kids in CPS. She called Rauner's plan a "dystopian vision" that didn't align with research into education.

The plan is "window dressing to further privatize our schools," Biggs said. "I think it would put our whole entire system in chaos a lot of instability, a lot of uncertainty for our students, our teachers, families throughout the city."

Instead, the state needs to generate more revenue to help CPS, said Cassie Creswell of Raise Your Hand. The city can funnel some of the money from a TIF surplus to CPS, CPS could make cuts in its central office and "crony contracts" should be re-examined, Creswell said.

"It's gonna take something from CPS, the city and the state, and we don't need to blow up the district, we don't need to have this ridiculous bankruptcy thing floated," Creswell said. "That's not a solution."

Rauner was scheduled to take part in a blood drive at Union Station Downtown Wednesday morning.

CTU STATEMENT, VIA EMAIL, TO UNION MEMBERS JANUARY 20, 2016...

Today, Gov. Bruce Rauner-allied legislators promoted a wild plan to put Chicago Public Schools under state control and advocate bankruptcy for the district. They want to do for CPS what Gov. Rick Snyder did for Flint, Michigan. Our state has a governor who cannot pass a budget halfway through the fiscal year making noises in a desperate attempt to look relevant. We are confident thatlike the rest of his anti-union agendaRauners latest ploy has no traction with either the public or the legislature. As always, we will remain vigilant toward Springfield and continue our progress in promoting responsible policies among lawmakers.

The fight for our schools and our contract has been a long and complex engagement. The desperation of Rauner, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and their allies is evidence of our strength, as the governor hopes to take advantage of the mayor and the crises of his handpicked Chicago Board of Education to gain authority. As President Lewis said today, Rauner did not get elected emperor, he got elected governor. Thanks to our members efforts, Chicagoans more clearly grasp the role that Rauner and his friends have played in undermining our schools. With his plummeting approval rating, few Chicagoans or lawmakers will look to him as a savior of anything.

An unelected authority controlling our schools is exactly what we already have and what has driven us to this place. As we stated this morning, Instead of rejecting failed policy, the governor is doubling down and holding Illinois citizens hostage with his austerity agenda, which is why we continue to call for a tax on millionaires and the wealthy, for big banks to return money stolen through toxic swap deals, and for a tax increment financing (TIF) surplus to be declared immediately. United, the CTU will continue to stand strong for you, our schools and our jobs.

GRASSROOTS COLLABORATIVE RESPONSE BELOW HERE (Jan 20, 2016)...

GRASSROOTS COLLABORATIVE

637 S. DEARBORN, THIRD FLOOR CHICAGO, IL 60605

www. t h e g r a s s r o o t s c o l l a b o r a t i v e . o r g

Contact:

Nathan Ryan, (920) 445-3920, nathan@grassrootscollaborative.org

For Immediate Release

January 20, 2016

Illinois Republicans Attempt at Hostile Takeover of Chicago Public Schools Would Put Fox in Charge of Hen House

Both Illinois and Chicago Need Real Revenue Solutions, Not Political Gamesmanship

Chicago - On Wednesday, Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, despite still not being able to pass a state budget, introduced legislation aimed at taking control of Chicago Public Schools budget. This move is backed by Governor Rauner who has more than doubled Illinois deficit in his first year in office.

Governor Rauners attempt at a hostile takeover of Chicago Public Schools is yet another example of boardroom-style governance that has proven to be such a failure, stated Amisha Patel, Executive Director of Grassroots Collaborative. Governor Rauners approach hasnt worked for fixing the state budget and it wont work for Chicago Public Schools.

It is an outrageous proposal. We have had to implement layoffs and reduce services that our community needs because of the inability of the Rauner administration to pass a budget. Across the state social service providers are closing and families are suffering as a result. Governor Rauner has been unable to meet the states basic obligations and now he wants to be trusted with Chicagos schools? With his track record he shouldnt be allowed anywhere near our schools. said Jennifer Ritter, Executive Director of ONE Northside, a community organization on Chicagos north side that had to lay off 6 Ceasefire employees as a result of the budget impasse and is still owed $150,000 by the state.

Current school funding formulas have led to the under-resourcing of Chicago Schools, schools that employ the greatest number of Black and Latino educators and serve a large percentage of the states Black and Latino students. We need more democracy and accountability via an elected school board, not an extension of the current policy that moves decision making even further away from the Black and Latino communities most impacted by these policies.

Even without equitable resources from Springfield, Chicago Public Schools has many options to fill its budget deficit. A TIF Surplus bill has been introduced in Springfield and in the Chicago City Council that would move hundreds of millions of dollars from a Mayoral-controlled slush fund back into the school system. A new report by the ReFund America project released earlier this week shows how Chicago Public Schools, the City of Chicago, and the State of Illinois are being bled dry by Wall Street banks through predatory interest rate swap deals. The report shows that Chicago Public Schools has paid out $502 million on these bad bank deals, $22 million more than the current $480 million CPS budget shortfall. Chicago could take immediate action to renegotiate these deals.

As the impacts of the budget impasse continue to worsen, working families need real revenue solutions not the austerity plans being pushed by Mayor Emanuel and Governor Rauner.



Comments:

September 1, 2017 at 12:13 PM

By: Joe C. Jaycox

Inner-City Chicago children to Chicago Museums

To the Editors of Substance:

You grew up in Chicago and if you were from Highland Park,Park Ridge or Naperville your children visited Chicago world class museums at a very early age.

but............

If your kids were born in Englewood, Chatham or Pilsen they grew up without knowing that the best museums in the entire world were in their backyards because they grew up without ever knowing they were there !

To the Young Editors of Substance:

Don't get me wrong.....you are all so very smart and I love Tina Spondeles for her writing about Cardinal Cupich in the Sun Times GOLDEN RULES FOR SCHOOLS article.

But..........

it is time for you young people to listen to an old man with experience i.e. De La Salle H.S. De Paul U. U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Peace Corps (Venezuela 62-64) &

recipient of John F. Kennedy Award in Boston.

I am a product of the South Side of Chicago and if the sisters at St. Ambrose in Kenwood didn't take us to the Museum of Science & Industry when we were growing up we might never have known that the best science museum in the world was there but here is my message to you............

The visit to MSI changed our lives forever because instead of street corners and "hanging out" we shoveled snow and cut neighbor's grass to make money for 2 wheel bikes to go back to MSI many times in our youth.

For more info jjaycox@comcast.net

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