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*** UPDATED x1 *** Get ready for more heated rhetoric

Monday, Feb 27, 2017

* Sun-Times

Chicago Public Schools has asked a Cook County judge on Monday to fast-track the district’s civil rights lawsuit against the state of Illinois, warning of dire consequences for students if a funding issue isn’t resolved quickly.

More than $100 million in the red and on the hook for a $721 million teacher pension payment in June, CPS said it could cut the school year as short as June 1 if money doesn’t come through soon from the state. Students typically end school a few weeks later.

The district recently filed a civil rights lawsuit against Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Illinois State Board of Education, alleging that the state’s ways of funding schools and pensions created “separate but unequal” schools systems in which CPS, whose students are predominantly poor and minority, get less money than their wealthier, white counterparts elsewhere in the state.

District officials are asking Judge Franklin Valderrama to issue a ruling before the end of April.

Forrest Claypool has scheduled a 4 o’clock press conference today, so I’m assuming he’ll blame a potentially shortened school year on Gov. Rauner. The school year had been scheduled to end June 20th.

* There’s lots of Rauner-blaming in the CPS motion. For instance

As a first step toward ending the State’s discriminatory funding of teacher pension obligations, on June 30, 2016, the Illinois House amended Senate Bill 2822 to include an additional State contribution of $215 million to assist CPS to meet its required Fiscal Year 2017 teacher pension payment of $721 million. Even that $215 million pension funding for CPS would stand in stark contrast to the State’s projected Fiscal Year 2017 payment to TRS of $4.0 billion. Amended Senate Bill 2822 passed both houses of the General Assembly.

But on December 1, 2016, Governor Rauner vetoed the bill. Governor Rauner stated that he had agreed to support the bill only if the General Assembly agreed to his other demands on legislation having nothing to do with CPS. As a result, CPS’s children - 90% children of color - are at risk of forever losing their one chance in life to receive a quality education. Prior to the veto, CPS already had taken drastic measures to meet its budget obligations and educate its students. At the end of Fiscal Year 2013, CPS had a positive general operating fund balance of $949 million. By the end of Fiscal Year 2016, CPS had depleted all of that reserve and ended with a negative general operating fund balance of $127 million. In other words, CPS’s general operating fund balance has declined by $1.1 billion in just three years. Over that same time period, CPS made required pension payments totaling $1.9 billion. In that same three years, the State’s discriminatory funding has shortchanged CPS by $1.1 billion. […]

The February 22 budget cuts do not fill the $215 million hole created by Governor Rauner’s veto. If CPS must re-balance its budget by making additional cuts, those cuts will be even more painful. If CPS ends the school year on June 1 - instead of June 20 - students will receive fewer days of instruction. If students are not in class, they forever lose those days of learning. There is no way to compensate for missed time in the classroom. If CPS eliminates summer school for grade-school and middle-school students, those children will not receive the additional instruction they require to get on track. Those children are at risk of falling even farther behind.

*** UPDATE ***  From Illinois Secretary of Education Beth Purvis…

As children statewide continue to be impacted by the state’s broken school funding formula, now is the time for CEO Claypool to engage in a constructive process to pass a balanced budget with changes that would help schools across the state, including those in Chicago.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

26 Comments
  1. - John Rawl - Monday, Feb 27, 17 @ 3:56 pm:

    The rhetoric is nothing compared to what Mayor Karen Lewis will say…


  2. - No Bailout - Monday, Feb 27, 17 @ 3:57 pm:

    Maybe CPS should have thought about all of this debt piling up when they went along with the City to skip the pension payment 17 times. Don’t even want to hear from CTU who rolled along with them on this fiscal disaster train.


  3. - wordslinger - Monday, Feb 27, 17 @ 3:58 pm:

    Shouldn’t Rauner ask for all those hundreds of thousands he donated to Claypool, considering Claypool couldn’t beat a dying man in a coma?


  4. - Echo The Bunnyman - Monday, Feb 27, 17 @ 4:00 pm:

    Here’s the core of everything PR wise. The whole game. Will the public blame the guy that’s been in for 3 years? Or the years of mis management? This could be the worst possible news for AFSCME. Kids will get the sympathy if there’s any to give.


  5. - Hit or Miss - Monday, Feb 27, 17 @ 4:02 pm:

    Rather than spend lots more money on attorney fees with an uncertain outcome, CPS just needs to increase property taxes in Chicago to fund its spending plans.


  6. - NeverPoliticallyCorrect - Monday, Feb 27, 17 @ 4:19 pm:

    Gotta love Illinois politicians and civic leaders. Always blame someone else for your troubles. CPS has no one to blame but the mayors of Chicago and their school board for this mess. Before we give them one penny we should demand that the district be reformed, taken out of the hands of the mayor and Karen Lewis and that the number of schools be sized to the current population.


  7. - wordslinger - Monday, Feb 27, 17 @ 4:31 pm:

    –CPS has no one to blame but the mayors of Chicago and their school board for this mess. Before we give them one penny we should demand that the district be reformed, taken out of the hands of the mayor and Karen Lewis and that the number of schools be sized to the current population. –

    Does this state takeover come with state accountability and responsibility?

    Geez, it was just a few years ago that Citizen Rauner thought that CPS was doing a swell job. That’s why he kept throwing so much campaign money at Daley and Emanuel, and got hooked up with his own taxpayer-funded charter network.

    Wha’ happen? Where did the love go?

    I bet you have no idea at all about any of Rauner’s deep hooks into CPS before he became governor.


  8. - Rogue Roni - Monday, Feb 27, 17 @ 4:35 pm:

    “Kids will get the sympathy if there’s any to give.”

    Didn’t know sympathy was a zero sum game


  9. - Echo The Bunnyman - Monday, Feb 27, 17 @ 4:46 pm:

    Rogue. I meant compared to AFSCME….the other news of the day.


  10. - A guy - Monday, Feb 27, 17 @ 4:48 pm:

    Illinois; the Judicial State.
    Not much different than the Legislature that helped install the keepers and protectors of Lady Justice.
    Ugh.


  11. - Rogue Roni - Monday, Feb 27, 17 @ 4:50 pm:

    Echo. I meant people can have sympathy for more than one cause.


  12. - JS Mill - Monday, Feb 27, 17 @ 4:58 pm:

    =As a first step toward ending the State’s discriminatory funding of teacher pension obligations, =

    This was a CPS/Daley choice in exchange for autonomy to run the schools however they wanted.

    Probably should say Daley/CPS choice. Either way, people forget that. At the time their pension was better than 100% funded.

    Institutions are perpetual, not about a point in time or person.But politicians seem to only live in the now and are concerned what can i get out of this.

    This is prime example of why we need legislative reform and not pension reform.


  13. - Anon - Monday, Feb 27, 17 @ 5:00 pm:

    ===Maybe CPS should have thought about all of this debt piling up when they went along with the City to skip the pension payment 17 times.===

    Moot point. Chicago must fund it’s own pension. Every other school district’s pension is funded by state tax revenues — including those revenues collected from folks living in Chicago.

    Your argument basically acknowledges that the funding is unequal from the get go — you might as well be screaming “Illinois has racist allocation of funding!”


  14. - Echo The Bunnyman - Monday, Feb 27, 17 @ 5:05 pm:

    Although the words of Dr. Purvis are true. Her making them is full of irony.


  15. - DuPage Saint - Monday, Feb 27, 17 @ 5:07 pm:

    The whole state wide funding system seems broken to me. I believe the Illinois Constitution requires the State to provide the primary funding and this has been held to be aspirational and not a mandate.
    However this suit says Chicago children get less but is that not the city’s fault? I believe the city schools actually get more state money than a rich district like Hinsdale or New Trier. So let the city increase the property tax and pay for their own schools like the suburbs who bear a much larger property tax burden than Chicago. Then figure out a fair system for all.


  16. - blue dog dem - Monday, Feb 27, 17 @ 5:23 pm:

    To a previous post. Drop HS PE. Then drop Drivers Ed. Then follow the European and Asian education models and drop school sponsored sports. Until then I don’t care what happens to CPS.


  17. - Chris - Monday, Feb 27, 17 @ 5:32 pm:

    “the suburbs who bear a much larger property tax burden than Chicago”

    As soon as Hinsdale and New Trier build their “share” of public housing…


  18. - @MisterJayEm - Monday, Feb 27, 17 @ 5:34 pm:

    “As children statewide continue to be impacted by…”

    How do you tell if someone is an educator or a corporate drone?

    If they’ve learned when to use ‘affect’ vs ‘effect’?
    It’s an educator.

    If they punt and use ‘impacted’?
    Well…

    – MrJM


  19. - JS Mill - Monday, Feb 27, 17 @ 5:50 pm:

    =Moot point. =

    No, it is actually the point. CPS traded (although they received some offset) pension funding for a huge amount of independence.

    It was purposeful and intentional. By statute, the ISBE has very little oversight over CPS. They have an entire set of rules that do not apply to anyone else.

    And then there is the CPS Block Grant. If the received their state funding through the regular process (formula) they would receive significantly less based on available local resources and actual attendance.

    CPS has huge challenges, but to somehow argue that they are being discriminated against or that the balance is tipped against them is totally false. They have money issues and like a person that is drowning, they will grasp at anything to stay afloat, even a false argument.


  20. - Echo The Bunnyman - Monday, Feb 27, 17 @ 6:14 pm:

    JS. It’s even better when you think about how CPS got everything they wanted. First slice of grant pie, independence, and no real ISBE oversight. It was great they got all they asked for until now. When the spending catches up. Close a third of the schools. No more neighborhood schools. You want back in the state. Submit and be accountable for attendance reflecting funding like the rest of the state.


  21. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Feb 27, 17 @ 6:19 pm:

    Only in Rauner Fantasy Land is the CEO of CPS responsible for the state budget.


  22. - Anonymous - Monday, Feb 27, 17 @ 6:22 pm:

    ==- NeverPoliticallyCorrect - Monday, Feb 27, 17 @ 4:19 pm:==

    How dumb are you?

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-05-23/news/chi-chicago-school-closings-20130522_1_chicago-teachers-union-byrd-bennett-one-high-school-program


  23. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Feb 27, 17 @ 7:03 pm:

    JS Mill, and CPS/CTPF/CTU took that “offset” of which you speak, ONE BILLION DOLLARS, and spent it on health care subsidies for “selected” retirees. CTPF is lucky the IRS is understaffed or they could have lost their qualified plan status.


  24. - Lincoln Lad - Monday, Feb 27, 17 @ 8:00 pm:

    Anybody seen Rahm? Seems Claypool is on a solo flight on this…


  25. - W Flag - Tuesday, Feb 28, 17 @ 7:20 am:

    It is so sad that the entire strategy is a publicity stunt predicated upon finding an activist judge to issue a decision that breaks with existing Illinois case precedents and then hope that the Illinois Supreme Court votes on a party line basis and overturns its own past decisions.

    If the effort fails, what is the next step?


  26. - City Zen - Tuesday, Feb 28, 17 @ 8:19 am:

    ==As soon as Hinsdale and New Trier build their “share” of public housing…==

    I wasn’t aware Hinsdale had a large population of doctors, lawyers, and futures traders living in squlaor. Are we plowing over their McMansions and replacing them with Kremlin-style apartments now?


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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