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CPS won’t close early despite judge’s ruling

Saturday, Apr 29, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

[Comments now open.]

* Sun-Times

Chicago Public Schools will not close three weeks early, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Friday, even though the nearly bankrupt school district lost its bid for a court order mandating a change in what it calls a discriminatory school funding formula.

“The kids of the city of Chicago will be in school until the end of the year because that’s where they belong,” Emanuel said at a late afternoon news conference.

The mayor did not outline how he plans to keep CPS in session — or what source he may have found for a “bridge loan” needed to keep the doors open past June 1.

“We will be here working to find the resources,” he said.

* Tribune

Judge Franklin Ulyses Valderrama said that CPS could file an amended complaint by May 26. City and CPS officials were quick to praise sections of Valderrama’s 44-page ruling that carefully summarized the complexities of the case.

“The Court is not oblivious to the fiscal challenges confronting CPS,” Valderrama wrote. “To say that the State’s current scheme of funding public education is broken is to state the obvious. Plaintiffs’ Complaint, however, as constituted is not the vehicle to redress this inequity.”

Valderrama also wrote that the state’s argument that CPS could simply borrow more money to solve its problems was “eerily reminiscent” of the “let them eat cake” comment often attributed to the last French queen, Marie Antoinette, in response to the plight of her people.

One CPS official said that city and school authorities were debating whether to press ahead with the case.

Valderrama’s ruling represents a serious blow to CPS in its efforts to pressure the state to give it more money. District CEO Forrest Claypool persistently had warned the school year could end as early as June 1 without additional state funding.

The full ruling is here.

* You can click on all the images for a much better view. Here’s the “let them eat cake” passage

The Rauner administration’s argument is “starkly out of touch with reality.” Hmm.

* Now, to the gist of the ruling

In other words, the requested court action wouldn’t automatically obtain the result that CPS says it wants.

* This is pretty self explanatory

* Conclusion

Valderrama is a heckuva good judge.


  1. - Gooner - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 9:42 am:

    “Valderrrama is a heck of a good judge.”

    As somebody who appears before him relatively often, that’s absolutely true.

    He knows his stuff.

    Cook County judges get a bad rap. Yes, there are a few bad judges. However, particularly in Chancery, Cook County has some exceptional judges.

  2. - PublicServant - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 9:50 am:

    I wonder if this ruling will stop the “Corrupt Judges” meme now. Apparently they’re not all controlled by Madigan’s Chicago Machine. Who’da thunk.

  3. - Ward Heeler - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 9:57 am:

    Another way to interpret the judge’s ruling is to consider how poorly reasoned the city’s position was in its complaint. It is difficult to see how an objective court could have held for the city.

  4. - cdog - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 10:14 am:

    The more I keep track of CPS/Chicago position on this, the more it reminds me of a Lizzie Borden defense.

    So many of their problems are self-inflicted and it is very hard to have sympathy.

  5. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 10:18 am:

    Kiss that $215 million goodbye, Rahm.

  6. - Anonymous - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 10:18 am:

    Sometimes big firms like Jenner think that courts will rule
    In their favor based on their reputation and ignore how half-bakes their arguments are. Good judges see through this. How can they not even identify a discriminatory program or activity when that is the only thing the statute prohibits?

  7. - Gooner - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 10:31 am:

    Regarding Anon 10:18: I’ve never seen big firms get any particular break.

    In contrast, I have laughed while watching a partner and an associate seem to struggle to cover a routine status hearing.

    I always worked for medium to small firms. I recall at least once looking around the office for anybody in a suit available to step up at the last minute to cover something for me, not finding somebody, and then going to court to see opposing counsel sent two or three lawyers.

    We used to call those “Lassie motions” since a fairly smart collie could handle the court appearance: “Go get the order, Lassie! Good girl! Good dog! Who is the good dog?”

    I’m sure some large firms have talented lawyers. They must. The odds favor it.

  8. - Responsa - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 10:33 am:

    When there is no money and people like Rahm say in effect, “no worries, we will find the money and the schools will stay open” the urgency in people’s minds about the funding crisis once again is lost or muted. Do pols honestly not understand this?

  9. - Last Bull Moose - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 10:40 am:

    How many times can you cry “Wolf!” when no wolf shows up?

  10. - City Zen - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 10:53 am:

    I believe if Marie Antoinette were running things, she would’ve told CPS to “let them open charters.”

  11. - DuPage - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 10:57 am:

    Rahm, time to hold a referendum for the CPS tax rate. Your taxes are way lower then in the collar counties. If the people want more money for the schools, they will vote for it.

  12. - West Sider - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 11:16 am:

    - Gooner - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 9:42 am:

    “Valderrrama is a heck of a good judge.”

    As somebody who appears before him relatively often, that’s absolutely true.

    He knows his stuff.

    Cook County judges get a bad rap. Yes, there are a few bad judges. However, particularly in Chancery, Cook County has some exceptional judges.

  13. - Ron - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 12:35 pm:

    DuPage, the schools have plenty of money. Pensions are sucking up far too much though. While CPS spends signigicantly less on administration the the average IL school district, it spends 3x more than NYC and LA per student. That is outrageous. Time to allow municipal BK in Illinois.

  14. - JS Mill - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 12:43 pm:

    @Ron- you are the poster child for one trick pony!

  15. - Ron - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 12:56 pm:

    JS Mill, municipal BK will solve CPS problem. It’s very simple.

  16. - Demoralized - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 1:11 pm:

    ==municipal BK will solve CPS problem==

    You only want municipal BK so that they can renege on pensions. That’s always been your goal. To reduce worker pensions. Municipal BK is your only out.

  17. - Anonymous - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 1:17 pm:

    How many times can Claypool “cry wolf” before he gets re-assigned?

  18. - Ron - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 1:34 pm:

    CPS is insolvent for many reasons, including outrageous pensions. BK will allow the district to reorganize on a financially stable path.

  19. - Demoralized - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 1:39 pm:

    ==BK will allow the district to reorganize==

    And cut pensions. Just say it. That’s your goal I suspect.

  20. - Demoralized - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 1:40 pm:

    Also, I always find it humorous when someone says “outrageous pensions.” I’m constantly amazed by the people in the “I don’t have it so neither should you” crowd. If that’s your reason to oppose it then it’s a pretty pathetic reason.

  21. - Ron - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 1:43 pm:

    Demoralized, I don’t think cutting pensions is a fun thing to do, however, it is necessary. CPS is broke. The only way to fix it is a financial reorg through a BK filing. The bond holders will likely be much bigger losers than pensioners.

  22. - Demoralized - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 1:48 pm:

    And it seems that CPS made the argument I referenced above. Nobody else should get payment until they get theirs. It’s framed in terms of “fairness” but the result is punitive. And it was strange of them to argue, as the judge noted, that nobody would be hurt by such a remedy. The goal of such a ruling would be to create chaos. Blackmail the state into meeting CPS demands by bringing the entire education system down. School funding has always pitted district against district. This is just that fight on the extreme end of the spectrum.

  23. - Ron - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 1:51 pm:

    Anyone that really cares about the education of Chicago’s kids would be pro BK of CPS.

  24. - cdog - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 1:57 pm:

    CPS and the city of Chicago have no one to blame but themselves.

    If you allow your ship to be mismanaged, and even stolen from, all the while allowing games of footsies between petty tyrants with too much power, and then allow yourself to be tied to that same sinking ship…. Guess what? You sink.

    Bankruptcy. Try harder next time. Might get it right.

  25. - Ron - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 2:49 pm:

    BK is the answer for IL municipalities. If only Madigan would allow it.

  26. - Carhartt Representative - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 2:59 pm:

    This was the ultimate crying wolf. When CPS tells Springfield they’re broke they’ll have a little less credibility. It all adds up.

  27. - Ron - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 3:00 pm:

    CPS is insolvent CR. It is only a matter of time before a default occurs.

  28. - Demoralized - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 3:26 pm:

    ==BK is the answer for IL municipalities. ==

    I find it a bit odd that anyone would root for filing bankruptcy. Are we really advocating a public policy of letting BK be the answer when the questions get too hard? That’s not any public policy anyone should advocate.

  29. - Ron - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 3:58 pm:

    When we live in a state this poorly managed, BK is the answer. We should prosecute past governors and legislators too. But I’m sure that’s illegal. Can we at least not allow them state pensions?

  30. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 11:35 pm:

    CTU stood by and did not object when the city did not contribute to their pension fund for over a decade.

    Why were there no rallies protesting then?

    They were perfectly happy to pocket the pay raises that missed pension funding paid for.

    That is the reason CPS is broke now, they can’t afford to make their pension contribution.

    Do you think CTU should now share in the pain their failure to fight for pension funding is now causing them or should they have their cake and eat it too?

  31. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, May 2, 17 @ 7:30 am:

    ===Do you think CTU should now share in the pain their failure to fight for pension funding is now causing them or should they have their cake and eat it too?===

    Rauner thought Mayor Daley and Mayor Emanuel did such good jobs, he contributed to their campaigns, and when Rauner lived in Chicago, he supported Forrest Claypool, the Democrat, for Cook County President.

    This “CPS Failed” must be a new revelation?


    “share in the pain”

    Rauner wants Chicago students to feel pain?

    Welp, I’m glad you admit Rauner wa to to purposely hurt Chicago students instead of looking where solutions could be.

    “or should they have their cake and eat it too?”

    I didn’t know hurting Chicago students for $215 million was having cake and eating it too, that’s fun.

    Rauner wants pain, you applaud it. Thanks for “clearing” all that up, cake notwithstanding.

  32. - Leila Steward - Monday, May 8, 17 @ 7:45 pm:

    Oh boy i hope that case will be solve soon.

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