Rauner email: Half of CPS teachers ‘virtually illiterate’ – Chicago Tribune

21 Jul

Gov. Bruce Rauner once told some of Chicago’s wealthiest and most influential civic leaders that half of the Chicago Public Schools teachers “are virtually illiterate” and half of the city’s principals are “incompetent,” according to emails Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration released Thursday under a court order.

Rauner made the assertion five years ago when he was a wealthy private equity executive and an active participant in Chicago school reform. His emails were part of a discussion with affluent education reform activists connected to the Chicago Public Education Fund, including Penny Pritzker, now U.S. commerce secretary; billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin; Chicago investment executive Mellody Hobson; and Helen Zell, the wife of billionaire real estate magnate Sam Zell.

“Teacher evaluation is critically important, but in a massive bureaucracy with a hostile union, where 50% of principals are managerially incompetent and half of teachers are virtually illiterate, a complete multi-dimensional evaluation system with huge subjectivity in it will be attacked, manipulated and marginalized – the status quo will prevail,” Rauner wrote in a December 2011 email arguing for a strong system of teacher and principal evaluations in the district. “It’s much more critical that we develop a consistent, rigorous, objective, understandable measure and reporting system for student growth upon which all further evaluation of performance will depend.”

Asked about the governor’s characterization of Chicago educators, Rauner spokesman Lance Trover issued an apology. “Significant change can be frustratingly slow; this is especially true in public education. Many of us, at one time or another, have sent hastily crafted emails containing inaccurate or intemperate statements,” Trover’s statement said in part. “This particular email was sent out of frustration at the pace of change in our public school system. The governor regrets writing it and apologizes to CPS educators for making an unfair, untrue comment.”

Rauner’s remarks were included in a batch of emails the Chicago Tribune requested from Emanuel’s office last year in connection with its reporting about a CPS principal training program at the center of former district Superintendent Barbara Byrd-Bennett’s federal fraud conviction last year.

The mayor’s office either heavily redacted some of the messages or withheld them entirely. The news organization then sued the Emanuel administration, and this week Cook County Judge Anna Demacopoulos ruled the mayor’s office largely had violated the state’s open records laws and ordered City Hall to turn over the emails.

The Rauner emails were included in the release because they included a reference to the SUPES Academy, and the Tribune had sought messages connected to the corrupt principal training organization.

In his emails, Rauner made the case for more widespread reforms than had been considered by the education fund, a non-profit with a mission of improving public schools. Rauner recommended the fund do a “very deep-dive analysis of CPS strategic plan,” pick out the “most critical elements” and then focus “aggressively on effective implementation.”

Pritzker, a billionaire businesswoman who since has been tapped by President Barack Obama to serve as commerce secretary, pushed back on Rauner, the emails showed. Pritzker argued that projects the fund had chosen to back — including training district executives and improving classroom technology — were important, aligned with CPS initiatives, and endorsed by the district’s leadership, including then-Superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard.

Rauner countered in favor of more sophisticated research to overhaul the district and noted that other wealthy businessmen, including Los Angeles philanthropist Eli Broad and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, had failed to transform public schools despite spending millions.

“The good news and bad news is that dell/gates/broad have wasted close to $1 billion on public school improvement while we have only wasted less than $200 million in Chicago,” Rauner wrote. “We should be seeking their advice and coordination now – with our great mayor and solid management team, we should be aiming for world-class transformation.”

Rauner’s reference to Emanuel as a “great mayor” has some irony now, as the two friends who once vacationed together have spent much of the last year sparring over the future of CPS and its precarious finances.The governor has a long history of railing against the Chicago Teachers Union, both as a citizen and politician.Appearing at a panel discussion in September 2012 as teachers were on strike, Rauner outlined a long-term plan to try to split “good teachers” from organized labor’s grasp using the issues of evaluations and merit pay.

“The good teachers know they’ll do fine. They’ve got the confidence. I’ve talked to them. I know,” Rauner told an audience of business and political leaders at a seminar held jointly by the Dallas-based President George W. Bush Institute and the right-leaning Illinois Policy Institute. “It’s the weak teachers. It’s the lousy, ineffective, lazy teachers that — unfortunately there are a number of those — they’re the ones that the union is protecting and that’s where there’s a conflict of interest between the good teachers and the union bosses.”

A week earlier, Rauner penned an opinion piece for the Chicago Tribune saying the strike “provides us all with a clear opportunity to examine the grossly inadequate performances of many public school teachers and highlight and reward the great performances of other teachers.”

“I have sat in a CPS math class and watched division being taught incorrectly. I have seen the standardized test scores of CPS teachers that indicate many of them aren’t even capable of scoring 21 on the ACT, the absolute minimum score needed to be ready for college. How can we believe that these teachers can prepare our children for success?” Rauner wrote.

Rauner also has publicly lamented how little his donations have done to improve education.

“My wife and I have spent more than $20 million trying to donate to teacher training, principal development, charter schools,” he told an education conference in 2012. “And I would say probably 80 percent of the dollars that we donated have been wasted. Lost. No result.”

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis has fired back over the years, including a controversial address in April.

“Rauner is the new ISIS recruit,” Lewis said in an address at a packed City Club of Chicago luncheon, using a term that refers to the Islamic State terrorist group.

“Yes, I said it, and I’ll say it again,” Lewis continued. “Bruce Rauner is a liar. And, you know, I’ve been reading in the news lately all about these ISIS recruits popping up all over the place — has Homeland Security checked this man out yet? Because the things he’s doing look like acts of terror on poor and working-class people.”

The Tribune’s FOIA request that sought the emails was centered on the city’s handling of the contract with the SUPES Academy. The two co-owners of the academy, Thomas Vranas and Gary Solomon, were accused in federal court in Chicago of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to Byrd-Bennett while she was schools CEO in exchange for steering no-bid contracts to their company.

Byrd-Bennett pleaded guilty in October to a single federal count of wire fraud. She faces up to about 7 1/2 years in prison when she is sentenced, but her sentencing has been postponed until the charges against Solomon and Vranas are resolved.

Vranas pleaded guilty in April to one count of conspiracy to commit federal program bribery. He faces up to five years in prison. Solomon has pleaded not guilty but reportedly has been negotiating a deal with prosecutors.

At the same time, the Chicago Board of Education is seeking more than $65 million in damages and penalties in a lawsuit against Byrd-Bennett, Vranas and Solomon. SUPES Academy and Synesi Associates, education consulting companies owned by Vranas and Solomon that won more than $23 million in no-bid contracts, are also named in that suit.

Source: Rauner email: Half of CPS teachers ‘virtually illiterate’ – Chicago Tribune


AP Sources: Clinton VP Search Focus Is Kaine, Vilsack, Perez – The New York Times

20 Jul

WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential search is centering on three main contenders, with an announcement expected as soon as Friday as the Democrat prepares for her party’s national convention next week in Philadelphia.

Democrats familiar with the search say Clinton’s campaign has focused in recent days on Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, a former governor, mayor and one-time Catholic missionary fluent in Spanish; Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, an ex-Iowa governor and longtime Clinton ally; and Labor Secretary Tom Perez, a progressive champion who would be the first Hispanic on a major-party ticket.

The Democrats cautioned that Clinton had not yet reached a final decision and was weighing a number of factors, including the person’s readiness to be president, personal compatibility and ability to help her administration govern.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a favorite of liberals, remains in the mix and offers the campaign a fundraising juggernaut and the tantalizing prospect of an all-female ticket. But Warren is not expected to be the final choice, said the Democrats familiar with the process. They spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private discussions about the search process.

Clinton’s choice will be the culmination of a closely held search for a running mate, run by a small group of longtime advisers and confidantes.

Preparing for a showdown with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, Clinton has sought to project an inclusive campaign aimed at “breaking down barriers and building bridges” to mobilize the diverse coalition of voters who twice elected President Barack Obama.

Clinton is expected to announce her decision during a two-day campaign swing in Florida later this week. The vice presidential rollout could come at either a Friday rally at the state fairgrounds in Tampa or at a Saturday rally at Florida International University in Miami, where two-thirds of the student body is Hispanic.

Following next week’s Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, the newly minted ticket is expected to embark on a campaign bus tour, reminiscent of the “First 1,000 Miles” convoy that took Bill Clinton, Al Gore and their spouses across eight states after the party’s 1992 convention.

Democrats familiar with the process said Trump’s choice of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, a conservative former congressman, for the GOP ticket was not viewed as requiring her to choose a specific running mate in response. Campaign officials declined to comment.

Kaine has been considered a leading contender for weeks based on his broad experience in Virginia, a presidential battleground state, as governor, senator and mayor of Richmond. He also served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee and as a lawyer working on fair housing and civil rights issues.

Vilsack, the longest-serving member of Obama’s Cabinet, has known Clinton for many years — his late brother-in-law worked with her in the early 1970s — and she was among his most prominent surrogates in his come-from-behind gubernatorial victory in 1998.

Perez, meanwhile, is highly regarded by the White House for his policy chops and could potentially galvanize Latinos who have been turned off by Trump’s harsh rhetoric about Hispanics. The son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Perez played a behind-the-scenes role as a federal prosecutor, a top aide to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and the head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division.

Both Vilsack and Kaine have been through the process before. Vilsack was among the final group considered by John Kerry in 2004 and Kaine was vetted by Obama’s team four years later. If either Vilsack or Perez were selected, they would be required to resign from Obama’s Cabinet.

Clinton’s decision will be steeped in her personal experience. She was involved in her husband’s selection of Gore in 1992 and has the unique vantage point of having seen up close the various roles played by the vice president.

In an interview this week with Charlie Rose of CBS News, Clinton said her main criterion was “would this person be a good president? You know, I am afflicted with the responsibility gene and I know what it’s like being president.”

Quizzed on potential running mates, Clinton noted that Kaine had “never lost an election” and was a “world-class mayor, governor and senator.” She said Warren had “put the agenda of inequality front and center.”

Clinton also praised retired Adm. James Stavridis, a former NATO supreme allied commander, calling him “exceptional.”

Other possible choices include Housing Secretary Julian Castro, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker. Clinton met with Castro, Hickenlooper and Warren at her Washington home on Friday.

Source: AP Sources: Clinton VP Search Focus Is Kaine, Vilsack, Perez – The New York Times

Education Matters: I can’t stand it when the entitled son of a billionaire complains about teachers

20 Jul

I sincerely and seriously doubt Donald Trump Jr has ever stepped foot in a public school and the depth of his knowledge comes from his hedge fund manager friends looking to profit off of them. The thing I wonder is why he chose to attack public school teachers and public schools, the institution that has arguably led to America’s greatness.

During his speech he could have tackled a whole host of red meat to the base subjects but instead he went after school teachers. He blamed them for many of the nation’s problems. You know all those middle class workers with their ten year old cars, crippling student loans and practically no say in the education process, they are the ones and selfishly at that letting America down.

He and sadly he is not alone does not understand that teachers and public schools are often put in no-win situations where success is elusive. Trump blaming them does not address the problems. Neither does funneling children into profit centers charter schools and unregulated and mostly religious voucher schools, Trumps solution is nothing but a recipe for disaster.

Are there issues in education? Yes, but the truth is most of them, high stakes testing, a lack of resources, unproven curriculums and blame the teacher policies are all to often initiated by those who would dismantle public schools. It’s not public schools that are letting America down, it is America that is letting its public schools and its children down.

Donald Trump Jr on day two of the republican national convention went after school teachers, he made them the enemy and I hope they all remember that come the election.

Source: Education Matters: I can’t stand it when the entitled son of a billionaire complains about teachers

Judge tosses Rauner-backed Illinois redistricting referendum from ballot – Chicago Tribune

20 Jul

A Cook County judge on Wednesday tossed from the ballot a proposed state constitutional amendment aimed at removing much of the politics from legislative redistricting.

Judge Diane Larsen found that the referendum question put forth by the Independent Maps group was written in a way that violates the Illinois Constitution. The ruling means that, as of now, the question won’t appear before voters Nov. 8.

The ruling hands an initial victory to forces with ties to Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, who has maintained his hold on power at the Capitol for more than three decades in part because he’s had the power to draw the boundaries of legislative districts. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, Madigan’s chief nemesis, supports the ballot question.

The issue isn’t over, however, as both sides in the case expect it will wind up before the Illinois Supreme Court because the ruling hinged on whether the proposal fits the small window for petition-driven initiatives changing the state’s primary governing document.

Backers of the map proposal gathered enough signatures to qualify for a spot on the fall ballot. The amendment would create a complex, multistep process in which an 11-member board, including representatives of the four legislative leaders, would be charged with drawing new boundaries for Illinois’ 118 House and 59 Senate seats after the once-a-decade federal census.

Seven votes would be needed for approval of a new map, including at least two members from each political party and three independents.

Currently, it’s up to the legislature to redraw district boundaries, creating a winner-take-all mapmaking process for either Democrats, as is currently the case, or Republicans in previous decades.

The Illinois Constitution only allows petition-driven amendments that affect “structural” and “procedural” changes to the legislature.

Supporters argued altering the mapmaking process fit the very definition of structural and procedural change. But opponents questioned the validity of the proposal since it would assign new duties to the state auditor general and Supreme Court — issues outside the scope of the legislative article of the constitution. The auditor general and Supreme Court’s duties are assigned in separate articles of the governing document.

Larsen agreed with the opponents’ argument.

The Independent Map group has raised more than $4 million, including $500,000 each from Allstate Insurance and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, a charitable trust established after the death of the longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune that promotes civic engagement.

Other donors include $225,000 from wealthy businessman Lester Crown and $100,000 each from Citadel hedge fund founder Ken Griffin and Sam Zell, the businessman who acquired Tribune Co. only to have the media firm file for bankruptcy not long afterward.

The People’s Map, a group of prominent racial and ethnic businessmen, are leading the legal challenge to the map with Michael Kasper serving as their lead lawyer. Kasper is legal counsel for the state Democratic Party and a longtime ally of its chairman, Speaker Madigan.

Madigan aides have said the speaker is not involved in the lawsuit. State Board of Elections records show the People’s Map as having no donations or expenditures since 2015.

The only petition-driven initiative to make the ballot, and ultimately succeed, was the “Cutback Amendment” offered by Pat Quinn decades before he became governor. The amendment, which took effect with the 1982 election, reduced the size of the Illinois House from 177 members, three to a district, to 118 members running in single-member districts.

Some have contended Quinn’s proposal not only decreased competition for legislative seats but also enshrined more power in the four partisan leaders of the House and Senate over their members.

Source: Judge tosses Rauner-backed Illinois redistricting referendum from ballot – Chicago Tribune

What are Illinois’ real pension options now? – Blogs On Politics – Crain’s Chicago Business

18 Jul

Though the subject of state pension reform has sort of dropped from the headlines lately, buried by tons of other news, the reality is just as big and ugly as ever, with unfunded liability in Illinois’ five pension systems alone hitting $111 billion as of Dec. 31.

Now comes a new paper on what realistically can—and can’t—be done about it from a guy who in some ways has been the most accurate pension prognosticator in the state.

He’s Eric Madiar, who as chief counsel to Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, correctly predicted that courts would turn thumbs down on a plan pushed by Speaker Mike Madigan and others to unilaterally cut benefits and raise costs for workers.

In his view, there’s still a way to cut costs, somewhat, though others strongly disagree. He also sees promise in buying out annuitants and workers with lump-sum payments, or shifting some costs from the state down to local school districts.

But other proposed solutions, including amending the state constitution or allowing local units of government such as Chicago Public Schools or the city itself to go bankrupt, aren’t likely to work even if they made into law, he asserts.

Madiar outlines his views and takes a good look at how we got where we are in an article in the new issue of Illinois Public Employee Relations Report, published by IIT Chicago Kent College of Law and the University of Illinois School of Labor and Employment.

Madiar starts by looking at how the Illinois Supreme Court rejected both a state pension fix and one for the city of Chicago. Both became law, with the state arguing that it had a right to use its “police powers” to reduce payments, and the city asserting that was offering new guarantees in exchange for lesser benefits. But the court pretty much laughed, saying the Illinois Constitution means what it says when it describes pensions as a contractual right that “cannot be diminished or impaired.”

Madiar sees more hope in a plan pushed by Cullerton and backed by Gov. Bruce Rauner to force workers to chose between keeping their 3 percent annual compounded pension cost-of-living hike or having their wages frozen for pension purposes at today’s level.

His argument: Since no one is guaranteed a raise, except perhaps as a result of collective bargaining, the state has every right to put strings on future raises, i.e. a lesser COLA.

Labor groups have laughed at that, and I suspect they’re right. Refusing anyone a raise indefinitely unless they cave on pensions comes pretty close to extortion, in my book.

But the legal theory has enough going for it that it could make its way through the General Assembly as part of a budget/tax-hike deal next year.

Madiar also plugs another idea that quite probably would pass legal muster. That’s offering workers a choice between keeping their pension rights (and wondering if the state or city really is able to pay) or taking lump sum a buy-out of, say, 75 cents on the dollar.

If just one worker in five in the state’s largest pension funds took such a deal, the state would save $160 million a year and $7 billion total over term, Madiar says. That’s not huge, but it’s something.

For those who want to hold out for something bigger, Madiar looks at amending the constitution and passing a law to allow local-government bankruptcy.

The first isn’t constitutional, Madiar argues, since it is premised on the same “police powers” theory the court already has rejected. And bankruptcy effectively would overrule the will of voters who approved the state constitution, knowing that it made pensions a right effectively guaranteed by a first lien on state resources.

Read it for yourself. But it’s a good summary of one particularly informed view of the state of the Illinois pension world. And remember: If something doesn’t happen, both the state and city will have no choice but to pay until the pensioners are made whole.

Illinois Public Employee Relations Report

Source: What are Illinois’ real pension options now? – Blogs On Politics – Crain’s Chicago Business

Tell Your Legislators to Open Schools on Time!

28 Jun

Use this link to email your legislators now:

Contact Your Legislators Now!

On Wednesday, the Illinois General Assembly will consider legislation that, if passed into law, will ensure that all public schools will be able to open on schedule in the 2016-17 school year.

IEA members statewide should contact their senators and representatives and tell them to pass SB2054, the education funding bill and SB 2056, the appropriation bill for colleges and universities.

  • SB2054 will increase General State Aid for education by more than $760 million, and provide an additional $75 million in early childhood education funding. Just as important, passing SB2054 will ensure that PreK-12 schools will open on schedule in the next fiscal year.
  • SB2056 authorizes $1 billion for higher education, allowing financially starved colleges and universities to get from 82 to 90 percent of the current year’s funding. In addition, SB2056 will fully fund MAP grants for the current fiscal year.

The first step toward getting our state back on track is to pass the education funding bills, SB2054 and SB2056.

Use this link to email your legislators now:

Contact Your Legislators Now!

Please share this email with all your colleagues and friends.

Help wanted: Districts dealing with dearth of teacher applicants | News-Gazette.com

26 Jun

In 2012, St. Joseph-Ogden High School listed an opening for one PE teacher. More than 150 eligible candidates applied for the job.

Three years later, the district that’s home to fewer than 500 students went looking for another gym teacher. The pool this time? Eighteen.

“This is a significant drop in the span of three years,” said longtime SJ-O principal-turned-superintendent Brian Brooks.

“The stories I am hearing from other school districts within the past year in regards to the lack of applicants is extremely concerning for all schools moving forward and most importantly, very concerning for the students in those schools.”

The story is a familiar one across East Central Illinois:

— Five years ago, the only teaching opening in the K-8 Prairieview-Ogden district attracted 60 applicants. Last year, only a “handful” of people applied for a classroom teaching job, PV-O Superintendent Vic White said.

— Last summer, few qualified candidates went after a high school Spanish teacher opening at Heritage, forcing Superintendent Tom Davis to get “aggressive” and eventually recruit a nonapplicant to come to Broadlands.

— Two people applied for a recent industrial technology teaching opening in Arthur.

— And a special education position with Rantoul City Schools stayed open throughout the first semester of this past school year before Superintendent Michelle Ramage filled it in January with a midyear graduate.

The rest of the state is suffering, too.

Continue reading: Help wanted: Districts dealing with dearth of teacher applicants | News-Gazette.com

Gov. Bruce Rauner, you’ve proved Crain’s editorial board wrong – Opinion – Crain’s Chicago Business

26 Jun

Back in 2014, when Crain’s endorsed Bruce Rauner in the primary and general elections, we saw him as a pragmatic businessman who would bring long-overdue solutions to a state government in serious need of reform.

We agreed that a shake-up was most definitely in order, and we agreed with many of the ideas Rauner championed, including workers’ compensation reforms, fairer taxes, a sensible solution to the state’s pension crisis, less red tape, increased spending on education and reinvigorating the state’s economic development agency.

At the time, we were skeptical that the governor could accomplish much with a Democratic-controlled Legislature. But Rauner assured us that he’d dedicate himself to persuading his opponents—and he promised he would wield his executive powers to work around House Speaker Michael Madigan if he had to.

Madigan, of course, bears the lion’s share of responsibility for the mess Illinois is in, thanks to his decades in power. But Madigan is not the governor. Rauner is. And there’s no way to deny it: By nearly every measure, the state is worse off since Rauner took office. Pension liabilities now top $110 billion and are rising by the minute. The stack of unpaid bills is ballooning, turning Illinois into a notorious deadbeat. Vital social service agencies are being cut. Students are abandoning the state’s universities. Illinois’ credit rating hovers just above junk-bond range. We’re in Year Two without a budget—and the best hope for one is months away, after the Nov. 8 election.

In short, Illinois needs fixing more than ever. No matter how beneficial Rauner’s idea of reform might be for the state’s economy long term, what he’s doing to get there is not working.

Read More: Gov. Bruce Rauner, you’ve proved Crain’s editorial board wrong – Opinion – Crain’s Chicago Business

Morning Spin: Rauner spells out what it would take to cut budget deal with Democrats – Chicago Tribune

21 Jun

Gov. Bruce Rauner typically has been unwilling to offer specifics about what he would accept as concessions from Democrats for a grand bargain on the state budget.

For more than a year, his requirements often have been presented vaguely as some combination of the items in his turnaround agenda, which includes new limits on workers’ compensation benefits, new rules for civil lawsuits, a property tax freeze coupled with provisions that allow local governments to decide what gets collectively bargained, term limits on elected officials and new rules for drawing political maps. Along the way, the governor has added to the mix a proposal to help fix the state’s pension problem.

Rauner visited Tribune Tower on Monday and offered a clearer picture of what he would accept.

Changes to the rules on civil lawsuits, commonly referred to as “tort reform” is “off the table, for now,” Rauner said.

“The biggies,” Rauner said, are changes to workers’ compensation, the property tax freeze with collective bargaining provisions and legislation to alleviate the pension problem. Asked if that would be enough for him to strike a deal with Democrats, Rauner said: “Yeah, sure.”

That Rauner has set his sights on those items is no secret. There are working groups of lawmakers debating those topics now, and he’s focused much of his public comments on the three items in recent weeks. Still, it was the first time we’ve heard Rauner say specifically what would satisfy his general call for “reforms” alongside a budget deal that includes spending cuts and tax hikes.

Rauner’s answer might provide more clarity to casual observers of the budget impasse, but it’s unlikely to motivate Democratic lawmakers, who say they’ve lost trust in the governor because of his shifting rhetoric over the past year. Also, many Democrats are opposed to the workers’ compensation and collective bargaining proposals, which they contend would hurt the middle class. (Kim Geiger)

Source: Morning Spin: Rauner spells out what it would take to cut budget deal with Democrats – Chicago Tribune

Gov. Rauner: Bankruptcy for CPS Might Be ‘Best Option’ | Chicago Tonight | WTTW

21 Jun

Could Chicago Public Schools declare bankruptcy? Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday renewed his call for possible bankruptcy protection during a sit-down interview with “Chicago Tonight.”

The governor says bankruptcy may indeed be the best of all options CPS faces now with a billion dollar shortfall. He says he does not support sending hundreds of millions more dollars from the state, and says it would amount to a bailout. He’s proposed an education budget that gives about the same dollar amount to CPS this year as last year. But, he says, the bankruptcy option should be back on the table.

“The mayor has said, we just need a bailout from the state,” the governor said Monday morning during a one-on-one interview at the State of Illinois Building. “Not fair, not appropriate. Really, the mayor has three options: One, get a more affordable teachers’ union contract. But he caved five years ago and I don’t think he’s ready to get a better contract. He could do a tax hike in Chicago. The teachers’ union and some community leaders want that. What I’ve said is we should change state law and allow a financially troubled district to have bankruptcy and go into court and have a judge help them re-organize their debt, their obligations and their contracts. That might be the best option for CPS.”

The state legislature would have to pass a bill allowing that. It is extremely unlikely with a supermajority of Democrats. In the last 60 years, only four school districts have declared bankruptcy, with only two small districts actually following through with it, according to Jim Spiotto with Chapman Strategic Advisors, who has written extensively about on this topic. And in those cases, it was unanimous that there were more problems than solutions with bankruptcy.

“Chapter 9 of a school district is a cloud on the community that likely will prevent progress,” Spiotto concludes. “Experience has shown that Chapter 9 has rarely been used by school districts for good reasons.”

His conclusion: best to solve the problem without it. A CPS spokesperson responded with this statement:

“Rather than invest in our state’s future, Governor Rauner seems hellbent on driving schools to the point of financial ruin – whether it’s CPS, Chicago State, Eastern Illinois, or dozens of local school districts around the state.”

Read More> Gov. Rauner: Bankruptcy for CPS Might Be ‘Best Option’ | Chicago Tonight | WTTW

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