Rahm, Rauner trade barbs over Chicago Public Schools funding

ByLiz Nagy WLS logo
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Rahm Emanuel, Bruce Rauner trade barbs over school funding
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois governor Bruce Rauner exchanged pointed words Tuesday over funding for Chicago Public Schools.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayor Rahm Emanuel had sharp criticism for Governor Bruce Rauner Tuesday, over the call for more funding for Chicago Public Schools.

The mayor compared the governor to an old tale about an emperor.

Chance the Rapper's generous donation to CPS Monday doesn't come close to making up for the hundreds of millions of dollars Chicago schools need to finish the year. Tuesday, finger pointing between the mayor and the governor over who's to blame escalated to a full blown verbal fight.

"I think in the last 48 hours, everyone has come to the conclusion that the emperor wears no clothes. The governor," Emanuel said Tuesday.

Rauner's spokesperson fired back at the mayor, who is 5 ft. 8 in. tall, with a one line statement: "Sounds like someone has a Napoleon complex."

The breaking point was the teacher pension crisis that could shutter the city's public schools three weeks early.

"Everybody has tried to give him advice. Everybody walks out with the same thing, including Chance the Rapper. Just do your job," Emanuel said.

Last Friday the Grammy-winning rapper, Chicago native and CPS graduate from the South Side met privately with Rauner to discuss the funding crisis.

"Talks were unsuccessful," Chance said at a Monday news conference. "Governor Rauner still won't commit to giving Chicago's kids a chance without caveats and ultimatums."

"In terms of specifically getting more money for Chicago Public Schools, which was the primary topic of conversation, the critical thing is how we pay for it," Rauner said.

The governor vetoed a bill in December that would have given CPS the $215 million it needs for pension help, money that's already in the budget. Tuesday, his suggested for CPS pointed to Chicago's Tax Increment Financing Funds (TIFF).

In addition to proposing CPS use the city's TIFF funds, Rauner also offered the option of passing an independent pension reform bill separate from the Grand Bargain that's been debated in Springfield.

Mayor Emanuel simply said it's clear the governor has no plan.