CPS CEO: Governor is to blame for budget problems

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Governor Bruce Rauner blames Chicago Public School's budget problems on the city's mayor, but the head of CPS said it's the governor's fault for vetoing a school funding bill.

The stalemate is leaving many Chicago students and teachers in the dark about the end of the school year.

On Wednesday, Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool fired back at Governor Bruce Rauner for the CPS budget deficit.

Some teachers, union members and parents that don't want Chicago schools to close early this year voiced their opinions.

"I'm not here to say who is right or wrong, knock it off, get these kids educated, keep Chicago Public Schools Open," Diane Palmer, SEIU, said.

Claypool has threatened to close schools at the end of May nearly three weeks early because of a more than $200 million budget shortfall.

Teacher's union leaders are against the plan and they want answers.

"What are we doing? We need to make plans. Are we having school in June or not?" Jesse Sharkey, Chicago Teacher's Union vice president, said.
At Wednesday's school board meeting, Claypool gave no indication about his plans.

The board has filed suit against the state claiming discrimination because Illinois allegedly failed to properly fund Chicago's schools which are filled with mostly minority students.

Governor Rauner blamed Chicago schools budget shortfall on Mayor Rahm Emanuel. But Claypool blamed the governor.

"Yesterday Governor Rauner in a statement of 'Alice in Wonderland' absurdity blamed the city for the financial crisis that threatens to close schools early," Claypool said.

The Teacher's Union is still considering a one day strike on May 1 to protest the board's plan to close the schools early. The union is expected to vote on that early next month.

Claypool took no questions on Wednesday about whether he indeed plans to close the schools early.

Governor Rauner's office responded to Claypool's comments.

"Look in the mirror, Mr. Claypool. You presented a budget to your board knowing that it spent $215,000,000 more than the General Assembly appropriated. As CEO, you knew that the additional money was dependent on the passage of statewide pension reform. Mr. Claypool, how often did you come to Springfield asking them to pass statewide reform? Republicans have put a deal on the table that will help Chicago Public Schools and bring pension reform statewide. Instead of pointing fingers, we again ask CEO Claypool to come to Springfield and work to push the General Assembly to pass pension reform that will in return secure the $215 million in funding for CPS," Illinois Secretary of Education Dr. Beth Purvis said in a statement.
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