CPS will remain open until end of school year, Rahm Emanuel says

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Friday that Chicago Public Schools will remain open until the end of the school year, as opposed to closing 20 days early on June 1.

On Friday, a Cook County judge granted the State of Illinois' motion to dismiss the Chicago Public Schools' civil rights lawsuit over school funding. However, the judge is allowing CPS to come back with a new argument.

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CPS will remain open until end of school year, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said at a press conference.

"Obviously, we are very disappointed in the judge's ruling that it is permissible for the State of Illinois to discriminate on the basis of race against CPS school children and that there's nothing in the Civil Rights Act that can prevent that," CPS CEO Forrest Claypool said.

CPS has been short money since Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill that would give CPS $215 million for teacher pensions.

The school district has threatened to close school June 1. CPS was hoping a civil rights lawsuit would force the state to fund schools more fairly.

CPS accounts for 20 percent of Illinois' students, but only gets 15 percent of the state funding and 90 percent of CPS kids are minorities.

The Rauner administration said it's time to stop pointing fingers and pass a balanced budget that includes equitable funding

"It's important to point out that the Chicago Public School Board and CEO Claypool could forward and pass a budget that included $215 million that had not been appropriated by the general assembly and that's one of the reasons we're in the situation that we're in right now," Beth Purvis, Illinois Education Secretary said.

"As the judge himself noted, the funding in Illinois inequitable. We are not asking for special treatment for the children of Chicago, we are asking for equitable treatment," Mayor Emanuel said.

Parent were relieved the school year won't be cut short, but remain concerned about looming financial woes for CPS.

"It's sad that we have to cry, that we have to plead, we have to beg for funding," said Lottie Steel, CPS parent.

The Chicago Teachers Union issued a statement in response to Friday's ruling.

"Today's ruling was a lesson in predictable failure, as a district that disproportionately closes schools in predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods and lays off minority educators with regularity cannot legitimately claim to make a case for defending those same groups of students and staff. Instead of a Hail Mary lawsuit built for PR purposes, the mayor and his handpicked Board of Education and CPS CEO should have immediately guaranteed school for the month of June through sensible use of tax increment financing and the corporate head tax. Yet they chose to use our students and their families as pawns in a prolonged fight with the governor.

There are fewer than 30 school days and counting until the mayor and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool's June 1 shutdown, and this failed legal challenge has cost taxpayers both time and money. Instead of waiting for action from a governor who has shown no desire to invest in the lives of nearly 400,000 Chicago public school students, and highlighting his racist policies instead of addressing their own, city leaders need to meet this challenge, stop playing games and use the resources available to them to fully fund our schools."
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