Chicago Teacher's Union (184627)

Last week, while insinuating that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s actions didn’t work, Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner pushed for the state to take over the city’s public school system.

The plan would include allowing the district to declare bankruptcy to restructure its debt, but opponents of Rauner, mainly Democrats, have said that this is another way for the governor to potentially push back against union power via his desire for pension reform.

But according to State Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, both Republicans, none of the actions potentially performed would be forced bankruptcy or a bailout.

“We’re filing legislation that paves the way for a state-created independent authority to assume control of the Chicago Public Schools system,” Radogno told local reporters last week. “We didn’t come to this lightly, but the track record of Chicago and its public school system is abysmal.”

Rauner said a state takeover of Chicago Public Schools would keep them afloat while they deal with budget and pension issues and let the State Board of Education deal with the Chicago Teachers Union. He said that Emanuel hasn’t fixed Chicago Public Schools’ finances in a timely manner.

The CTU wasn’t happy with Rauner and made it known as a soon as they could via an emailed statement.

“Since the governor was elected, government in Illinois has ground to a halt, and this proposal is just the latest example of the ‘bull in a china shop’ methods in which he clumsily attempts to lead,” the statement read. “A call for Springfield to assume responsibility of the finances of Chicago Public Schools is a non-starter when state government has so far been unable to assume responsibility for its own budget.”

During a breakfast event in downtown Chicago, Emanuel told reporters, “The governor can be his own worst enemy and can’t seem to get out of his own way, as yesterday showed as it relates to the pension.”

CTU has reason to be suspicious of any possible interaction with the a Republican governor and the Democratic mayor. In 1995, the state GOP sponsored the Amendatory Act, which constricted workers’ rights within the Chicago Public Schools system. That bill eventually cleared the way for the “proliferation of private entities to siphon off public dollars for personal gain.”

“This previous piece of legislation, the result of a Republican-controlled Legislature and governor colluding with a Chicago mayor, left our district with mayoral control, unprecedented pension holidays and unchecked charter proliferation,” continued CTU’s statement. “Now, instead of rejecting failed policy, the governor is doubling down and holding Illinois citizens hostage with his austerity agenda, which is why we continue to call for a tax on millionaires and the wealthy, for big banks to return money stolen through toxic swap deals and for a tax increment financing surplus declared immediately.”