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Rauner Still Pushing CPS Bankruptcy ... But Won't Come Out And Say It

By Ted Cox | March 21, 2016 1:26pm
 Gov. Bruce Rauner wouldn't actually say
Gov. Bruce Rauner wouldn't actually say "bankruptcy," but he urged that course for CPS.
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox

THE LOOP — Gov. Bruce Rauner repeated his call Monday for the Chicago Public Schools to go into bankruptcy — but without actually using that word.

"Obviously, I continue to be extremely concerned about the financial condition of Chicago Public Schools," Rauner said in a news conference at his offices in the Thompson Center. "I'm extremely concerned."

Rauner insisted Chicago schools should focus on "reorganizing their debts and their contracts under court supervision" — which of course defines the bankruptcy process.

"The only other option is massive tax hikes in the City of Chicago on homeowners and small-business owners," Rauner said. "And I'm talking massive tax hikes. That would be tragic."

 Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis (l.) and union spokeswoman Stephanie Gadlin (r.) have resisted the governor's call for CPS to declare bankruptcy.
Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis (l.) and union spokeswoman Stephanie Gadlin (r.) have resisted the governor's call for CPS to declare bankruptcy.
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox

Yet he did not actually mention bankruptcy, as he did two months ago when he first suggested the state seize control of the Chicago school system. He added that a state Board of Education probe into CPS finances was ongoing, but without a set time limit to deliver a report.

Rauner insisted his proposal was actually intended to save teaching positions.

"I think it's critical that we have Chicago Public Schools managed in a way that teachers don't lose their jobs," he said. "We can't afford to lose teachers. ... Teachers should not be losing their jobs over financial difficulties at CPS."

But the Chicago Teachers Union wasn't buying it.

"I’m sure the governor’s friends in the banking industry won’t let that happen, given the lucrative debt owed these institutions by our school district," union spokeswoman Stephanie Gadlin said. "His turnaround agenda is bad public policy that hurts Illinois’ most vulnerable — and Rauner seems to have a laser focused on hurting working-class and low-income black and brown families in Chicago the most."

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