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Rauner And Chance The Rapper Say They're Working On Plan To Fix CPS Crisis

By Heather Cherone | March 3, 2017 12:43pm | Updated on March 6, 2017 8:15am
 Gov. Bruce Rauner (left) and Chance the Rapper
Gov. Bruce Rauner (left) and Chance the Rapper
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DOWNTOWN — After meeting with Gov. Bruce Rauner to talk about funding for Chicago's schools and coming away with "vague answers," Grammy Award winner Chance The Rapper vowed to have a plan by Monday.

The rapper, born and raised in Chatham, asked for the meeting on Twitter, the day after he won three Grammys — the first to be claimed by an artist who had not released a physical album — and drew congratulations from the Republican governor.

The meeting lasted about 40 minutes in Rauner's offices in the Thompson Center in the Loop.

As he was leaving, Chance — whose full name is Chancelor Bennett — said he told the governor: “Take our kids off the table.”

Chance urged reporters to "do your jobs" and comprehensively explain how the Chicago Public Schools became mired in a financial crisis that threatens to force officials to end the school year on June 1 — 20 days early.

Addressing reporters after Chance left the building, Rauner said the meeting featured a "good exchange" between the two men and praised the musician for his "passion" for improving education in Chicago.

Rauner said Chance pressed him to get more money to Chicago's schools "right now."

The governor said he was willing to work "all weekend" with Chance.

"We agreed we are going to talk more," Rauner said. "And I hope we can come to a good solution. I'm cautiously optimistic that we can."

In a tweet after the meeting, Chance said he would present a plan for Chicago's schools on Monday.

Chicago school officials have sued the state, alleging that the way Illinois funds schools is discriminatory.

The fiscal crisis for Chicago Public Schools began in November, when Rauner blamed Illinois Senate President John Cullerton for violating a compromise made in June that allowed schools to open last September. Part of that deal promised Chicago schools $215 million to help cover its pension obligation in return for statewide "pension reform," a long-held goal of the governor.

But in a December message to legislators, Rauner said he would not sign a school-funding bill because it would amount to a "bailout" for CPS. The governor also wants lawmakers to adopt his agenda, which he says will spur business growth in Illinois as part of a budget agreement.

Cullerton denied breaking the agreement and said he was willing to continue working on pension reform with the governor.

Rauner and Speaker of the House Michael Madigan have been locked in a bitter fight over the Illinois budget that has lasted nearly two years.