Rauner, CTU agree on raising taxes in Chicago

- Leaders of the Chicago Teachers Union don't agree with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner very often, but they did Thursday.

Both say Chicago should tax itself for new school funds, rather than wait for the state to send more money. 

On the stump for the second straight day, the governor told educators in the Northwest Suburbs that 200 school districts across Illinois are in worse financial shape than Chicago's Public Schools.

Because about 6,000 students recently left CPS, Rauner says he's being generous not to cut its school aid.

“They have fewer kids. Families are leaving Chicago because of crime and a lack of jobs and a lot of reasons. But I'm willing to say, let's put the same amount in, even though they have fewer students, as a stopgap, as a way to get through this crisis right now,” Rauner said.

The CEO of the city's public schools said the governor is ignoring basic fairness.

“We have 20% of the kids in the state system. We get less than 15% of state education funding. That's fundamentally wrong, especially since 86% of our kids are low income; 85% are African-American or Latino. This is blatant discrimination,” Forrest Claypool said.

Claypool and superintendents of other districts warn schools will not open on time this fall, unless the governor and legislators have delivered state funding.

Chicago's $5.7 billion school budget counts on about $2 billion in state aid. Claypool has warned that without additional dollars from Springfield, thousands of Chicago teachers could be laid off by September.

If Rauner won't approve the money needed to prevent that, the teachers union demands Mayor Emanuel raise taxes in Chicago.

“I'm shocked to see the Chicago Teachers Union is surrendering to Gov. Rauner and letting him off the hook for funding education properly,” Claypool said.

Emanuel said in a written statement that Rauner seemed to be using Donald Trump's playbook.

“I don't know where all these goofy, personal attacks come from. That's not helpful,” Rauner said.

The governor is right on that, although he's certainly delivered plenty of "goofy, personal attacks" on the mayor and other top Democrats. It's a measure of how far apart they really are.

Our advice to parents? Start planning now for all-day child care in September. Don't count on schools opening.

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