CHICAGO (FOX 32/AP) - The sharp exchanges between Gov. Bruce Rauner and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel continued as both talked about the city's schools.
And still, there’s been no progress in the state budget standoff, which threatens to stop schools across Illinois from re-opening this fall.
The mayor started the day bragging about a new University of Chicago study. It found students in the city's public schools have dramatically improved their academic performance. About 73 percent will graduate this month, compared to just 52 percent in 1999. And 40 percent won admission to a four-year college, nearly equal to the 42 percent U.S. average.
“That's an incredible accomplishment in our public schools. And I say that by way of reference that Springfield, if they do not step up and do their job will pull the rug out from underneath the kids of the City of Chicago and their parents,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
A few minutes later, Governor Rauner called the progress "wonderful." But he said tens of thousands of Chicago kids remain trapped in poorly performing schools, adding: "Many of them are basically almost crumbling prisons. They're not a place a young person should be educated." The governor said that after decades of financial mismanagement of Chicago schools, it would be unfair to ask Illinois taxpayers for a "bail out." Rauner called Emanuel a "major disappointment."
A few minutes after that, the mayor spoke to reporters again.
“Now it sounds like he's auditioning to be Donald Trump's running mate,” Mayor Emanuel said.
Despite the rhetoric, Rauner said he and the mayor would "always be friends.” But Rauner claimed the biggest disappointment of his 18 months in office was that Emanuel had not pushed his fellow Democrats in Springfield to make what the governor calls a "grand bargain" -- trading pro-business and pro-taxpayer reforms in exchange for new revenue that could help schools across the state.
There's more than rhetoric in these exchanges, with the two sides, in a sense, negotiating in public. The governor got a letter Monday from the leaders of 15 school districts with large poverty populations - including Chicago, Peoria and East Moline. They want to redo the state's education funding formula.
The governor says there's not enough time, but they want him to make time.