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CPS Head Warns Schools Might Not Open in Fall

The head of Chicago Public Schools has issued a warning: schools might not open in the fall if the state of Illinois does not approve an education budget.

Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool told CBS 2 that the district, along with many others throughout the state, would be inoperative if Gov. Bruce Rauner and members of the Illinois General Assembly cannot approve funding for public schools.

According to Claypool, Chicago public schools is facing two major problems: 1. the district is low on cash and 2. the bond market is no longer accessible for the district to borrow money due to its faulty credit ratings.

For eleven months, the state has been operating without a budget. Rauner, who vetoed the bulk of an approved budget by the Democratic-led legislature, approved legislation to fund elementary and high schools. This year, lawmakers could not agree on a state budget for public schools.

The governor blamed Democrats for the Illinois General Assembly’s inability to pass a budget.

“[House Speaker Michael] Madigan and [Senate President John] Cullerton don’t want reforms,” the governor said. “They want to try to force a massive tax hike after the election, in January, without reforms. That is wrong. We can’t let that happen.”

Rauner called on voters to urge lawmakers to support his plan to increase overall state education spending by $55 million.

Officials with the Chicago Public Schools say Rauner’s plan would mean a $74 million cut in the district’s funding, forcing cuts of about 26 percent.

Twenty percent of the state’s students attend CPS schools. The district receives just 15 percent of state funding for public schools, according the Democratic lawmakers.