Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool rallied with pastors and community leaders Tuesday morning against Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed education cuts targeting the district.
CPS and Chicago Board of Education officials were joined at the rally by Dr. Byron T. Brazier of the Apostolic Church of God, who described Rauner's agenda as "political terrorism." He also said the governor's proposal to slash education funding for CPS comes with "the stench of racial bias."
"The governor has already negatively impacted child care, those institutions that have provided support to the poor. He has impacted our higher education facilities including Chicago State University," Brazier stated at the rally, held at Drake Elementary School, 2710 S. Dearborn St. "And all of this while the community is currently dealing with public police misconduct, community violence and now we have to deal with political terrorism."
Rauner released an education funding plan last week, under which CPS would lose $74 million in state aid. The proposed $74 million funding drop for CPS is partly connected to student enrollment. CPS is one of several school districts that would lose money under Rauner's plan, which seeks to increase overall education funding by $120 million.
"It's time for us to stand together and say 'No' to Governor Rauner's cuts to Chicago students," Claypool said. "We ask state legislators, not just in Chicago but in every low-income community throughout Illinois, to vote 'No' on any education budget that does not reform the broken system under which Chicago children receive 74 cents for every dollar the rest of Illinois receives. We are not asking for a bailout; fair and equal funding is not a bailout. We are just asking that our children be treated equally, regardless of their zip code, their country of origin, or their race."
Meanwhile, members of the Chicago Teachers Union and allied organizations plan to visit Springfield Wednesday to push for school funding and other legislative proposals, including one to create a progressive Illinois income tax and another for an elected school board in Chicago.