CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel remained mum Monday about what the city can do on its own to keep the cash-strapped Chicago Public Schools open through the end of the school year, as he continued holding out hope for financial help from Springfield.
The mayor still won’t say how the city will keep CPS going if the state does not help the district close its $129 million budget shortfall, or make $476 million in block grant payments the state still owes.
However, Emanuel did suggest he still hopes the money will come from Springfield.
“I know where I’m spending my time. [CPS Chief Executive Officer Forrest Claypool] has a thousand percent my confidence. My time, my energy, my entire staff is focused on Springfield living up to their responsibility in the way that our kids and our teachers have been living up to their responsibilities,” he said.
Claypool had earlier threatened CPS would close schools three weeks early without financial help from the state, but the mayor said he would not let that happen.
The Emanuel administration has yet to reschedule canceled briefings to inform aldermen how it plans to bail out CPS if there is no help from Springfield.
Emanuel said there is no question CPS will stay open through the end of the school year, and he told reporters he hopes the governor and lawmakers will come up with a school funding plan.
“My entire focus is making the best use of time in the remaining two weeks that Springfield fulfills their obligation to the children of the state of Illinois, and therefore the children of the city of Chicago – that the children of Chicago are not treated as second-class citizens,” he said.
The mayor repeatedly has criticized the fact the state funds the employer’s share of teacher pensions for suburban and downstate schools, but not CPS. Agreement on ending that disparity has been elusive.