(CBS) — Governor Bruce Rauner says the state will not help out struggling Chicago schools as both the city and state deal with financial problems in the new year.
CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley spoke with the governor in Springfield Tuesday as Rauner starts his second year in office.
On frigid day in Springfield, Governor Rauner is turning up the heat on Democrats opposing him in a budget stalemate. He wants control over social service payments and is flatly telling Chicago schools, forget about additional money.
Rauner says he didn’t anticipate going his first year without a budget.
“I knew change would be difficult,” he said. “It’s been a little harder than I thought, but we just have to stay persistent.”
Without a budget, court orders have forced Illinois to pay day care centers, senior care workers and other service providers, limiting the financial pain. But now, Rauner is promising to challenge those court mandates.
“It’s ridiculous that Illinois government should be run by judges,” he said. “Judges should have nothing to do with running the state. I want to change the system so Illinois government is running well and so that judges aren’t involved and not ordering us how to run our government.”
Getting rid of court-ordered payments to Illinois’ neediest could put more pressure on House Speaker Mike Madigan to cut a deal.
And Rauner gave no comfort to Mayor Rahm Emanuel either, saying Chicago schools should not expect more cash from Springfield.
“He’s failing to lead,” the governor said. “My frustration with him is it’s his job to fight for reforms for his schools and his city and he’s not doing it and for him to say look just raise taxes at the state and send us the cash, that’s not going to happen.”
The governor wants Mayor Emanuel to help pressure Speaker Madigan toward compromise. But Democrats say Rauner’s pro-business turnaround agenda would weaken unions and cut working class wages.
The governor’s words leave CPS’s early February deadline for Springfield money or massive cuts, looming very large.
“There’s kind of a crass, egotistical sort of mean quality to that,” said Chicago Teachers Union VP Jesse Sharkey. “It’s really a shame.”
The Chicago Teachers Union has been preparing for this for months. The union send out a flyer, calling for a massive rally the day after cuts are announced.
“They’re talking about making cuts that are tantamount to shutting down the schools,” Sharkey said. “We intend to try to like sharpen that conflict.”
The battle of words and wills between Springfield and the city has been going on since last summer.
“Everything is about a compromise and a deal,” said CPS CEO Forrest Claypool back then, but neither has happened.
A CPS spokesperson offered no specifics on whether the district has a back-up plan or when cuts would be announced. She did indicate that a contract offer, that is still on the table, could avoid those cuts.