CHICAGO (CBS) — The battle between the Chicago Teachers Union and the Chicago Public Schools headed to a new front on Wednesday, as the union told a big bank it is taking its business elsewhere.
CTU recording secretary Michael Brunson visited the Bank of America offices at 135 S. LaSalle St. to pull more than $725,000 out of the bank and close the union’s account. The union said if CPS needs money for its classrooms, the district shouldn’t make cuts, it should go after Bank of America.
“The board is literally choosing teacher layoffs and special ed cuts to pay Bank of America profits. If the mayor and the Board of Education would choose to fight the banks the way that they fight the Chicago Teachers Union for these school funds, and put real legal and financial pressure on Bank of America, we have no doubt that the bank would come to the table,” Brunson said.
Union officials have said they believe Bank of America misled CPS about the risks of controversial debt swap deals. They want CPS to try to recoup the money it lost in those deals.
“Over the life of these deals, the swaps thus far have cost $502 million at CPS. That’s almost exactly the same as the size of the CPS budget deficit. That’s an abomination,” said Saqib Bhatti, director of the ReFund America Project, which co-authored a report detailing how much controversial swap deals have cost Illinois taxpayers.