CHICAGO (CBS) — Gov. Bruce Rauner said Monday that some Chicago public schools are “crumbling prisons”–adding he’s “deeply concerned” the state budget deadlock could prevent schools from opening in the fall.
He made the comment while touring the expanding tech incubator 1871 at the Merchandise Mart.
“Many of them are basically just crumbling prisons not a place that a young person should be educated,” Rauner said.
Rauner also says his major disappointment during his time in office is Mayor Emanuel, although the issue is “not personal.”
The governor said Emanuel and state Democratic leaders like Mike Madigan have so far refused to compromise on reaching a balanced budget and find ways to increase state revenues.
Only then, Rauner said, can the state provide more money for education.
Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool said last week that CPS and many other districts in Illinois would be unable to open in fall if Rauner and the Illinois General Assembly cannot agree on some type of budget deal and approve funding for public schools across the state.
Lawmakers were unable to agree on a spending plan for next year before the end of the spring session. The state has been operating without a budget for 11 months.
Last year, Rauner vetoed the bulk of the state budget approved by the Democratic-led legislature, but approved legislation to fund elementary and high schools; this year, lawmakers could not even agree on a state budget for public schools.
Emanuel said educational gains made at CPS are endangered by a funding formula that does meet the needs of struggling school districts.
He fired back at the governor today, calling his remarks divisive, adding “it sounds like he’s auditioning to be Donald Trump’s running-mate.”
A school is not “a crumbling prison… that is actually a gateway to the economy of the 21st century,” Emanuel said.
A top CPS officials said Rauner’s words were racist.
“I think it’s one of the most racist things I’ve ever heard,” said Dr. Janice Jackson, CPS’ Chief Education Officer. “I think comparing a school, a place where I spent a large part of my life, as a prison is absurd.”