Illinois Republicans have introduced legislation to allow state oversight of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and allow CPS to declare bankruptcy. Outside of Chicago, the state law already provides state oversight for school districts in financial distress. State oversight is currently in place in East St. Louis, North Chicago, and Proviso. In the past, Cairo, Hazel Crest, Round Lake, and Venice also were subject to state oversight.
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“The mayoral-appointed school board in Chicago Public Schools has a history of unsustainable spending and borrowing. CPS has only two viable short-term options with a nearly $500 million deficit and billions in debt. Those options are a state bailout or bankruptcy. Bankruptcy coupled with state fiscal oversight is the better of two bad options for the taxpayers of Illinois.
“Taxpayers do not deserve to be saddled with the financial mismanagement from the City of Chicago and its schools.”
“In a move that redefines ‘quixotic,’ the rump GOP super-minority legislative caucus wants to allow the Chicago Public Schools to declare bankruptcy and put the district under state control. This attempt to replace one Ponzi scheme with a larger, more bankrupt Ponzi scheme is another indicator of the lack of seriousness of Illinois politicians.
“A more rational approach would be for the state to divert all funds going to CPS directly to Chicago parents, who should be permitted to use those funds to send their children to a public, charter, or private school of their choice. To make up for the shortfall, CPS can lay off every person with a title above ‘principal,’ along with anyone with the word ‘assistant’ in their title. This proposal is as quixotic as the GOP proposal here in Michael Madigan’s Patronage Republic of Illinois, but at least it is good policy.”
“Illinois has failed to achieve a state budget and has the worst credit rating in the nation. Its pension fund is underfunded. Cook County has the highest sales tax in the nation. The list goes on. The taxpayers have been hurting, which by default has hurt the schoolchildren. The CPS bankruptcy bill will protect schoolchildren and taxpayers.”
“CPS has a $500 million budget shortfall and is more than $1 billion in debt. That CPS debt has been rated as ‘junk’ by the three major ratings agencies. Meanwhile, CPS teachers are the highest-compensated teachers in any major American city and CPS students are some of the most poorly educated students in any major American city. Clearly, things are going swimmingly at Chicago Public Schools …
“While this kind of business-as-usual profligacy, incompetence, and inefficiency receives three cheers from CPS and the mayor’s office, to outside observers it is maddening. The schoolchildren of Chicago and the taxpayers of Illinois deserve much better than what CPS has been providing. If it takes a state takeover to turn things around, then so be it.”
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