As Chicago Schools CEO Forrest Claypool (right) looks on, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announces that city schools will not have to cut short its academic year.

Despite court setback, Chicago schools will complete the academic year, mayor vows

May 1, 2017
Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the 2016-17 year will not have to end three weeks early, as some have feared.

Despite a judge's rejection of the Chicago school system's attempts to acquire more funding from the state of Illinois, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that city public schools will remain open until the end of the school year.

WLS-TV reports that Emanuel assured students and parents that schools will not be forced to close on June 1—20 days early—even though the school system's effort to gain more funding through a legal challenge has been rejected.

A Cook County judge granted the State of Illinois' motion Friday to dismiss the Chicago Public Schools' civil rights lawsuit over school funding.

"Obviously, we are very disappointed in the judge's ruling that it is permissible for the State of Illinois to discriminate on the basis of race against CPS school children and that there's nothing in the Civil Rights Act that can prevent that," Schools CEO Forrest Claypool says.

The district has been short money since Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill that would have given schools $215 million for teacher pensions. District officials were hoping a civil rights lawsuit would force the state to fund schools more fairly. The Chicago system accounts for 20 percent of Illinois' students, but gets only 15 percent of the state funding; 90 percent of Chicago's students are minorities.

"As the judge himself noted, the funding in Illinois inequitable," Emanuel says. We are not asking for special treatment for the children of Chicago, we are asking for equitable treatment."

The Chicago Teachers Union issued a statement expressing skepticism over the district's lawsuit strategy.

"Today's ruling was a lesson in predictable failure, as a district that disproportionately closes schools in predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods and lays off minority educators with regularity cannot legitimately claim to make a case for defending those same groups of students and staff," the union says. "Instead of a Hail Mary lawsuit built for p.r. purposes, the mayor...should have immediately guaranteed school for the month of June through sensible use of tax increment financing and the corporate head tax."

Video from WLS-TV:

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