Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has taken a step toward seizing control of the state’s largest school district.
On Thursday, the Illinois State Board of Education launched a financial investigation of Chicago Public Schools that could lead to a state takeover, as well as break the influence of the city’s teachers’ union, Chicago Sun-Times reports.
In a letter to the school district’s leaders, Rauner’s handpicked board asked CPS to turnover financial documents about cash flow, payroll and major contracts by March 4, the newspaper said.
According to the Sun-Times, the letter states:
“Our sincere hope is that the forthcoming investigation will identify opportunities for actions to be taken that will improve the financial condition of Chicago Public Schools, avoid ‘certification of financial difficulty’, and most importantly, result in fiscal stability.”
The newspaper explains that issuing a certification of financial difficulty could trigger the takeover. Back in January, Rauner announced his takeover plans and launched a search for an interim school superintendent.
Emily Bittner, a CPS spokeswoman, told the newspaper that much of the requested information is already public. She added her view that current law bars the state from exercising oversight of the school district.
Politico says Rauner is also making moves to curtain the power of the Chicago Teachers Union. He’s trying to change a law that would allow the state to renegotiate union contracts if the school district or the city declares bankruptcy.
The Sun-Times adds that the governor believes the teachers union is contributing to CPS’s poor financial decision.
SOURCE: Chicago Sun-Times | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty