GOP, Chicago schools appear to draw battle lines
Chris Cleveland’s formal ethics complaint against Forrest Claypool might be only the shot across the bow between the Illinois Republican Party and the CEO of Chicago Public Schools (CPS).
That shot came in response to a letter Claypool sent recently to parents of all of CPS’s 381,000 students in which he blasted Gov. Bruce Rauner over the state’s ongoing budget impasse.
“It’s crystal clear that the actions he took were a case of someone using taxpayer money to advance a private, political cause and agenda,” Cleveland, the chairman of the Chicago GOP, told the Chicago City Wire. “We’re examining the law for precedent and seeing what more we may be able to do."
Cleveland said the letter completely absolved Democrats of all blame for the state's financial status.
“This act was not only inappropriate it was borderline criminal," he said.
Cleveland was recently escorted out of a CPS press conference at which Claypool was scheduled to speak along with other CPS officials.
“It was an open press conference, and once they found out who I was I was asked to leave as I expected they would,” Cleveland said. “I left before Claypool ever arrived and never exchanged words with him.”
As for the letter, Cleveland doesn’t appear anywhere near ready to walk away so quietly.
“We’ve forwarded everything to the inspector general, and he will decide what happens next,” he said. “For our part, it seems crystal clear. In the meantime, we’re considering other avenues we might be able to pursue. It was wrong on so many levels, and we want to make sure we hammer that point home for everyone.”
At the press conference, Claypool compared Rauner to President Donald Trump, saying he manipulates facts, and accused Rauner of not having compromised enough to procure a budget and withholding state funds from CPS, which Claypool said has left schoolchildren held hostage.