Judge dismisses CPS suit seeking more funding
A Cook County judge has effectively upheld Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto denying cash-strapped Chicago Public Schools more money for their long-troubled system.
On Friday, Associate Judge Franklin Valderrama of the Cook County Chancery Court dismissed a lawsuit filed by CPS officials claiming minority students face vast discrimination based on the way the state allocates funds for education.
As a remedy, the petition sought an immediate injunction that would have cut off funding for all suburban and downstate districts until more money had been earmarked for CPS’ coffers.
Stanford University senior fellow Eric Hanushek told the Chicago City Wire that the filing never had a chance of winning.
“It seemed like just another ploy on the part of CPS to get more money that didn’t take into account factors outside of Chicago,” he said. “The governor has previously vetoed bills calling for more money, and CPS wanted the courts to overrule him, and the courts rightfully declined.”
Without additional funding, school officials have also threatened to close schools early this year, with a final decision slated to come sometime in May.
As justified as he believes the court was in rendering its ruling, Hanushek doesn’t think state officials have heard the last of it.
“It’s quite possible that another suit will be filed that will be heard in court without an immediate ruling being sought,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rauner’s administration celebrated Valderrama’s verdict and noted that a bipartisan commission impaneled by the governor is now studying overall ways to improve the funding system.
As it is, several experts are already disputing CPS officials' claims of a financial shortfall for the remainder of this school year.
Chris Lentino, manager of Chicago Outreach for the Illinois Policy Institute, has said he believes the city has more than $1 billion in tax increment financing (TIF) district funding that could be used to more than erase a $215 million budget shortfall.