Chance the Rapper held a press conference at Westcott Elementary School in Chicago Monday to discuss education funding and announce a $1 million donation to Chicago Public Schools. The press conference was streamed live here via Chance's Instagram. Complex News was also on the scene.
Chance's presser centered on what he said was an "urgent need" to fund Chicago schools. "Gov. Rauner can use his executive power to give Chicago's children the resources they need to fulfill their God-given right to learn," Chance said. "Our talks were unsuccessful." Rauner, Chance said, was unwilling to budge without caveats and ultimatums.
"Our kids should not be held hostage because of political positioning," Chance said. "If the governor does not act, CPS will be forced to end school 13 days early, which means over 380,000 kids will not have adult supervised activities in June and could possibly be put in harm's way."
Chance also announced a donation of over $1 million to Chicago Public Schools:
As humorously recounted during Monday's presser, moments like these make a good case for answering calls from numbers you don't recognize:
If you get a call from me, today's the day to pick up.— Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) March 4, 2017
While taking questions from reporters following the announcement, Chance also revealed he had plans to speak with fellow Chicago icon Common regarding education funding later that day.
Activist DeRay Mckesson, who met with Chance this weekend to discuss CPS funding, praised the Coloring Book artist's efforts on Twitter:
.@chancetherapper just announced a $1 million donation & a matching funds challenge to Chicago Public Schools to address the funding gap.— deray mckesson (@deray) March 6, 2017
Chance's commitment to his hometown and to using his platform for the greater good are a model for other influencers.— deray mckesson (@deray) March 6, 2017
Importantly, Chance's donation today also included continued pushes for Gov. Rauner to adequately fund CPS. Our kids our best commitments.— deray mckesson (@deray) March 6, 2017
Chance & I met re: the funding in CPS and in other public education systems -- the funding formulas for urban school systems are flawed.— deray mckesson (@deray) March 6, 2017
In pushing state govts to equitably fund public education, we are not begging or asking for hand-outs. We are stating what our kids deserve.— deray mckesson (@deray) March 6, 2017
The presser came days after Chance's meeting with Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner last week, which didn't exactly conclude in the way Chance had hoped.
"I'm here because I just want people to do their jobs," Chance told the Chicago Sun-Times and other reporters Friday after the meeting. "I did speak with the governor. I asked him about funding [Chicago Public Schools] with that $215 million that was discussed in May of last year. It was vetoed in December."
Hours before Monday's presser, Rauner floated some funding ideas in a memo obtained by the Chicago Tribune. The first option involves the passage of legislation allowing Mayor Rahm Emanuel to "tap into" the city's tax increment financing funds to help cover the $215 million gap. The other, according to the Tribune, would require the passage of a larger overhaul of Illinois' pension retirement program.
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