Chance the Rapper met privately with Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner Friday, a meeting brought to fruition after Rauner congratulated Chance's historic Grammy wins on Twitter last month. The two discussed funding for Chicago's schools for about 30 minutes at the Thompson Center, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Though Chance walked away visibly upset from the meeting with "vague answers" from Rauner, he said the loss should not become the narrative and promised to have a new plan ready by Monday:
Chicago Public Schools and I did not lose today. Please don't let that become the narrative. Monday morning I'll have a plan.— Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) March 3, 2017
"I thought that went a little different than it should have," Chance told reporters after the meeting. "I'm here because I just want people to do their jobs. I did speak with the governor. I asked him about funding CPS with that $215 million that was discussed in May of last year. It was vetoed in December." Chance's message to Rauner, he said, was simple: "Take our kids off the table."
Chance also called on regional and national publications to do their jobs by telling the story of how Chicago's schools ended up in the position they're in now. "I want y'all to do your jobs, as a matter of fact," Chance said. "Like seriously, if all your publications that you guys work for and the international and national publications out there—Complex, Billboard, people that post about me walking down the street and shit—if you guys could give a comprehensive history on how we ended up here."
CPS spokesperson Emily Bittner accused Rauner of using Chicago children as "political pawns" in a statement to the Chicago Tribune in January. "Our priority is to protect CPS classrooms from Gov. Rauner's draconian agenda," Bittner said. At the time, CPS officials were considering additional cuts to expenses following Rauner's veto. During meetings with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, district officials reportedly considered additional school budget cuts and "renewed requests" that principals put a pause on purchasing books and technology for students.
Rauner, a Republican, also spoke with reporters after the meeting Friday. "If we stood together, Chance, I have some power, I have power in some ways, you have great power in other ways," he said. "If we stood together, worked together, I think we could get big things done."
In court documents obtained by WLS-TV last month, CPS threatened an early end to the 2016-2017 school year due to budget cuts. "The next round of cuts almost certainly require CPS to cut even more days from this year's school calendar—ending as early as June 1, 2017," a motion for Preliminary Injunction states. The next round of cuts, CPS said, could also result in summer school for grade and middle school students being canceled.
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