Yesterday, we heard the news that Gov. Bruce Rauner and top Republican leaders are planning to introduce legislation aimed at an emergency financial takeover of the city of Chicago and Chicago Public Schools. Their rationale is the $500 million shortfall within the Chicago Public Schools system which they themselves -- with help from sellout Democrats -- created.
We are told that the legislation would also allow for CPS and the city of Chicago to declare bankruptcy – something by law both cannot currently do. To sweeten the pot, Rauner threw in the promise of a elected CPS school board, but only "once the financial situation is remediated".
Given the history of corruption, racism, and incompetence behind Rahm Emanuel's own autocratic rule over the schools, the promise of an elected board may sound attractive, given the widespread support shown for an end to mayoral control by Chicago voters. But it's merely a ploy.
The move is also Rauner's way of heading off a budget compromise and a contract agreement between CPS and the CTU and cutting the heart out of collective bargaining rights for teachers public employee unions, statewide. It's their alternative to raising taxes on their wealthy and corporate patrons to pay for the operation of a predominantly black and Latino school district.
It's the "Katrina model" which Paul Vallas used to bust the teachers union and privatize the entire New Orleans school system, getting Arne Duncan's stamp of approval in the process. Gov. Snyder used it in Michigan to destroy democracy, including elected city government and the school system in Detroit. Snyder poisoned the people in Flint as a cost-cutting measure, along with way.
It's all based on Rahm's dictum, "never let a serious crisis go to waste."
The move brings to mind the Tribune editorial board's call back in May, for a "Mussolini-type" dictatorship over CPS followed by the Trib's Kristen McQueary praying for a Katrina-like storm to hit Chicago.
Can Rauner pull it off? Can he do what Snyder's done in Michigan? Not without complete and total acquiescence from Madigan, Cullerton and state Democrats who still hold a veto-proof majority in the legislature. Rahm claims he is "100% against the plan". But we don't know what kind of deal he's cut with his pal the governor, behind closed doors, to save his own ass.
In other words, yes he can.