Governor Rauner calls Chicago teacher strike ‘shameful’

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Gov. Bruce Rauner says a one-day strike by Chicago teachers is “shameful” because “children are the victims in this raw display of political power.”

Teachers are picketing shuttered schools Friday to call for better education funding. They blame Rauner, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other lawmakers for cuts to education and other programs.

The Republican governor and the Chicago Teachers Union are longtime adversaries. Rauner has said CTU and other public-worker unions are too powerful, and he has pushed for measures to curb their political influence.

Rauner says if state lawmakers had approved some of his reforms, a strike could have been averted “and taxpayers and children would have been protected.”

Rauner’s anti-union agenda is a major reason he and majority Democrats still haven’t approved a state budget.

Rauner released the following statement:

“It’s shameful that Chicago’s children are the victims in this raw display of political power.  Walking out on kids in the classroom, leaving parents in the lurch and thumbing their nose at taxpayers — it’s the height of arrogance from those we’ve entrusted with our children’s futures.  By breaking the law in Chicago and forcing passage of a bad law in Springfield, powerful bosses are proving they have an unfair advantage over Illinois families.  When we lose the balance between taxpayers and special interests, property taxes go up and the quality of education goes down.”

“I stand ready to work with members of the General Assembly to pass a budget that increases state support for all Illinois schools alongside much-needed reforms that put taxpayers back in control of their local governments and school districts. If local control reforms had already been enacted, CPS negotiations likely would have been concluded by now, a strike would have been averted and taxpayers and children would have been protected. Let’s pass real reforms to give the families of Illinois a better future.”