After getting delayed by a few days because of a tornado, Chance The Rapper finally got his meeting with the Governor of Illinois Bruce Rauner. It didn’t go as well as he would have hoped. “I felt it went a little bit different than it should have,” Chance told the media after the meeting. “I’m here because I just want people to do their jobs.”
Chance scored three Grammy wins last month, including one for best rap album for Coloring Book. After the ceremony, the Governor congratulated him on Twitter, and Chance took the opportunity to request a meeting to discuss the state of education funding in the city of Chicago. While leaving the meeting today, Chance appeared noticeably agitated as he addressed the media.
“I’m a little bit flustered,” he admitted. “The kids are on the table right now. We spoke for a second, and it sounded like we were going somewhere, but it sounds like it’s hinged on passing another bill. I’m not a politician.”
At the heart of the issues they discussed over the 30-minute meeting was $215 million hole in the Chicago public school system budget. Late last year, the Governor vetoed a bill that would have eased the burden. According to the Chicago Tribune, “Rauner said he vetoed the bill because it was not tied to broader pension reforms that he has demanded, and Democratic Senate President John Cullerton denied assurances on pension reform were part of the CPS deal.”
“He asked me where the $215 million was going to come from,” Chance revealed. He then challenged the media, both locally and nationally to “do their jobs,” and that “you guys could give a comprehensive history of how we ended up here.”
The effects of the funding lapse are devastating, especially on minority students as outlined by this story in the Chicago Reporter. The situation is so dire, that officials are currently thinking of ending the school year a full 20 days early. Despite being the 4th largest system in the U.S. the CPS remains one of the most underfunded in the nation.
Rauner himself said that the pair had “A good exchange,” and that “We agreed we are going to talk more. And I hope we can come to a good solution. I’m cautiously optimistic that we can.”
“He has my personal number,” Chance said. “We’ll see what happens.”
It’s fair to say that the meeting was a whole lot more than the nice photo op the Governor was expecting. As Ben Joravsky of the Chicago Reader, said in an open letter to Chance ahead of the meeting, “If you can convince Rauner to fork over the $215 million, you deserve a Nobel Peace Prize to go with your Grammys.”
Nevertheless, the fight goes on.