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Chance The Rapper Tells Rauner To 'Do Your Job,' Donates $1M To Chicago Public Schools

By Stephen Gossett in News on Mar 6, 2017 8:48PM

Chance the Rapper on Monday announced that he will donate $1 million to Chicago Public Schools. The Chicago-native rapper also issued a challenge for local and national corporations to give money to Chicago's underfunded school district until Rauner and legislators pass a funding solution. He also pledged to give $10,000 to a different, individual school for every $100,000 that is donated through his non-profit organization, SocialWorks.

In addition to the $1 million gift, which Chance said will support arts programming, he got the ball rolling on the individual-school gifts with a $10,000 check for Westcott Elementary School, the Auburn Gresham elementary school near where Chance grew up and where he held Monday's press conference.

"Our kids should not be held hostage," he said, noting that CPS has stated that it may have to close schools nearly two weeks early due to the district's pension gap.

Chance said the $1 million donation was made possible through ticket sales of his upcoming tour. "This check… is a call to action. I'm challenging major companies and corporations to donate and take action," he said.

Chance told the crowd that talks over the weekend with Gov. Bruce Rauner were "unsuccessful," and he re-issued a challenge to the state's top official on Monday: "Gov. Rauner, do your job."

Ahead of Chance's press conference, Rauner suggested two CPS funding plans, one that called for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to dip again into the city's tax increment funds, and the other would tie funds to a larger state pension agreement. Mayoral spokesman Adam Collins said the proposals were "no solution at all," according to the Tribune.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted a note of thanks to Chance on Monday afternoon.

Chance told reporters on Friday that he was "frustrated" with his meeting with Rauner—which he set up to discuss education funding after the governor congratulated him on his Grammy wins. “He gave me a lot of vague answers," Chance said following the sit-down.

Rauner vetoed a $215 million CPS-funding bill in December, claiming that state Congressional Democrats had not done enough to provide broader pension reforms. Since the veto, CPS has mandated four furlough days for teachers and announced a $46 million freeze in discretionary spending. Some $15 million was reinstated after the Latino Advisory Committee resigned in protest when a Sun-Times investigation revealed that the cuts disproportionately impacted Hispanic-majority schools.

CPS slapped Rauner and the Board with a lawsuit in mid-February that alleges discriminatory funding practices.