The press conference was a followup to Chance's less-than-satisfactory meeting with Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner on Friday, during which he spoke with the Governor about his recent decision to overturn a ruling that reportedly would have resulted in increased funding for CPS, including a $250 million increase in funding for teachers. Unable to come to an agreement with the Governor, who vetoed an education bill this past December, Chance took matters into his own hands by offering a donation of $1 million to CPS, of which much is focused towards arts programs.
The generous donation, which draws from Chance's ticket sales for his upcoming tour, has been applauded by former First Lady Michelle Obama, who called the rapper "an example of the power of arts education".
On Tuesday, Chance held a live-streamed press conference at Westcott Elementary School, located in Chicago's South Side. "Our kids should not be held hostage because of political positioning".
As the Illinois Policy Institute explained in a 2015 review, over the last 20 years "Illinois and Chicago taxpayers contributed more than enough money to pay for both, had those funds been properly managed". When a $215 million stop-gap budget measure failed to pass last month, the Chicago Public Schools froze $46 million in discretionary funds the district said it needed to make a required pension payment in June.
Chance the Rapper also described his 40-minute meeting with Rauner as "disappointing", saying the governor only had "vague" answers.
"Everybody and their momma knows about what's going on in Chicago, it's constantly talked about", Chance said.
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School funding has been a politically volatile subject in IL for decades, pitting low-income school systems with mostly students of color against well-funded systems in wealthy and white Chicago suburbs much less reliant on state funding. This could, as Chance noted, layoff thousands of staff members and shorten the school year by 13 days.
In addition to the $1 million, Bennett said his organization will continue to donate 10 percent of its proceeds to individual schools in the Chicago area, but warned that public schools can't run on donations alone. He added that for every $1oo, 000 raised, Social Works Chicago - which Chance co-founded - will donate $10,000 directly to a specific public school in Chicago.
When Chance accepted the award, he thanked God "for all of Chicago", which prompted Rauner to tweet out his congratulations to the rapper.
Chance The Rapper has always been an advocate for Chicago's youth and now the Grammy-winning rapper is really putting his money where his mouth is.
"I want them to fund CPS", Chance said of the plans.