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CPS's New Budget Proposal Makes $230 Million In Cuts

By aaroncynic in News on Aug 9, 2016 3:33PM

Demonstrators in front of Chicago Public Schools headquarters on Madison Street during the Chicago Teachers Union "day of action" on April 1, 2016. Photo by Aaron Cynic.
The Chicago Public Schools released a proposed budget Monday afternoon it says “puts the District on a path toward fiscal stability” by not relying on borrowing and making another round of cuts amounting to more than $230 million.

“With this budget, we’ll move the District on to stronger footing and stand ready to partner with leaders in Springfield to advance long-term education funding reform and pension equity,” Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool said in a statement.

The $5.4 billion budget relies on an increase in property taxes, cuts, adjustments in purchasing and other “efficiencies,” and two big assumptions—that the state will make good on its promises and that a contract agreement with the Chicago Teachers Union proposed in January that’s already been rejected will actually go through.

"Without absolute certainty on our labor costs, we have to make, and do make, rational assumptions," said Claypool, according to the Tribune. "I think it's fair to assume that the Chicago Teachers Union will understand that potential framework is still a fair framework to deal with."

That deal, which included the District rejecting its 7 percent pension pickup for the union, had the CTU mulling a potential strike months ago. In a press conference held immediately after the District’s, CTU President Karen Lewis reiterated that point, saying "If the Board of Education imposes a 7 percent slash in our salaries, we will move to strike.”

In addition to believing that the union will capitulate to its demands, the District is betting that the State of Illinois will come through picking up on a pension contribution of $215 million.

“We take them at their word that they will do what they promise to do,” said Claypool.

The proposed budget comes just after the District announced a totally “normal” layoff of more than 1,000 staff, which includes almost 500 teachers. “This is no way to run a 21st century school district,” CTU reps said in response to the announcement.

There will be at least six public hearings related to the budget beginning Wednesday next week, according to CPS.

Via CPS website