Chicago Public Schools hold budget meetings July 11 as they opt to increase property taxes

Date: 
07/08/2012
Money

The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced three budget hearings for July 11 followed by a yet-to-be scheduled city-wide tele-townhall the following week. The July 11 meetings will be held between 6 and 8 p.m. at Malcolm X College at 1900 W. Van Buren St., Kennedy King College at 6301 S. Halsted St., and Daley College at 226 W. Jackson.

In announcing the proposed $5.162 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2013, The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) presented good news and bad news. The good news is that $144 million in cuts and "other actions" allow an elimination of the $665 million deficit and funding of the Full School Day and Early Childhood Education initiatives while maintaining class size and expanding school options for parents. The bad news is that they are taking their property tax rate to the cap, increasing property taxes.

"We went through our budget line by line, contract by contract, program by program and used every available tool to protect investments in student learning while reducing spending," said Jean-Claude Brizard, CPS CEO. “We will not sacrifice our children’s education during a time of fiscal crisis. We must and will continue making investments that support their growth.”

Included in the proposed budget:

  • More than $130 million in new discretionary. These funds are to give principals and school communities flexibility in creating a quality, Full School Day that best meets the academic needs of their unique student bodies.
  • Maintaining class size.
  • Meeting higher nutritional standards while realizing targeted savings and securing additional federal revenue.
  • Protecting investments in early childhood education despite a $19 million cut in state funding to continue serving over 42,000 students.
  • Maintaining full day kindergarten to continue serving over 17,000 students.
  • Expanding high-quality school options to create nearly 6,600 new seats in high-quality magnet, selective enrollment, charter, International Baccalaureate (IB), and Science Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs.

According to CPS they have declining revenues and increasing contractual and statutory obligations that continue to drive its deficit, including healthcare, debt service and pension costs. State and federal revenue is also down $114 million.

CPS cut $144 million in administrative and operations spending outside the classroom ($95 million) and is redirecting Central Office-run education programs ($49 million). They will also rely on $432 million from its fund balance and an additional $62 million in the increased property tax rate ($28 per $250,000 household).

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