14 Days Until School Starts: Will the Mayor Restore Funding?

The city has options to help restore funding to our schools and it is unclear if they will do so with only two weeks left before school starts. Cuts to basic programs at CPS are staggering and we will be highlighting program cuts for the next two weeks looking at an elementary and HS programs each day.

We have been advocating together for a TIF surplus all summer and so far the Mayor has given no indication that he will return any of the unallocated TIF funds, which is property tax money that has been diverted from the schools and other taxing bodies.

There are also quesitonalbe areas of spending in the CPS budget and many departments in Central office that got increases while our traditional schools received deep cuts. Ginger Ostro, Budget Director of CPS, stated at the City Council Education Hearing on Friday that “CPS had no alternative” but to make these school-based cuts. We disagree with that statement.

  • Family and Community Engagement Office – Received an increase of $2.1 million with budget at $8. 8million
  • Office of Innovation and Incubation – Increase of roughly $8 million, budget at $50 Million. About $40 million of this is for New School Development. How about putting a one-year hold on charter growth while our traditional schools are being decimated?  
  • Human Capital office – Increase of $22 million. About $20 million of this is for a no-bid contract for SUPES academy to train Principals and Network Chiefs given to a company that has very little experience working in Chicago. So far Principals have reported to us that the trainings are “not worth $20 million.”
  • Portfolio Office –this group which mainly works on school actions still has $6 million and did not receive a decrease despite the fact that the Mayor and CPS has said they are doing a 5 year moratorium on school closings. Shouldn’t this department have been reduced?
  • Chief Financial Office- increased by 13 positions. Corporate accounting has gone from 50 to 65 positions in two years.
  • Intergovernmental Affairs – had 5 positions in FY2012 and is budgeted for 17 in FY2014.  Will our kids see a positive outcome in the classroom from this increase?. 

And here are 68 schools that had an art position at the elementary level this past year and won’t have the same CPS funded position this fall:

Agassiz,Aldridge, Audubon,  Avalon Park, Beaubien, Belding, Blaine, Boone, Brighton Park Elem, Burbank, Burke, Burley, Burr, Caldwell, Carnegie, Canter, Casals, Chicago Academy, Cook, Deneen, De Dominguez, Disney, Dubois, Ella Flagg Young, Ericson, Evergreen, Evers, Gale, Galileo, Garfield Park Elem, Gillespie, Graham, Gray, Gresham, Hale, Henderson, Jahn, J Thorpe, Joplin, Jungman, Langford, Lara Academy, Lawndale Community, Lenart, Libby,  Manierre,  Marquette, MJackson, Mark Sheridan,McClellan,  McDade, Neil, OA Thorpe, Peterson, Prescott, Reavis,Sayre, Robert Black, Seward, Smyser,Von Linne, Wacker, Ward Howe, Warren,Whistler, Zapata,

Below  are High Schools that had English positions cut some reducing their English department in half:

Amundsen lost 3 positions, Austin Polytechnic 1, Bogan 5, Bowen 3, Chicago Acadey 1, Clark 1, Corliss 1, Curie 3, Dyett 1, Farragut 4, Foreman 3,Gage Park 1, Hancock 2,Harlan 4, Hirsch 1, Hope College Prep 1, Hyde Park 3, Kenwood1, Kelly 2,  Kennedy 8, Kelvyn Park 3, King 1, Lane 1, Lincoln Park High School 2, Manley 1.5, Marshall 5,Morgan Park 1,  Orr 1, Phillips 2, Prosser 1, Robeson 1, Schurz 4, Spry 1, Steinmetz 4,  TEAM Englewood 1, Upflit 1,Walter Payton 1, Wells 2,York 1

Call the Mayor's office and tell him to restore funding to our schools: 312-744-3300. Ask him to return some of our property tax money that's sitting in TIF accounts and/or revise the budget to prioritize classroom spending and avoid non-essential increases to Central Office.