Today CPS announced they will “restore” $15M of the $46M recently “frozen” from schools’ discretionary accounts. This is still $31M in mid-year cuts at our schools. Raise Your Hand testified at both budget hearings on February 13th. We testified that the cuts the district chose disproportionately impacted schools with more low-income students. These are schools receiving federal Title I and Supplemental General State Aid (SGSA) funds.
Earlier this week, the Sun-Times reported that CPS had cut the budgets of schools that serve majority Latino and African-American students by 1.8 and 1.6% respectively, as opposed to 0.8% at majority white schools. Prominent members of CPS’ own Latino Advisory Committee then resigned in protest.
CPS officials should have known that the majority of discretionary funds come from Title 1 and SGSA budget lines. Furthermore, they should have known that those schools are overwhelmingly populated by African-American and Latino students. Their lack of understanding made them appear insensitive at best, uninformed at worst, and underscores the need for new leadership and a democratically elected school board.
It’s a small win that $15M was returned, and we should all take a moment to recognize it. Parents and students all over the city were heard and have prevailed. Now more than ever we must not rest until we win substantial revenue at the state and city level. Elected and appointed officials must restore funding slashed during multiple years of brutal cuts and remedy chronic underfunding that existed even before the cuts began.
Check out the list of revised cuts here: