Statement on FY2017 CPS Budget

Despite CPS claiming that they have made no cuts to the classroom, district schools have been cut by $179 million. The FY2017 budget adds to the pain that chronic underfunding of Chicago’s school system has inflicted. The need for long-term sustainable revenue to fund Chicago and all public schools in Illinois equitably and adequately is more acute than ever.

District schools cannot repeatedly be asked to do more with less. More families will leave Chicago and CPS if these cuts continue. This is no way to run a city’s educational system.

Cuts have hit the classroom once again with 1,000+ layoffs of teachers and school support staff. The disparities between district-run and charter schools increase in this budget.

The city is not doing its part by sitting on hundreds of millions of surplus TIF dollars that could be used provisionally to mitigate cuts. The $32.5 million surplus to CPS is $55M less than last year’s—despite the fact that city TIF revenues are up 24% over the previous year.

In addition, the budget does not sufficiently cover the cash-flow needs of the district; with a $1.2B shortfall expected in February 2017. Short-term borrowing costs to cover this cash shortfall are estimated to cost $35M. Will CPS impose mid-year cuts again this fiscal year to cover this?

District v charter school inequity
Regular district schools saw steeper cuts in per pupil funding amounts than charter & contract schools even though projected enrollment declines were similar. District K-12 enrollment is projected to drop 1.6% but SBB funds are down 8.7%; charter & contract enrollment is projected to dip 1.2% but SBB was down 7.6%.

TIF surplus
Over $230 million in tax revenue that would otherwise have gone to CPS was collected for TIFs this year. More than $1 billion is sitting in TIF accounts around the city. A TIF surplus to CPS of $32.5 million for FY17 is grossly inadequate; this is less than the interest payments CPS expects to make it on its lines of credit, and more than 60% smaller than last year’s surplus to CPS. The Mayor and the City Council need to act quickly to enact a real TIF surplus.

Cash flow
We have grave concerns over CPS cash-flow in February 2017, when the budget shows over $1.2 billion in negative liquidity, far more than its prior lines of credit covered.

We have been asking the Board of Education to examine tens of millions of dollars in questionable contracts since last summer, but there’s been no response to this so far. Contract spending is cut by far less in the the FY2017 budget than salaries (1.5% v 9% respectively). And contracts in the Assessment Department are set to increase by 17% ($4.5M spent in FY16 v $5.4M for FY17).

Cuts in dollars and positions at district schools
In dollars at the 503 SBB-funded district schools:
92.4% had losses (465), totalling -$189,967,850.41
7.6% had gains (38), totaling $10,876,797.16
Net loss: -$179,091,053.25

In positions at the same schools,
58.1% had losses (292), with 1,155.1 fewer positions
34.4% had gains (173) with 555.72 additional positions
No change for 7.6% (38)
Net loss: 599.38 positions at the school level.

News Coverage

Action Steps
Call your alderman and ask him or her to support the TIF surplus ordinance and ask him or her to support a charter moratorium in your ward.

Call Alderman Burnett this week and tell him to cancel Obama Prep and surplus the TIF funds: 312-432-1995, and Mayor Emanuel: 312-744-3300
It is no time to be opening selective schools that cost $60M just to build while students at high schools like Foreman, Steinmetz, Kelly, Schurz are losing more than 13 positions at their schools.

Sign the petition to cancel the new selective HS:

Join us this year to advocate for better state funding. Call your state legislators to support adequate and equitable funding. Tell them about the cuts at your school: