Parents, students, and teachers are playing the waiting game, as the state budget crisis may severely cut summer school programs that should be scheduled for just a few weeks away.
Many of the students attending summer school at Chicago Public Schools must do so in order to be promoted to the next grade level. But this year, the budget crisis both state- and city-wide has programs up in the air, with no certainty yet how, or even if, the district will make it happen.
Chicago Public Schools can't yet say if there will be a summer school program. In the past, thousands of students have participated. But for this summer, the current website doesn't list any dates or details.
CPS is facing a budget crisis with no answer yet from Springfield on funding Chicago schools. Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey notes that there may not be enough money after CPS makes its pension payment of more than 630 million dollars.
"They're gonna have a cash crunch after they make the pension payment on June 30," Sharkey said. "I think they're planning on opening summer school, but I just don't think they have the financing for it yet."
While the city looks to state lawmakers, the new head of the Principals Association Troy LaRaviere blames irresponsible spending.
"We have almost 40 percent more schools and only two percent more students," LaRaviere said. "Who does that? Who spends money that recklessly?"
A CPS spokesperson told NBC 5 that last summer's program cost $16 million. The majority of the money focused on those who attended summer bridge who failed to meet the promotion criteria. In all, more than 17 thousand students participated in the various programs.
As for this year, CPS says "this isn't a typical year and it's a challenge to finalize in the absence of any state funding."
"They don't have funding for it," Sharkey added. "And I think there's been a failure to grapple with the political reality facing the schools."
CPS said the district hopes to have an answer in the coming days. The last regular day of school is June 20th.