Education policy analyst Rod Estvan says property taxes are a poor way to fund education but he doesn't see the system changing.
The Chicago Public Schools 2012 budget, quietly released Friday afternoon, raises property taxes to the maximum levels allowed by law, makes deep cuts in staff and scales back school security.
Earlier in the day it was all smiles at a back-to-school rally on the city's south side. But CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard's brief remarks failed to mention the proposed budget that would be unveiled hours later.
To close the $712 million budget gap inherited by his administration, Brizard's new school team recommended $87 million in program cuts, a $241 million drain of CPS reserve funds, $107 million in cuts the central office and administrative functions, and a property tax hike to the maximum legal level.
"The Mayor supports the board’s decision to put kids first and take the levy to the cap," said Rahm Emanuel spokeswoman Tarrah Cooper. "The CPS Board has cut nearly $400 million in the central office and from administration expenses - all while investing in key programs our children need."
If the budget is approved as-is, the average homeowner in Chicago will pay about $84 annually to the school system. That's based on a home assessed at $250,000.
"There are going to be problems for people for this. It's going to cost people some money. But if we're going to educate the students, we have to generate this money," said education policy analyst Rod Estvan.
Not getting the $150 million in property tax revenue would mean big changes in other areas, which, according to the district, would include:
The proposed budget does not include financing for the longer schools days or school year for which Mayor Rahm Emanuel has pushed.
The budget requires Board of Education approval.
Several public hearings are scheduled to discuss the proposed budget:
Wednesday, Aug. 10
Lane Tech High School
2501 W. Addison Street | 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 11
Westinghouse High School
3223 W. Franklin Blvd. | 7:00 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 12
Simeon High School
8147 S. Vincennes | 7:00 p.m.