Chicago Public Schools' newly unveiled $5.162 billion budget proposal for the 2012-2013 school year aims to pay for Mayor Rahm Emanuel's longer school day while trying to eliminate the district's $665 million deficit.
It also includes a 2 percent raise for teachers, a familiar number as CPS already offered it to the Chicago Teachers Union. The CTU's contract expired last weekend as teachers and the school board continue to fight over negotiations.
“We reduced spending this year by scrubbing through our budget line by line, contract by contract, program by program and using every available tool to protect investments in student learning,” CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard said in a statement.
CPS took $432 million from fund reserves to help manage the budget in the face of a $114 million loss in state and federal revenue. The schools system also raised its property tax rate to the highest allowable cap, or $28 per year for an owner of a $250,000 household, to squeeze out an additional $62 million.
“We will not sacrifice our children’s education during a time of fiscal crisis and must continue to make investments that will support their growth,” Brizard said.
Brizard points out the budget keeps class size intact, maintains a full-day kindergarten and creates nearly 6,600 new seats for students in magnet, selective enrollment and charter schools. It also cuts $144 million in spending.
Meanwhile a potential work stoppage looms after teachers overwhelmingly approved CTU authorization to call a strike.
“It is our responsibility to work toward a contract that is fair and equitable to our members and one that will help us give our students the high-quality, first-class education they deserve,” CTU President Karen Lewis said last Friday. “While there has been progress in some areas, we remain far apart on many others.”