Chicago Public Schools once again faces big budget woes -- this time a projected $700 million shortfall in 2013.
The board met Wednesday morning to discuss the staggering deficit, which includes a projected $1 billion shortfall by 2014. School officials will lay out the cause of the dire financial situation as negotiations continue with the Chicago Teachers Union.
Meanwhile, protesters met board members at the door, calling for the board to be elected rather than appointed by the mayor. They say the change would allow for more parent and community involvement.
Teachers were there, as well, to picket the proposed longer school day. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS leaders want to go to a 7-and-a-half-hour school day next year, but the CTU points out school officials have not said how much it will cost.
“CPS’s latest endeavor is yet another example of what this District will do when it doesn’t listen to the people who will be directly affected by their policies,” said CTU President Karen Lewis in a statement. “The prevailing philosophy of CPS’ status quo is to undermine students and teachers and pay lip service to parents.”
A hearing also was held Wednesday on one of the mayor's other controversial issues: whether to eliminate Casimir Pulaski Day, Columbus Day and school holidays.
In the last year, CPS has cut jobs and restructured multiple areas of the department. Still, CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll told the Chicago Tribune pension costs could increase by nearly $340 million in 2014.