Mayor Rahm Emanuel criticized the Chicago Teachers Union's $502 million revenue recovery package for Chicago Public Schools Thursday, a day after the plan was made public.
The mayor claimed that CTU’s plan is inaccurate in its explanation of how the proposed revenue source would affect Chicagoans, and placed blame on the state’s school funding formula.
"The idea is not to ask people to pay more taxes, which would get our state off the hook, but to actually fully fund education fairly, so poor kids are not adversely affected by the state of Illinois that underfunds education," Emanuel said at a press conference Thursday.
"Of all organizations, the Chicago Teachers Union should understand how students and taxpayers are being shortchanged by the current funding system in Springfield,” Emanuel spokeswoman Kelley Quinn said in a statement.
“Before asking Chicago taxpayers to pony up more money, we need to fix this inequity in Springfield. #FixSpringfieldFirst,” Quinn added.
CTU’s plan calls for an increase in certain taxes, including the hotel accommodations tax and the vehicle fuel tax. It also calls for the implementation of other taxes, including a rideshare tax on services like Uber and Lyft.
Additionally, the plan looks to use funds from the city’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) accounts and redirect the $1.2 billion Lucas Museum bond to CPS.
“We have identified half a billion dollars that can triage the bleeding at CPS,” CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey said in a statement. “We are asking the mayor and aldermen to implement what we believe is a solid package of financial emergency supports to ensure our district does not go belly up.”
CPS officials called for a revamped funding formula from lawmakers in Springfield.
“CTU leadership cannot let Gov. Rauner and Springfield off the hook for equally funding Chicago students – and that’s exactly what this misguided proposal does,” CPS spokeswoman Emily Bittner said in a statement. “Instead of fighting to fix the state’s broken funding formula that discriminates against Chicago children and costs the District more than $500 million a year, the CTU leadership wants to place the entire burden of solving CPS’ finances on Chicago taxpayers alone.”
“When it comes to solving CPS’ $1 billion budget crisis, everyone must play a part- Springfield, Chicagoans, CPS and the CTU,” Bittner added.
Bittner also noted that the district was working with the CTU to prevent a strike.
The CTU’s governing body announced Wednesday that the union would not move forward with a May strike, but left the door open to a future strike as contract negotiations remain in impasse.