"Chicago Public Schools today released a $5.8 billion “keep afloat” budget that includes an additional $98 million in expected state aid and a 3-percent raise for teachers," according to this August Catalyst story (here) and some sidebars here and here.
Or, if you want to look at the proposed budget in its raw form, look here (Download 080607_FY08ProposedBudget.doc).
UPDATE: CPS released a presser (see below) explaining its stance, and announced public hearings on Aug. 14 at Lane Tech High School, 2501 W. Addison St., Aug. 15 at Juarez Community Academy, 2150 S. Laflin St., and Aug. 16 at Morgan Park Academy, 1744 W. Pryor Ave. The hearings each night will run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The Board of Education is expected to vote on the FY08 budget at its Aug. 22 meeting.
CPS Releases 2008 Budget Despite State Delay;
Proposed Tax Increase Due to Inaction in Springfield
School System Continues to Create More Learning Opportunities for Students
Officials with the Chicago Public Schools today released their proposed budget for fiscal year 2008 and directly linked a local property tax increase to the fact that the state has not yet fundamentally reformed education funding in Illinois.
By state law, the Chicago Board of Education must adopt a budget by the end of August, even though the State of Illinois has not yet passed a budget. The proposed budget assumes approximately $100 million in new state funding, $55 million in new property taxes, and $73 million from reserves.
Ongoing union contract negotiations are adding even more uncertainty to the budget, which assumes 3% salary increases for all unionized employees. Every one percent of negotiated salary increase costs the district approximately $25 million.
Chief Executive Officer Arne Duncan lamented a lack of action by lawmakers in Springfield to pass funding reform, saying, “Year after year, we are forced to raise property taxes because Springfield has not yet fundamentally reformed the way our schools are funded so that we can keep our system moving forward and give every student in every school the education they need and deserve.”
“The real reason we can continue investing in proven strategies like our after school programs and improving teacher quality is because of the support of local taxpayers and our continuing commitment to cutting costs,” Duncan said. “Still, the budget we’re announcing today does not reflect all we need to do to take our system to the next level -- it reflects what we can afford to do,” he added.
The overall budget of $4.9 billion is up by $262 million from last year, a 5.5% increase. This is largely due to higher salaries, pensions and health care costs as well as debt service on a $400 million capital program primarily for new school construction.
Chief Education Officer Barbara Eason Watkins outlined new or expanded school-based investments for full-day kindergarten, after-school programs, high school reform, teacher and principal mentoring and induction, sports, post-secondary planning, college test prep, dropout prevention, and counseling.
Board President Rufus Williams praised the team for investing more money in the classroom, saying, “Our board is determined to adopt a budget that puts the needs of our children above all else, despite the fact that we still don’t have funding reform. Our job is to open schools on September 4th and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Budget Director Beth Swanson said that administrative costs will drop from 4.2 percent of the operating budget to 4.1 percent next year. She also said that enrollment declines and retirements, as well as lower private school tuitions for children with disabilities, will save the district $63 million in 2008. A host of other efficiencies beginning next year will save up to $37 million more starting in 2009.
“All of these efficiency measures are making it possible for us to shift more dollars into the classroom,” Swanson said.
The budget will be the subject of public hearings on Aug. 14 at Lane Tech High School, 2501 W. Addison St., Aug. 15 at Juarez Community Academy, 2150 S. Laflin St., and Aug. 16 at Morgan Park Academy, 1744 W. Pryor Ave. The hearings each night will run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The Board of Education is expected to vote on the FY08 budget at its Aug. 22 meeting.