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Lightfoot’s CPS team slashes over $3 million from Little Village school budgets as district sits on $1.4 billion in federal COVID relief dollars, low-balls scope of harm from cuts to critical programs.

  • 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 31: Protest, press conference with educators, families, students, elected officials, under the Little Village Arch, 26th and Albany, Chicago.

CHICAGO — Little Village educators, parents, families, elected officials and community residents are joining the chorus of voices demanding Mayor Lightfoot and her CPS team reverse her cruel and devastating school budget cuts, which would slash more than $3 million from Little Village schools. Last Wednesday, the mayor’s CPS CEO vowed to move ahead with cuts, even though he admitted schools are currently starved of a third of the funds they need just to meet the bare minimum – crippling educators’ ability to meet ever increasing student needs in the predominantly low-income Latinx community during the pandemic.

Little Village CTU members, families, elected officials and community residents will join together for a #FreeTheFunds rally and press conference after school, at 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 31, under the Little Village Arch at 26th and Albany, to demand the mayor invest some of the $1.4 billion in COVID relief funds CPS is currently hoarding in recovery supports for CPS students.

The pandemic has hit Little Village hard, with the neighborhood in a COVID hot zone for much of the last two years. Slashing $3 million plus would break the budgets at over a dozen already starved neighborhood schools and make it virtually impossible for educators and staff to provide the programs and services needed to address the students’ two years of trauma and loss.

While the mayor’s CPS team could still reverse the cuts, neighborhood schools are bracing for real harm from cuts of $100,000 to as much as $900,000 currently being imposed. Administrators have been warning educators of staff cuts, split classrooms, reductions in critical areas of support like special education, and larger class sizes — all in a district that has struggled with overcrowding at many schools and system-wide special education violations.

At the same time that CPS is unnecessarily cutting over $60 million from schools city wide, Mayor Lightfoot’s hand-picked board of ecucation has agreed to take on $175 million in City pension payments this year alone, in a shameful scheme to balance the city budget in an election year on the backs of CPS students.

The cuts at schools across the city are even more disgraceful after the district pledged next year would be a “recovery” year for students, their families and their school communities. Instead, schools continue to be trapped in another round of budget hunger games that is ratcheting up stress on already anxious and traumatized families, students and educators who have been struggling simply to survive during the pandemic.

The CTU, parents and elected officials are demanding that CPS reverse the devastating budget cuts in Little Village and at every other school and instead use unspent COVID relief funds to plug funding gaps for the rest of this year and next year. They also want the district to abandon the racist ‘student-based budgeting’ scheme, or SBB, that has been used as a pretext to slash already deeply underfunded schools, and instead agree to fund vital positions at every school.

The Chicago Teachers Union represents more than 25,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the nearly 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States. For more information please visit the CTU website at www.ctulocal1.org.