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With schools currently funded at only 65% ‘adequacy’, mayor’s $60+ million budget cuts come as CPS sits on $1.4 billion in federal COVID relief dollars and low-balls scope of harm, which will force split classrooms, larger classes, less resources for students who desperately need stable supports..

  • 7:00 a.m. THURSDAY, May 19 : Haines elementary school protest/walk-in against CPS budget cuts, 247 W. 23rd Place.  $400k budget cut will hurt school’s 80+% impoverished AAPI schoolchildren.

CHICAGO — As the Asian American and Pacific Islander community celebrates heritage month, parents and educators at Haines Elementary School are gearing up to fight close to $400,000 in cuts to the school’s already bare-bones budget. Still reeling from two years of trauma and loss from the devastating pandemic, CPS’ draconian budget cuts would slash up to seven staff positions at the school, which is beloved in the Asian American community.

Such a dramatic cut would destabilize the school by depriving it of critical resources required to meet deepening student needs at the neighborhood school, which serves predominantly Asian, low-income students in Chicago’s first-ever Asian majority ward. At a time when the community is celebrating its heritage and accomplishments, CPS is sending the exact opposite message, forcing families to fight to maintain even the basics of a quality education.

Haines parents will join CTU educators and officers to condemn the cruelty and incompetence the cuts reflect — and demand their reversal — at a press conference at 7:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 19, at Haines, located at 247 W. 23rd Pl.

The cuts at Haines — and at hundreds of other CPS schools — come at a time when the district pledged next year would be a “recovery” year for students, their families and their school communities.

Instead, CPS’ unnecessary cuts are expected to hit over half of the district’s schools, with some schools losing upwards of $900,000 at a time when school communities are crying out for stability and equitable support. Administrators already are warning educators of staff cuts, split classrooms, reductions in critical areas of support like special education, and larger class sizes in a district that has struggled with overcrowding at many schools.

The cuts come at a time when CPS is sitting on at least $1.4 billion in unspent federal COVID relief funds that must be used by 2024, and over $300 million in federal COVID relief funds that were supposed to have been spent on student needs this year.

That’s left schools trapped in another round of budget hunger games that is ratcheting up stress and anxiety among parents, educators and school communities who have been struggling simply to survive during the pandemic. Some schools are confronting deep cuts in special education services and supports, at a time when CPS is still under state oversight for past special ed failures.

Other school communities are under pressure to cut technology coordinators — the workers parents, students and educators rely on — as CPS mounts another troubling CPS privatization scheme. Technology coordinators were essential during remote learning and these vital positions should be expanded, not cut. Instead of slashing these essential workers, CPS must ensure that every school has the expertise to support 21st century learning that technology coordinators provide.

The CTU, parents and elected officials are demanding that CPS reverse the devastating budget cuts and instead use unspent COVID relief funds to plug funding gaps at schools for the rest of this year and next year. CPS also must ditch its racist, inequitable student-based budgeting formula. Illinois passed an equity-driven funding formula in 2017 that directed more revenue to schools based on student needs — substantially increasing the state contribution to CPS coffers — yet CPS refuses to use an equity-based lens itself in distributing those state funds.

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.