Actual numbers show cuts to social workers, school nurses, while hundreds of schools will take budget hits.
CHICAGO—Chicago Teachers Union staff spent much of Thursday analyzing the budget that CPS issued today—and that Mayor Lightfoot claims produces “unprecedented investments” in schools.
But the numbers tell a different story—of cuts to schools and staff and promises broken to schools, students and staff.
The mayor’s CPS budget narrative says they are increasing nurses by 30. The FY20 budget report itself shows CPS has budgeted for 127 certified School Nurse positions, 91 Health Service and 124 Hospital Licensed Practitioner Nurse positions.
The position file from last year showed 127 school nurses, 93 health service and 127 HLPN positions. And the FY19 budget shows that CPS originally budgeted for 145 school nurses—so the budget Lightfoot and CPS issued today actually shows a DECREASE in health care workers, including school nurses.
While Lightfoot and CPS were at pains today to claim the budget provides substantially more for schools, the numbers show that the 5th floor is actually CUTTING $100,000 or more from over 200 schools. 43 of those schools will face cuts of over half a million dollars.
For social workers, Lightfoot claims CPS is adding 35. But the budget and position files put the lie to that claim. The June 2019 position file shows CPS had 470 social worker positions. But for FY2020, the budget shows 458 social worker positions—a CUT of 12 jobs.
All this while the City’s TIF slush fund has grown $180 million over the last year to an historic high: more than $840 million. By conservative estimates, at least $200 million of those TIF dollars is coming out of revenues that should be going to schools. But Lightfoot’s CPS executives have allocated less than half that—$97 million—to the FY20 budget.
And profits for bankers—what CPS pays for debt service—is $700 million for FY2020, over 12% higher than last year. That, says CTU President Jesse Sharkey, is a stark example of the mayor’s office again privileging bankers’ profits over school workers and students, at a time when Lightfoot refinanced and cut debt like this in the City side.
“As we dive deeper into the budget, one thing becomes more and more clear,” said Sharkey. “The only way to force the mayor to keep her promise of real educational equity for our students and our school communities is by making them enforceable—in a fair contract with our members.”