Spending plan represents real commitment to addressing the social, emotional and economic stumbling blocks that have held our city back for too long

CHICAGO—The Chicago Teachers Union released the following statement after the Chicago City Council overwhelmingly passed Mayor Brandon Johnson’s inaugural city budget:

“Now more than ever, our students, school buildings, and communities need real solutions, and as a result of our long-fought campaign for a more equitable and fair Chicago, we are seeing these results come to pass.

The 2024 city budget, authored by Mayor Brandon Johnson and passed by the City Council, holds real solutions for many of the problems ailing our city for far too long. It is an important first step in reversing decades of disinvestment in Chicago’s Black and Brown communities.

As a former middle school educator, Mayor Johnson knows that budgets are moral documents affirming where you stand. In this budget, the mayor has made it clear that he stands with hardworking families and our city’s most vulnerable residents.

Chicago is facing real challenges. Whether it be 18,000 new migrants being used in an evil action by right-wing zealots or the tens of thousands of our neighbors who have faced decades of underinvestment and racist segregation in their communities, our city deserves a budget that incorporates the voices of every resident and highlights our city’s generosity. And this budget does just that.

Turning the page on generations of cuts, closures, and harms, the 2024 budget is a covenant where healing, restoration, hope, and equity are its cornerstones.

Whether opening two mental health clinics, doubling the staff for an alternative response program for mental health emergencies or adding 4,000 additional summer jobs for young people, this budget is a living example of what can be done when a city puts people first.

As educators, we know that you cannot improve a school without also caring for the community, and having a collaborative partner on the fifth floor of City Hall that believes in working together will allow us to make our communities safe, welcoming and thriving places. Through the commitment of $100 million to fund treatment and address the trauma felt by those impacted by violence, Mayor Johnson has taken a bold step to address years of divestment at the hands of previous mayoral administrations.

Beyond investing in community violence intervention, which directly impacts our students and their classrooms, this budget establishes our city’s first-ever Office of Reentry. A move that will ensure that returning citizens have access to the necessary supports, counseling services, job training and housing resources necessary for restoration and healing.

Here is the truth: our way forward as a city that cares about all its residents will be challenging, but with this first budget, which is now law, Mayor Johnson has shown us that is possible. More than just boxes on a spreadsheet or dollar amounts, this budget represents a real commitment to addressing the social, emotional and economic stumbling blocks that have held our city back for too long.”

The Chicago Teachers Union represents nearly 30,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the more than 300,000 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.