Lightfoot’s CPS team has $1.4 billion in unspent federal COVID relief funds, but is imposing massive cuts on schools in special education, trauma supports, other critical needs, creating larger class sizes, fewer supports and hunger games of disinvestment and neglect.
- 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, April 27: press conference with parents, educators, CTU officers. CPS headquarters, 42 W. Madison, Chicago
CHICAGO — For years, Chicago’s mayors have made Spring cuts to school budgets a cruel annual ritual for school communities. That can – and must – change this year. Educators, parents and grassroots groups are organizing across the city to force Mayor Lightfoot to reverse course on tens of millions of dollars in cuts, and hold schools harmless as the pandemic moves through its third year.
Parents, educators, CTU officers and supporters will demand that Lightfoot reverse those cuts at a press conference at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 27 at CTU headquarters, located at 42 W. Madison, before the Board of Education’s monthly meeting.
Lightfoot’s hand-picked board of education has the funds to provide school communities with the stability and equitable support they desperately need – including roughly $1.4 billion in unallocated federal COVID relief funds. Instead, her board is currently pushing tens of millions of dollars in cuts that will split classrooms, explode class sizes, and slash supports for students and families burdened by two years of the pandemic – and years of civic neglect before that.
While Lightfoot’s CPS team announced $60 million in school budget cuts in March, the mayor lowballed the damage, because her team also failed to send schools extra funds to cover contractually mandated cost of living increases, meaning the real cost to schools could be well over double that amount.
Those proposed cuts would be particularly devastating to school communities already hammered by years of austerity budgets, disinvestment, privatization and racist neglect. Like classrooms across the city, one classroom at Zapata Elementary is expected to see class size increase by 50%. Technology coordinators, who were essential to helping students and families during remote learning, are under threat of privatization. And educators across the city are raising the alarm about deep cuts to special education – in a district that has been sued repeatedly for violating the federal rights of special education students.
The need is dire. One school counselor reported last week that she’s referred more students to mental health services for self-harm since September than she has in her previous 15 years of service combined.