Collaboration between union and district is a central part of Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson’s plans for delivering on the promise of fully funded neighborhood public schools
CHICAGO— In an historic show of unity and collaboration, Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates and Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez are together in Springfield today meeting with the members of the Illinois General Assembly to work toward increased school funding for CPS school communities. The trip is among the first steps in Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson’s plans for a stronger and safer Chicago – plans that start with fully funded neighborhood public schools.
“This partnership is perhaps the first of its kind in recent memory, and an example of what is possible when we work collaboratively, with competence and care, around an issue that’s vital to our communities – the success of our public schools,” said Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson. “With this trip, you have labor and management coming together in the interests of students and their families, and I am hopeful about the outcome and what the future holds.”
As a former teacher, Mayor-elect Johnson campaigned on his passion and vision around making sure that every student in Chicago – regardless of their race, income or zip code – receives a fully resourced, supportive, safe and healthy learning environment. Recently, investments from Springfield assisted CPS in working with disconnected youth and getting them successfully re-engaged in learning with intensive wrap-around services and other programming. As a result, the city’s most vulnerable young people were uplifted.
Today’s visit from President Davis Gates and CEO Martinez looks to establish a pipeline for continued investment, starting with a revised school funding formula that will not only help every community across the state, but will also help ensure there is a nurse and social worker in every Chicago public school. The State of Illinois, in its evidence-based funding model, has recognized that what student and community needs must drive school funding, and that all districts must be brought up to a certain level of resources to meet those needs.
“These are investments in ourselves, in our children, and in our economy,” CTU President Stacy Davis Gates said. “Our schools need more, not less, and I am pleased that we have this opportunity to work in partnership to improve our school communities.”
Additional investments will also aid in Mayor-elect Johnson’s vision in building a comprehensive Trauma Response Network at schools most impacted by violence. Through a wide range of social service offerings to students and families to aid in processing of trauma and provide healing, Mayor-elect Johnson believes the city can interrupt its cycle of violence.
Increased funding for Chicago’s public schools will also drive efforts to increase youth employment during the summer, which will extend into the school year as part of Mayor-elect Johnson’s plans for year-round youth engagement in conjunction with CPS, the private sector, community partners and City of Chicago sister agencies.
“As a father, and a former teacher, I know firsthand the importance of giving our children hope,” Mayor-elect Johnson said. “By investing in our students, and their schools, we can start fulfilling the promise of a better Chicago, and a stronger economy throughout our city and state.”