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School district has slashed funding at 40+% schools, while student trauma goes unmet – and district forks over another $200 million to offset mayor’s budget shortfall on City side.  

CHICAGO, October 26, 2022 — The Chicago Board of Education and the Chicago City Council both meet later today. Both bodies will discuss finances. And Mayor Lori Lightfoot desperately hopes no one looks at the real issue: her election year city budget takes resources from kindergartners, denies health services to special education students during a global pandemic that killed millions, and withholds sanctuary and language services from English learners and their families by shifting hundreds of millions of dollars in City costs to CPS.

It’s clear why Mayor Lightfoot broke her 2019 campaign promise about supporting an elected school board. She wanted free reign to use CPS for whatever scheme she could cook up. Today, we see that scheme for what it is – a rope-a-dope on Chicago’s residents. In that vein, Chicago’s teachers have a few questions to help Chicagoans understand today’s events.

Ten questions for Mayor Lightfoot:

  1. Why is your hand-picked board of education forking over $200 million to City coffers to cover your City-side budget shortfall?
  2. Why are you forcing CPS to assume responsibility for a City pension fund that Chicago’s mayor’s have willfully – and woefully – underfunded for years?
  3. Why are you bragging about Chicago as a sanctuary city, while our public schools are starved of resources for our new immigrant schoolchildren?
  4. Why are there fewer librarians in CPS schools today than the day you took office, even though as a candidate you promised a librarian in every school community?
  5. Why have you spent less than 15% of the City’s available COVID funds on human needs for our families and neighborhoods, at the same time that your hand-picked school board CUT budgets at over 40% of schools this year?
  6. Why are you protecting rich donors from paying their fair share of taxes by shifting the City’s tax burden to CPS – thus taking away resources from school kids who were already being short-changed BEFORE the pandemic?
  7. Why are schools struggling with staffing shortages – and no funds to hire desperately needed social workers, counselors, school nurses and psychologists to help address sweeping student trauma – while your CPS team has stashed a billion dollars in its rainy day fund to pacify big lenders?
  8. Where is the equity you promised our schoolchildren, our educators and families? Why haven’t we seen that equity in our school communities over the last four years – in a pandemic – when Chicago and CPS combined have received upwards of $5 billion in Covid relief funds?
  9. Why are special education students struggling to get transportation to their schools – or get the education services they need and deserve – even though you promised as a candidate that after years of being denied services and supports, these students would receive the resources they need to learn and succeed
  10. When will you release funds from the City’s coffers to at last address the needs of 20,000 unhoused CPS students who struggle to do homework without a home?

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Check out “The Schools Chicago Students Deserve 3.0”, bringing our groundbreaking 2012 CTU report into the 21st century, with a focus on COVID-19 pandemic recovery and real equity for hundreds of thousands of neglected Black and Latinx students, families and school communities.  

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.