Relying on nearly half a billion dollars from Springfield and more than $250 million in costly “scoop and toss” borrowing, the Chicago Board of Education unanimously approved the FY2016 budget for Chicago Public Schools Wednesday.
The $5.7 billion budget includes $200 million in what the Board called “painful cuts” that affect CPS’ central office and hundreds of teachers. The budget also calls for a property tax hike to the cap for Chicagoans, and draws on TIF surplus funds.
“There is no question that the budget approved today is not the budget we want for our schools this year, but it does reflect the District’s extremely challenging financial situation in the absence of pension reform and sufficient state education funding,” CPS CEO Forrest Claypool said in a press release hours after the vote. “We are pleased leaders in Springfield have acknowledged our structural deficit must be addressed, and we will continue working diligently with our partners to ensure a solution is reached that brings CPS the resources it needs to provide every one of its students with a high-quality education at the school of their choice.”
The Board’s so-called “partners in Springfield,” have until August 31 to put a balanced budget in place. Without Springfield’s help, Board of Education officials have said they’ll hit a financial wall at the start of 2016.
Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis was scheduled to speak at a City Club of Chicago luncheon today, but Vice President Jesse Sharkey will be taking her place. The sold out event begins at 11:30 a.m.