CTU Response to CPS Budget Announcement
CPS FY 2013 BUDGET IS UNREALISTIC AND WILL FURTHER SHORTCHANGE STUDENTS, EDUCATORS
CHICAGO -- Today, the Chicago Teachers Union released the following statement regarding CPS’ newly proposed budget:
While we appreciate the budget leadership team for allowing the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) a short preview of the upcoming Fiscal 2013 budget, the fact of the matter is the budget proposals are both unrealistic and do not take into account the longer school day and year. Their fiscal priorities remain disconnected from our classrooms because they do not take into account the very people who will actually go about the work of educating our city’s more than 400,000 public school students.
Public school educators, paraprofessionals, and clinicians are being asked to work 20 percent longer and take on a lot more work, not just in instruction, but also in assessment and extracurricular activities. A projected 2 percent raise is woefully inadequate. Teachers should be paid fairly as a result of the dramatic increase in the scope of their work.
This is a fantasy budget at best, and it does not address spending prioritization that would result in a better day for all students. It increases charter school spending by 17 percent, but does not address the rampant inequality in education programs across the district. In 2002 charter school spending was about $30 million, now CPS proposes a whopping half-a-billion dollars to a failed reform program that has shown to provide its students with no better education outcomes. This is an unnecessary expansion of an expensive reform that has had little positive result. Furthermore, this budget does not reduce unnecessary and ineffective standardized testing, on which the Board spends more than $60 million each year.
There are other solutions to the CPS fiscal crisis. We maintain this has never been merely a budget expense problem but is also a serious revenue problem. Federal revenues are down. Mayor Rahm Emanuel should use his significant influence in the White House and on Capitol Hill to advocate an increase in federal revenues. State revenues are down. Board of Education President David Vitale, the former head of the Board of Trade, should push for the return the more than $100 million in state tax breaks that went to the CME and increase revenue to our schools. Local revenue is down. Billionaire Board member Penny Pritzker should offer to return the $5.2 million in tax increment financing (TIF) dollars she recently received to expand her Hyatt Hotel dynasty to Hyde Park. And perhaps most easily, the Board should advocate an end to the TIFs that drain a quarter of a billion dollars from our schools each year.
CPS has been in revenue decline for a number of years. We appreciate that CPS has directed some dollars to maintaining class sizes; however, this should be standard operating procedure at every neighborhood school in the first place.
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