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CTU responds to district’s rollback of school budget cuts

CHICAGO—The Chicago Teachers Union issued the following statement today in response to Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) decision to roll back some of its budget cuts and restore funding to predominantly African-American and Hispanic schools receiving Title I funds:

“Mayor Rahm Emanuel has a long way to go before creating a culture of integrity, trust and stability throughout our school district. Our revenue-starved school communities desperately need leadership, and while the mayor continues a fake fight with his mentor, Gov. Bruce Rauner, our school communities are scrambling to provide wraparound supports for students dealing with unprecedented levels of trauma as a result of the violence in their neighborhoods—violence that he has zero solutions for—and severe cuts to special education services for some of our most vulnerable students. By our count, our school communities have suffered more than $2 billion worth of cuts under Emanuel’s failed leadership.

“School funding is but one of the many injustices Black and brown school communities continue to suffer under Emanuel—from 50 school closings in 2013 and the unprecedented loss of minority educators, to unfair and unchecked privatization of school communities, and the muzzling of parent voices in low-income neighborhoods. Evident in today’s announcement, CPS is broke on purpose. Hundreds of millions of dollars remain in tax increment financing (TIF) surplus funds, which is revenue that could plug the holes in school budgets throughout the district today. We need both political will and revenue to rectify the injustices experienced by our school communities. Emanuel and Rauner must demand that their billionaire political brethren pay more.

“Our demands, however, remain unchanged. We demand an elected, representative school board, as the oppressive nature of Emanuel’s handpicked Chicago Board of Education negates just leadership and any notions of fairness. We also demand immediate revenue for our schools that could come from TIF surplus funds and reinstituting a corporate head tax that Rahm rescinded for his campaign donors.

“‘After suffering yet another front-page embarrassment for continuing his practice of under-resourcing and attacking minority school communities, the mayor suddenly “finds” money already there for the same Black and brown children he accused Rauner of disproportionately impacting last week?’ said CTU President Karen Lewis. ‘This latest directive is both arbitrary and random, and leaves us asking why our school communities had to suffer from the anxiety of this latest round of budget cuts in the first place.’”

Chicago Teachers Union