Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced a $4 billion budget plan Wednesday that would spend $3.6 billion on public schools over the next five years.
The proposal also calls for $1.4 billion for teachers’ retirement benefits and a $350 million increase in funding for K-12 school construction.
The district plans to cut $1,200 million from the current school year’s budget, but also to give an extra $2.4 million to help teachers pay for health care and other benefits, and to provide an extra two years of raises for employees.
In addition, CPS would also give $400 million to the Illinois Teachers Retirement System to offset pension and health benefits for teachers.”CPS is focused on making Chicago a better place to work, which means we need to focus on what works,” said CPS Board Chair Rob Johnson.
“As we continue to invest in our students, we will make our schools the most competitive in the nation.
We also need to invest the funds we have in the future to strengthen our workforce, so we can meet the needs of our communities and attract the best and brightest to our schools.
The plan includes $600 million for capital improvements to CPS buildings, including $250 million to renovate some of the schools most vulnerable buildings.
In addition, $400 to $400 a year for new equipment would be given to CPS to support classrooms and facilities.CPS has long been a target of the left-leaning Media Matters for America, which has attacked the district for its high costs, including in-room heating and ventilation, and its low-performing teachers.
But the district has also seen some big gains since the financial crisis, including a $25 million increase to teacher pensions and more than $1 million in new grants to schools to support teachers’ health and pensions.
Coxville High School, the district’s third-largest school, has been a focus for the left for years, and a new $400-per-day salary for all teachers is also a big step toward making the district more competitive.
Cleveland Public Schools’ new superintendent, Karen Lewis, has also made strides to address a number of issues in the district, including funding for school uniforms and a pay freeze for teachers that began in 2018.
She’s also pledged to spend $5 billion to create the city’s first-ever school-based homeless shelter.”
We are on track to achieve a new, improved school year, with a better grade-point average, and improved graduation rates, with an overall higher graduation rate,” Lewis said in a statement.