The nation’s third-largest public school system is set to open Tuesday without enough money to make it through the school year, as layoffs, school closings and contract fights have failed to stem mounting fiscal problems.
Chicago Public Schools—with 394,000 students and nearly 21,000 teachers—has closed more than half of a projected $1.1 billion shortfall through cuts, borrowing and other means, but is looking to the state to come up with the rest. The school board warns of deep cuts later this year if Illinois, which faces its own fiscal crisis, doesn’t deliver an additional $480 million in the coming months, representing roughly 8% of annual district spending.
“It is like the board is a desperate gambler at the end of their run,” said Jesse Sharkey, vice president of the Chicago Teachers Union, in a recent speech.
Chicago’s deepening fiscal problems, driven by fast-growing pension costs and declining state aid, run largely counter to the brightening picture for districts across the country as they open their doors for a new school year. While budgets remain tight, school finances are improving as the strengthening U.S. economy helps boost local tax collections and state support for education.
Monday, September 14, 2015
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I've kept an eye on Il/Chicago. CA may be bad, but Chicago is about to be put on life support.