August 25, 2015
The Civic Federation opposes the Chicago Public Schools proposed $5.7 billion FY2016 budget because it is not balanced and does not provide a sustainable path out of the District’s current fiscal crisis. It is yet another financially risky, short-sighted proposal that fails to provide any reassurance that Chicago Public Schools has a plan for emerging from its perpetual financial crisis.
The Civic Federation believes CPS has reached a very precarious and potentially devastating short-term and long-term financial position. After several years of budget gimmicks, the District has run out of ways to delay the inevitable. The District’s only plan for addressing nearly half of the proposed $1.1 billion budget gap in FY2016 is the hope of $480 million in unspecified funding from the State of Illinois that has not been appropriated. The budget also relies on $200 million in expensive “scoop and toss” borrowing and most likely understates spending, as compensation is held at FY2015 levels because teacher contract negotiations are ongoing.
The Civic Federation urges the Board of Education to reject the District’s unbalanced FY2016 budget proposal and call for a detailed alternative spending plan. In the absence of new revenue sources, this plan will have to rely on significant and painful spending cuts. The Civic Federation strongly believes that all stakeholders including students, parents, employees and taxpayers, are entitled to information about what consequences will follow if gridlock continues at the State and no additional funds are appropriated.
The Chicago Public Schools fiscal year begins July 1 and ends June 30.