Achieving financial stability will ease the uncertainty the recent budget crisis has created and allow us to
devote our full attention to what matters most: educating children and investing in their future.
During this challenging budget, CPS has worked to minimize the impact on the classroom and protect investments
that are leading to record academic progress. Despite facing difficult decisions, students have also made considerable
progress. In the past year, CPS’ budget has been put on a better path as a result of budget cuts, management
efficiencies, and increased taxpayer investments in schools. However, until the State’s funding discrimination
against Chicago students ends, the budget will continue to face challenges. For this reason, CPS and five families
filed a civil rights lawsuit in February 2017 to fight for equal funding from the State, which provides approximately
78 cents to Chicago students for every dollar it provides students in the rest of the state, on average.
While the measures previously listed have all contributed to reducing a billion dollar deficit by half, more cuts
alone will not eliminate the funding gap. The CPS budget crisis will not come to an end without a more equitable
system for funding schools in Illinois. Not only has state funding for CPS decreased by 8 percent over the past
eight years, but the State has actually increased funding to other districts by 45 percent.
Consider that CPS students make up 20 percent of the state’s enrollment and Chicagoans contribute 20 percent of the
state income tax, yet our students receive only 15 percent of the state’s total school funding.
The state clearly is maintaining two separate and unequal systems for funding public education in Illinois: one for
the City of Chicago, whose public school children are 90 percent children of color; and the other for the rest
of the State, whose public school children are predominantly white. To challenge this inequity under the Illinois
Civil Rights Act, Chicago Public Schools filed a lawsuit against the State of Illinois on February 14, 2017.
We have requested an expedited ruling in order to bring a quick resolution and fair funding to our schools as
quickly as possible.
Without action in Springfield to eliminate inequities in state funding for Chicago schools, we will be forced to
make deeper cuts. Because 97 percent of CPS’ budget directly impacts schools, we know that these cuts will be
painful. The strategies below will ensure that the district is doing all it can to achieve a financially stable
Until recently, each school was left on its own to purchase items such as computers, IT equipment and instructional
the amount of time principals spend on vendor management and equipment servicing.
For decades, CPS has asked our principals and their staff to manage accounting tasks, like payroll, on top of their
to do what they do best—focus on students.
Chicago will continue to fight for fair state funding for our schools through the courts and by engaging parents
and community members to advocate with us. The current funding system is indefensible, both legally and morally,
and subjects Chicago’s children to a racially discriminatory funding formula that shortchanges them by $500 million
in the 2016-17 school year alone. In addition to Chicago’s unique discrimination problems, the Education Trust
has ranked Illinois dead last out of 50 states in its approach to funding the education of low income students.