Pilsen Still in the Dark about Cuts to Local Schools on Last Week of Classes
As feared, the elimination of 50 Chicago schools and 800 teachers and school staff was not the end in the on-going gutting of our city’s public education. New budget cuts to individual schools of up to 25% are bound to cause extra pain in a district already in chaos due to mismanagement and lack of public confidence. The budget cuts are being made public school by school in the last week of classes.
“The Chicago Public Schools are destroying public education,” said Rosalie Mancera, a Pilsen resident. “Mayor Emanuel is not helping working families of color succeed; this overreach has to stop before Chicago becomes a city for the rich only”
In Pilsen, as of Tuesday on the last week of classes, principals had not shared their new budgets with their schools. However, while the full picture has been intentionally blurred by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s hand-picked school board, what is known about the cuts so far is alarming. The Chicago Teachers Union published a list of a few known example:
- TEAM Englewood Community Academy High School— (-) $400,000
- Steinmetz High School—(-) $700,000, which equals 10-12 teachers/paraprofessionals
- Taft High School— (-) $3 million
- Roosevelt High School— (-) $1.1 million
- Eberhart Elementary—(-) $1.5 million
- Foreman High School—(-) $1.7 million
- Gage Park High School—(-) $1 million
- Jamieson Elementary School—$200,000
- Kenwood Academy High School—(-) $1.76 million
- Lincoln Park High School—between (-) $900,000 and (-)$1 million
- Mitchell Elementary School—(-) $788,000
- Social Justice High School—(-) $800,000
Mayor Emanuel and CPS have refused to tap into additional sources of funding in order to fill a supposed gap in the schools budget, choosing instead to sacrifice more teachers and programs in the process. The city could find money in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) surpluses or renegotiating deals advantageous to banks (toxic swaps) that rob children of millions every year. The Chicago Teachers Union has also proposed a fair tax structure and financial transaction tax that could provide more than $6 billion in revenue for schools.
“If the mayor needs to balance the budget, he should not do it on the backs of children and communities,” said Pilsen Alliance Executive Director Nelson Soza. “It is time regular citizens take back the Chicago Public Schools and demand an elected board.”
A CTU statement warns that schools focusing on special education may lose the most. At Blair Elementary, seven special education teachers, one general education teacher and close to eight paraprofessional positions will be slashed by a nearly 75 percent cut to their budget. At Northside Learning Center, a school that serves students with cognitive disabilities, eight special education instructors and 14 teacher aides will be lost.