Quantcast

Rahm To Unveil Plan Friday On How CPS Will Fill Massive Budget Gap

 Mayor Rahm Emanuel will brief aldermen Friday on how his administration plans to fill the $129 million budget gap facing Chicago schools.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel will brief aldermen Friday on how his administration plans to fill the $129 million budget gap facing Chicago schools.
View Full Caption
DNAinfo/Heather Cherone

CITY HALL — Mayor Rahm Emanuel will brief aldermen Friday on how his administration plans to fill the $129 million budget gap facing Chicago schools.

Schools will not see additional cuts this school year, according to a City Hall source.

Nor will the mayor propose any new taxes to fill the massive budget gap because there simply would not be enough time to implement a new tax, the source said.

"After a lot of hard work by the CPS and city financial teams, and many discussions with their lending partners, tomorrow we will brief aldermen on the district's finances and the financial plan for the remainder of the CPS fiscal year," said mayoral spokesman Adam Collins.

The mayor has repeatedly promised that Chicago's public school students will be in class until the end of the regularly scheduled academic year on June 20 but has yet to settle on a way to solve the financial crisis that has engulfed the schools.

Earlier this month, Emanuel twice postponed a scheduled briefing for members of the City Council who will be asked to approve any plan to help the beleaguered school district.

Collins said city officials would continue to press Gov. Bruce Rauner to propose "a budget that adequately and fairly funds education in this state."

On top of the school district's budget gap, the state of Illinois owes Chicago Public Schools approximately $467 million.

The mayor said he was left with no other option but to step in and make sure school did not end three weeks early after a judge tossed a lawsuit filed by Chicago Public Schools officials claiming the state's funding formula is discriminatory.

CPS officials had said that if the judge ruled against the district, school would end June 1 — 20 days early.

After the court ruling April 30, Emanuel said he would not allow that to happen and said "all options are on the table" to fund CPS.

Several aldermen have proposed using city redevelopment funds to help the schools stay open, but the measures failed to advance. That plan has been endorsed by both Rauner and the Chicago Teachers Union.

City officials also could decide to tap the city's emergency or "rainy day" funds, or to take out a loan on behalf of CPS.

CPS must pay its employees' pension fund $721 million by June 30, something it could no longer afford to do after Rauner vetoed a bill in November that would have given Chicago's schools $215 million.

Rauner said Illinois Senate Presiden John Cullerton broke a compromise signed last June that allowed schools to open in September. Part of that deal promised more money for Chicago schools in return for statewide "pension reform," a long-held goal of the governor.

In January, Claypool ordered four unpaid furlough days for all CPS employees to save $35 million. He also canceled professional development events for CPS central office staff to save $5 million and slashed charter school budgets by $15 million by the end of the year, officials said.

In February, Claypool cut another $31 million by freezing a portion of schools' discretionary funds, which can be used to buy textbooks and technology and pay for after-school programs, field trips and hourly staff.

Those cuts have whittled CPS' deficit to $129 million, officials said.