14 Days Until School Starts: Will the Mayor Restore Funding?

The city has options to help restore funding to our schools and it is unclear if they will do so with only two weeks left before school starts. Cuts to basic programs at CPS are staggering and we will be highlighting program cuts for the next two weeks looking at an elementary and HS programs each day.

We have been advocating together for a TIF surplus all summer and so far the Mayor has given no indication that he will return any of the unallocated TIF funds, which is property tax money that has been diverted from the schools and other taxing bodies.

CPS- Draft Performance Policy

CPS uses a Performance Policy Metric to assign schools a level rating and make decisions about probation and school actions.  Attached is the latest draft of the revised CPS Performance Policy, which is likely to be voted on at the August Board meeting.  We are meeting with CPS today to offer feedback (see comments below). Please share any thoughts that you have on this. :

Raise Your Hand Comments on Draft CPS Performance Policy

Budget Hearings - 8/1 and 8/2

This week CPS presented their budget at the BOE meeting and put info on the budgets online:


Despite CPS claims that cuts have been kept from the classroom and programs have been protected such as the Full School Day, we did some quick crunching of the numbers and found 92 schools lost an art position, 54 schools lost a music position, 58 schools lost a PE position, 40 schools lost a librarian, and so on and so forth.  Many schools never had these positions to cut in the first place.

Devastating cuts: 2,085 more teachers/employees laid off at CPS

Raise Your Hand is disgusted to learn that Chicago Public schools has laid off another 2000 teachers and staff  bringing the total number of layoffs for the year to 3500.  This news lies in stark contrast to the ongoing CPS rhetoric to minimize any impact of budget cuts on the classroom.  Now CPS is claiming that there will be "winners and losers."  Even if a few schools have been spared from these widespread and severe cuts, we believe that there are only losers in this scenario. 

Sun-Times reports that CPS restores $35k-$100k to 130 schools

After rejecting the budget and deep cuts initially proposed by Chicago Public Schools, Bell Elementary School voted Monday night at a special Local School Council meeting to approve a “budget of choice” that would untie their principal’s hands but still send a message to the district.

The LSC, which ultimately approves the school’s budget and oversees the principal’s spending, also said it would not spend $100,000 recently offered by CPS, saying they didn’t know where the money was coming from.

$40 Increase in HS per pupil level

CPS has increased the per pupil allocation for high schools by $40, as this letter explains.
Dear HS Principal,
We know that many of you are facing significant budget challenges this year in the wake of the District’s financial crisis. S faces a historic $1 billion deficit, and with the failure of pension reform in Springfield and three years of flat and declining revenues, this crisis has been brought to many of your doorsteps. Please know that we are using every tool we can to keep cuts as far away from our classrooms as possible so that every student can continue to experience the steady gains we have seen these past few years. While we have already cut $600 million since 2011 in central office, administrative and operations spending, and

Budget cuts/Funding - FAQs

We've been getting a lot of questions about budget cuts and potential sources of funding. Here's a quick FAQ:

What is RYH working on right now to restore budget cuts?

City-wide tif surplus return – short term

Graduated income tax campaign – long term. A new campaign launches this weekend with numerous organizations citywide. Email us if you want to learn more – info@ilraiseyourhand.org.

What about pensions? CPS is blaming school cuts on pension issues

What's in the TIF pot?

Thanks to Christopher Ball and Daniel La Spata for working on this post.


TIF    Projection    Reports

Total Balance    -                              Jan. 2012      $1,028,019,600

Total Property  Taxes Collected (2012-2013)    $928,254,000

Total Revenue                                                         $1,956,273,600

Current Obligations    (2012-2013) -                   $1,001,110,500

Total Revenue less Current Obligations           $955,163,100


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