CPS principals receive budgets but Rauner’s veto promise looms

CHICAGO -- Chicago public school principals received their annual budgets today.

They include more funding for students, but a promised veto from Gov Rauner means the schools may never see that money.

“For the third year in a row, CPS leaders have provided a budget to schools without having any ideas how they will pay for it,” CTU president Karen Lewis said.

The district announced this year it plans to spend $200 more per student.

CPS also will add funds for additional Special Ed teachers and paraprofessionals.

But this money accounts for $200 million in funds Gov Rauner has promised to veto.

The funding boost comes as the district expects another decline in enrollment -- 8,000 fewer students this year.

“Enrollment declines exasperated by Springfield uncertainty will put us right back where were last year facing midyear cuts and the threat of furlough days or a shortened school year,” Lewis said.

Admitting the district is relying on an assist from Springfield, CPS CEO Forrest Claypool pointed the finger at the governor.

He released a statement saying:

“Governor Rauner is holding children across the state hostage as bargaining chips for his political agenda, but we won’t let Chicago children be used as pawns in his game. We will do what is necessary to keep our schools open and maintain the historic academic gains we have made these past few years, including continuing our efforts to reduce bureaucracy while investing money directly in classrooms.”

But some Chicago aldermen want Mayor Emanuel to raise more revenue for schools.

“This is the mayor’s crisis,” said Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa.  “He engineered it by making sure his corporate donors get while our kids get cuts, our schools get cuts after cuts after cuts.”

Lewis also attacked the mayor saying, “Rahm has to do the right thing. Where is he now? In Milan. I wonder how many $10,000 suits he’s coming back with.”

As they hunt for funding, the teachers and their allies continue to point out that CPS is  predominately minority and they say politicians don’t care about the district.

CTU wants Emanuel to tap into Tax Increment Financing or TIF money to gives CPS a boost. Cook County Clerk David Orr says TIFs generated more than half a billion dollars last year. Some aldermen want City Council to revisit that accessing that money.