CHICAGO -- Funding for Chicago Public Schools was cast as a moral issue, not a financial one, by CPS CEO Forrest Claypool and the congregation of Mt. Vernon Missionary Baptist Church Sunday morning on the West Side.
Governor Bruce Rauner, whose budget would cut CPS funding by $74 million, and the state's Democratic leaders have failed to reach a consensus. The duration of the impasse has stretched longer than the academic year.
"Even though we have done our best to keep cuts away from the classroom, they still have fewer counselors, fewer after-school programs, older textbooks and crumbling buildings," Claypool said.
Pastors across the city addressed the funding challenges of CPS in services this morning. Claypool criticized the current funding formula that he says will cause city schools to lose money under Governor Rauner's budget, while wealthier districts in the suburbs gain. Twenty percent of the state's population lives in Chicago, 20 percent of tax revenue comes from within city limits, but CPS receives less than 20 percent of state school funding.
"Our children are 85 percent low-income, 85 percent black and Latino, yet they receive a fraction of educational resources that children in the rest of the state receive," Claypool said.
Claypool says the state is perpetuating two separate but unequal systems of education, and he is asking parents to call Governor Rauner's office tomorrow to demand change.
"Chicago Public Schools are at a tipping point, and we cannot allow the State of Illinois to discriminate against our children any longer," Claypool said.
Rauner's spokeswoman has said that the funding formula is based on enrollment numbers, the number of low-income students and property values. The budget is being reduced to declines in student enrollment and the number of low-income students, allowing with increasing property values.