CPS facing massive cuts if deal isn’t reached in 7 days

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CHICAGO -- The CPS budget crisis is no longer looming. It is here.

Chicago Public Schools is facing a $1 billion dollar budget shortfall. There is no quick fix. All of the decision-makers in Chicago agree Springfield is going to have to help. But that doesn’t seem likely.

Without a deal in the next seven  days, CPS faces $700 million in cuts.

With the deadline looming, the Chicago Teachers Union is renewing its call for tax hikes to fund schools.

On its blog the CTU writes: “(Mayor) Rahm (Emanuel) and (CPS CEO Forest) Claypool are pushing a Broke on Purpose plan to pin the budget cuts on Springfield’s gridlock.”

Under the CTU plan, the union is proposing a $5 dollar tax on Uber and Lyft for airport drop-offs and picks up.  It is also asking for a personal property lease tax increase on rental cars and computer software and a hotel tax hike. CTU says raising hotel taxes from 4.5 percent to 6 percent could raise $30 million for school funding.

In all the teachers union says its plan would raise $502 million in new school funding.

The conservative Illinois Policy Institute slammed the plan.

“The union and the administration have not earned the right to ask for more money nor have they show any evidence that giving them a half billion dollars more would increase student outcomes, increase graduation rates or keep kids off the street,” said Ted Dabrowski of Illinois Policy Institute.

Mayor Emanuel has rejected the CTU plan, and instead he’s looking to Springfield for answers.  Today, the mayor said with CPS making positive gains, now is not the time for drastic cuts.

“ All of the gains in the state of Illinois comes out of Chicago. That’s also true on test scores,” Emanuel said. “In the next seven days Springfield will determine whether we build on this success or start, in my view, to erode the foundations. “

With no sign that help is on the way, CPS officials have begun preparing principals for the massive cuts. Reportedly advising schools to consider sharing administrative staff and brace for large class sizes.

Even city charter school would take a hit with families needing to find new schools for their children.

CPS will be at the center of debate in Springfield over the school funding formula. Many think it needs to be changed to get more money to CPS.