CPS hopes for balanced budget as school year set to begin

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CHICAGO -- Chicago Public Schools are counting on a lot of assumptions to balance its budget.

CPS is assuming Springfield will override the governor's veto on the school funding bill and assumes the city will kick in close to $270 million.

The big problem is, no one is talking about where that money will come from.

In just a few weeks, the hallways at CPS schools will be clear for students, and CPS made it clear Friday that despite politics or finances, CPS schools will be ready.

"I have a message for parents today that is we will be open on time CPS schools will open on time this year and they will stay open during this school year," said Forest Claypool, CEO of CPS.

CPS however will need a lot of help to keep that promise. It released a $5.7 billion budget Friday, filling a half a billion dollars shortfall with a lot of hope and assumptions.

The budget we released today is more of an outline than a traditional budget, officials said.
CPS is waiting on a Springfield and hoping lawmakers will override Governor Rauner's veto of the school funding bill.

Rauner called the original bill a bailout for CPS.  Claypool called that a lie.

"It's in fact much more beneficial to districts throughout the state especially those serving low income communities obviously it will be a significant step for us," said Claypool.

The override would give CPS about $300 million but that still leaves the district about $270 million of a balanced budget. Money to fill that gap may come from city tax payers on top of the property taxes they already pay. But no one is saying where that money would come from.

"There are many options for local reasons to fill this gap and meet our commitment for a balanced budget however this is is not the time or place to discuss them.

He wouldn't tell us why other than his focus was on the state passing a school funding bill. In a statement the Chicago Teachers Union criticized CPS and the mayor for not using other revenue sources. They said, "will the money they're talking about restore cuts to our schools? Absolutely not.

Time meanwhile is running out and CPS is still in a financial mess.

This coming on the heels of teacher layoffs announces just a few days ago and dropping enrollment numbers for CPS. Lawmakers are set to discuss the school funding Sunday.