CHICAGO — The Chicago Public School system has revealed their plans for the 2024 fiscal year.
CPS CEO Pedro Martinez unveiled budget plans during a zoom meeting alongside board members Tuesday, emphasizing a focus on equity, stability and acceleration.
“We know that our kids are capable of amazing growth while we support their learning,” Martinez said during the Zoom meeting.
CPS’s current budget totals to $9.4 billion, while next year’s number won’t be disclosed until this summer.
“These exact numbers are subject to change as we work with school leaders and the budget process,” Martinez said.
While Martinez was mum on specific numbers for the entire 2024 fiscal budget, he did promise that most of CPS’s 633 schools will receive more funding than they did last year.
“We are projecting to add 150 million dollars for this next school year,” Martinez said. “In addition to the 240 million that added for the current year that we’re in.”
Several budgetary challenges stand in Martinez’s way, some of which are financial burdens unique to Chicago, according to Martinez.
“We’re the only school district in the state that has to provide additional funding for their teacher’s pension fund,” Martinez said. “And right now, that’s costing us $552 million.”
Despite the problems faced, Martinez promised the district will continue to provide valuable programming for students.
Martinez also promised schools that have majority Black and Latino students will see an increase in dollars to help fix inequities in the community, adding new investments will be dedicated to bilingual instruction and expanding pre-school opportunities.
“The largest investment of $100 million,” Martinez said. “[Is] for special education teachers and paraprofessionals to support our diverse learners.”
The Chicago Teachers Union issued a statement Tuesday in response to CPS’s release of their preliminary budget plans.
The statement reads as follows:
“Time and again, educators and school personnel across this city have been called to do more with less. And now is the time for that to change. Since bargaining our contract in 2019, the CTU has been laser-focused on ensuring that our classrooms are safe, welcoming and thriving places for our students and their families. And while it is promising to see investments made by CPS in our schools, CPS leadership must prioritize sustainability and collaboration going forward—especially as the budgets are implemented across the city.
“No school should see cuts in the coming school year. Yet, we remain concerned that the district’s current budgeting framework—student-based budgeting—places the schools most in need at the highest risk of losing out.
“We believe that CPS must prioritize hiring by placing a school nurse a social worker, and appropriate paraprofessional supports in every school building. We need an equity-focused facilities plan that prioritizes modernizing our city’s school buildings and ensuring they all have working HVAC. And most importantly, our students and educators deserve wise investments in an educator pipeline and paid family leave for school employees so that CPS can recruit and maintain high-quality school personnel.
“With so much at stake for our students and community, we look forward to working with CPS to ensure that we close the $1.4 billion state funding gap for our schools.”Chicago Teachers Union