CPS Unveils 07 Budget

Here's the press release describing the budget proposal from CPS.  I'll try and get the budget itself or at least some of its highlights for you to look over.  In the meantime, check at bottom for dates of budget hearings, etc. 

From CPS:

CPS Works to Protect
Classroom in Proposed FY07 Budget
New Spending Plan
Includes Deep Administrative Cuts and
Program Efficiencies,
No Class Size Increase

The
Chicago Public Schools released its proposed Fiscal Year 07 budget
for public review today. In order to balance the budget and protect
the classroom, the administration is recommending a property-tax increase
that would generate an estimated $55 million in additional revenue.
It would mean a tax-bill increase of about $11.50 for every $100,000
of a homes assessed value.

We
made cuts everywhere, except in the classroom, CPS Chief Executive
Officer Arne Duncan said. We cut first at the central office; we
then worked hard to be more efficient and strategic in our school-based
spending, and were taking as much as we can from our reserve fund.
The only thing left to cut would have been teachers, and thats absolutely
the wrong thing to do.
Due
primarily to rising personnel costs, which account for about 70% of
the school systems budget, the CPS started the budget process facing
a $328 million deficit. With an additional $110 million in revenue,
mostly from Gov. Blagojevich and the state legislature, the deficit
shrunk to $218 million. The CPS then cut $25 million from the central
office through job cuts, a pay freeze, and a reduction in consultant
costs. Cuts to school-based programssuch as transportation, food
and custodial services, special education, and after-school programsthat
total about $63 million are being proposed to bring the budget deficit
down to about $130 million.

To
close the remaining gap, the CPS is proposing a $75 million draw-down
of the districts reserve funds and a property-tax increase that would
generate $55 million in revenue.

Its
difficult to keep going back to the taxpayers of Chicago every year
for more support, but we think its essential to keep our schools
moving forward, Duncan added. Our schools are making such great
progress; we dont want to jeopardize that by cutting back in the
classroom. Our principals, teachers, and students have proven that they
are worth the investment.

The
Chicago Board of Education is expected to vote on the budget at its
June 28 meeting. Public hearings on the budget will be held June 20
at Lincoln Park High School, 2001 N. Orchard St., June 21 at Finkl Elementary
School, 2332 S. Western Ave., and June 22 at Harlan Community Academy,
9652 S. Michigan Ave. Each hearing begins at 7 p.m. Registration for
public comment begins at 6 p.m.

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