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Cash-Strapped Schools Finding Creative Ways To Raise Money

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Schools For Rent (CBS)

Schools For Rent (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A desperate need for cash has some Chicago public schools hanging out the “For Rent” sign.

School administrators are willing to rent for classrooms, playgrounds, gyms, parking lots — almost any part of the building to bring in money to offset expected cuts from CPS’s projected $750 million budget deficit. 

CBS 2’S Dorothy Tucker takes a look at creative ways the schools are looking to cash-in.

Friday, parents at Shoesmith Grade School are getting the gym ready for an evening affair.

But in the past, this same space has been the site of a Saturday morning basketball game, rented out by community residents who pay the school $120 a week.

Schools across the district are trying to raise money creatively. Principals have been told they will probably lose teachers and funding for numerous programs like special education or kindergarten.

As soon as a greenhouse is up and running, Shoesmith principal Patricia Watson plans to sell vegetables.

It’s another way the school will raise money to pay for sports, art, music and technology. The $400,000 discretionary budget that used to cover those extras may now have to be used to pay replace teachers the school board may cut. 

“Our children cannot learn with 40 students in the classroom,” Watson said.

Dr. Kathy Hagstrom, the principal of Disney Magnet School, thinks renting a field to soccer clubs could generate as much as tens of thousands of dollars. 

Disney already rents out the school’s community center, gym room and classrooms. By running an after-school program, it raises an impressive $600,000 a year. Still, the buying of iPads is on hold.

“If I have to buy a teacher because of a cut, I want to have that opportunity,” Hagstrom said.

The Chicago Public Schools board has is expected to release its final budget — and shortfall — in a couple weeks.

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