Chicago School Board OKs Property Tax Hike

Updated 08/24/11 – 9:08 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Board of Education has approved a plan to raise property taxes in Chicago to help eliminate a $712 million budget hole.

On average we’re looking at a relatively small estimate – a little more than $80 a year more in property taxes for the average homeowner – but in these tough times, every little bit matters.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports

As CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports, the board had a huge hole to fill and members filled it with a combination of cuts and tax increases.

But no one is breathing a sigh of relieve because right behind it is another deficit totaling hundreds of millions of dollars that no one seems to have.

To finance the nation’s third largest school district next school year, administrators proposed a $5.9 billion budget for the Chicago Public Schools for next year.

To get there, Chicago taxpayers will be paying more – homeowners will see a 2.4 percent hike in their property tax bills. That comes to $84 more a year in property taxes for the owner of a $250,000 home.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel defended the tax increase, calling it a way to increase options for parents and keep from increasing the number of kids per classroom.

The district faced a $712 million budget gap and made $400 million in cuts, which included the elimination or central office jobs and the cancellation of 4 percent negotiated raises for teachers.

“The next two years the picture is even more grim,” Tim Cawley, CPS Chief Operating Officer told the school board on Wednesday.

But headaches continue. The district now faces an $860 million deficit adding up over the next two years.

It’s happening at a time when local state and federal revenues for education are declining – this year, in total, they dropped by $256 million for the district.

“I am tired and embarrassed of responding to questions on this by saying ‘I don’t know how … we’re going to close that $860 million dollar gap two years from now,” Cawley said.

CPS officials said that in the months ahead, the district will begin evaluating the closure of underutilized facilities and the way employees are compensated. It will also lobby Springfield to rethink a failing formula that’s supposed to help fund public schools.

“We cannot save our way to success or to fiscal health. We need fundamental restructuring of how we do business,” Brizard said.

The board is faced with even tougher decisions in the months ahead. School officials said to expect significant changes to the way some contracts are awardedm for example.

But these are difficult times for everyone. You would think public officials, after voting to raise our taxes, would be willing to step up to the dozen reporters from the city’s major media outlets to defend their decision, but no one would after Wednesday’s vote.

The vote came a day after Brizard went on TV to announce he had offered 2 percent raises to CPS elementary school teachers if the district implemented a longer school day and a longer school year right away, rather than waiting until the 2012-2013 school year. The move angered the Chicago Teachers Union, which was not told of the offer before Brizard announced it on WTTW-TV’s “Chicago Tonight” program.

–CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine contributed to this report.

  • Chivi

    Unbelievable!!! We are getting hit in our pockets again!! Get rid of the lazies and save money!! Stop giving bad teachers chances!!! Give them what they deserve!! Bad quality bad quantity of pay.

  • tom Sharp

    I think it only fair, since you’re taking even more of my tax money, that the CPS Board also pass a rule that any teacher or principal caught cheating on test scores, attendance, dropout rates etc. be automatically dismissed sans pension. Given Rahm’s mania about “merit bonuses” there will be a lot of losers to dump and money to save if they pass this rule!

  • Superwoman

    I don’t want to pay for poor quality. I am going to do like many. Good-bye Chicago!!!

  • Monica Vik

    Once again I would like to ask someone! Anyone! What in the heck was the lottery for???? That was supposed to be only for the schools… just like the toll way lie.. oh just 20 yrs and we wont need tolls… and now they need to raise them ?? Why? Oh because u know the ones in charge are dipping into it for private parties and such… I wish I never moved back here. If I could turn back time…….

  • Nightrider

    Once again the answer is always raise some sort of tax to pay for the politicians inability to manage properly. This is why, in many cases hiring companies, with the proper skill set, is better then the people we have now to manage goverment. Raising taxes is not the answer, accountability is the key.

  • Homeowner Hit AGAIN

    What? I can barely stand that the value of my home has depreciated, now I am to pay more taxes? Why is it the responsible people keep getting hit? I did not walk away from my mortgage, can not refi, because rules are so tough and now this…….IF I HEAR ONE GRIP from the teachers I will flip out…they get paid plenty for a 9 month work year!

    • PHUCK the CPS

      EXACTLY!!!! Houses are worth ALOT less, but let’s stick it right up the @ss of the taxpayers!!! Over-payed, under-worked teachers turning out under-achieving students. Yeah, that’s a system that works!!!!

  • PHUCK the CPS

    I can NOT believe they have the authority to do this!!!!! This city, county, and state are a total cesspool of democratic failure and union patronage!!!

  • MR. MARS



    Why not verify all those receiving free school and TWO meals a day are legal immigrants, Arizona was on the right track. Ohh that’s right – Rahm needs someone to vote for him!!!!!!!!

  • Manny Irizarry

    Use the TIF funds, then do away with the TIF program altogether. The TIF program is like someone coming up to you and saying they need $500 while they have $1,000 under the mattress

  • Larry

    Insanity. The economy is horrible. RE prices are down. People are losing homes. The City inspects facades and orders work done to fund their buddies, who kick back to the City. And the State and these cl0wns come up with a solution of more taxes? It’s unreal. It’s not even worth owning a home in the city anymore.

  • patrick

    the school broad and CEO should take a pay cuts
    that is why the CPS is broke, ask them how much they make

  • Chivi

    Since this stupid tax hike was passed, now let’s push for longer school days and no vacation time for teachers!!! They should work year round just like the rest of us. The students will definitely benefit and keep them off the streets. We can do something about this. Let’s push for school year round and longer school days!! Kids should not be taking homework home with them. They should get the teaching time in school!! The teachers put us the parents to do their work because they are not doing theirs in school.

  • moncler

    Really like the blog, Ill be back once more soon.Come visit my posting woodworking machinery.continue using the the nice function on the news. Moncler coats men. I’ve authored a much more detailed discussion about this subject which I hope most likely will serve as a good solid philosophical framework.

  • Jenny Clifer

    Wow ! What a blog? Superb! I liked it thanks a lot to share this nice post!
    please share more exciting post like this.After promising not to nickel-and-dime Chicagoans with tax increases to plug a budget hole at City Hall. gud post!

  • sgmalx4


    I found some excellent articles for anyone who is looking to improve their! can be a really big issue for a lot of people, and I think more and more people are starting to understand the power of the internet and internet advertising. That’s why can be such an important factor. These guys make some excellent points about how important is. Most people today look at least for ten minutes online today before doing business with someone. It can be almost compulsive if you ask me. But anyways for anyone who is looking for tips or who are looking to improve their you may want to contact these guys.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live