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Mayor Defends Controversial School Budget Moves

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dellimore250 Craig Dellimore
Craig Dellimore, political editor for WBBM, joined the station in 1983...
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WBBM 780’s Craig Dellimore

cps 1110 Mayor Defends Controversial School Budget Moves
WBBM 780/105.9FM

CHICAGO (CBS) – Mayor Rahm Emanuel defended the Chicago Public Schools’ use of what some would call a fiscal “gimmick” to balance its $6.8 billion budget for next school year.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports the CPS budget for 2014-15 contains the types of moves Emanuel has railed against in other contexts. The budget plan not only raises property taxes to the limit again, but borrows two months of property tax revenue from the 2015-16 fiscal year to help close an $875 million shortfall this year.

The mayor said the school district was doing what it can with what it has.

“The Chicago Board [of Education] and management has taken out, over the last 2 ½ to 3 years, $750 million of inefficiency, cuts, and savings and reforms,” he said. “And their work’s not done, but according to the Department of Education, in 2010 – which is the last year they have data – the state of Illinois is 50th out of 50 when it comes to funding education.”

Emanuel said if the state committed more money to education, CPS wouldn’t have such a major budget crunch.

“Just imagine if Illinois wasn’t 50th – dead last,” Emanuel said. “What if they were actually doing, on a per-pupil funding, what other states are providing major cities? We wouldn’t have the type of budget deficit we have.”

The Civic Federation – a budget watchdog group – has said the budget moves by CPS for this year only push back hard decisions to the next fiscal year, when the district will face an even larger budget deficit.

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