CHICAGO (CBS) — Although Chicago Public Schools were starting the school year on stable financial ground for the first time in years, the teachers’ union and others were still demanding more money for the district after years of cutbacks.
The new school year begins without the threat of a teachers’ strike, or a funding crisis that could force mid-year spending cuts, but the Chicago Teachers Union – and many parents and students – have said CPS still needs more money.
At a protest rally outside Thomas Kelly High School, activists demanded CPS restore funding cuts that were forced on schools over the past few years.
“That includes counselors, teachers, a clean building, after-school programs, and updated text books,” said Andrea Ortiz, of the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council.
Protesters said Kelly was one of the schools hit hardest by CPS budget cuts in recent years, losing almost $2 million in funding, 23 teachers, and other staff.
“Today, we stand in solidarity with Kelly High School community, as devastating cuts in funds and teachers have left thousands of students drastically short,” said CTU financial secretary Maria Moreno.
CTU repeatedly has called on the city to reinstate a “head tax” on businesses, and use surplus tax increment financing funds to increase funding for CPS so recent years’ spending cuts can be restored.