CHICAGO (CBS) — “A breath of fresh air.”
That’s what Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson called the new budget for the district.
Public schools will get an additional $64 million in funding for next school year; making principals, teachers, and parents happy.
However, as CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports the long-term financial health of the system is far from rosy.
Vanessa Rue is on the local school council at Belding Elementary School, and has two children there. She knows the budget stress of years past.
“You didn’t know what else to cut. Like everything was just so barebones, and I think it’s starting feel like we have a little more breathing room,” she said.
Now, Jackson has $64 million dollars in additional money for the 2018-19 academic year, thanks in large part to a change in the education funding formula passed by the Illinois General Assembly.
“This is a good time to be the leader of Chicago Public Schools, because our financial situation is much stronger than it was two years ago,” she said.
As she discussed next year’s budget for schools, Jackson was surrounded by principals who said they’ll be able add staff and create new programs.
“I also received four additional positions from the office of access and enrollment; which really helps with STEM coaches and the engineering coaches and the technology coaches that I have in my building,” said STEM Magnet Academy principal Dr. Maria J McManus.
Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation, a non-partisan government budget watchdog group, said the new CPS budget is cause for happiness, but not long-term cheer.
Msall said CPS still has structural financial problems, and no guarantee Springfield will continue to come up with more funding when the state has its own budget woes.
“We have to see what Springfield does, how it addresses its problems, whether it tries to push those down on the Chicago Public Schools or other school districts,” he said.
Schools with low-income students will see more funds under the new CPS budget, and some schools will hire more special education teachers.
Because principals and local school councils are getting the budget earlier than in years past, they’ll also be able to do a better job of planning for next school year.