CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Board of Education will be talking about the Chicago Public Schools’ budget proposal in its meeting on Wednesday, but the Chicago Teachers Union wants the district to overhaul its spending plan to provide more support for students dealing with trauma.
The $9.3 billion spending plan includes $225 million more for school budgets, and $672 million in capital spending for needs such as pre-K classrooms, accessibility for people with disabilities, and improving athletic facilities.READ MORE: Car Crashes Into Near North Diner
It also includes $1 billion in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief, or ESSER, funding from the federal government to help schools recover from the pandemic.
But some teachers want more set aside for students dealing with the trauma of skyrocketing gun violence.
The Chicago Teachers Union staged an informational picket outside the Chicago Board of Education before Wednesday’s budget meeting, saying issues like violence and student trauma weren’t taken into consideration.
Teachers said the school district is ignoring their calls for change.READ MORE: Woman Killed In Jefferson Park Hit-And-Run
“We have violence in this city. Over 200 of young people who will be in our school communities, if they are still alive, have been harmed by gun violence. But you get to ration social workers and counselors,” said CTU Vice President Stacy Davis Gates.
CTU has said the spending plan on the table is based on the district wanting to go back to normal, as in before the pandemic, when the goal should be on fixing the entire system.
“For me, where I work, ‘normal’ means losing four kids to violence. This year, one of my students got shot six times,” said teacher Mike Smith of Englewood STEM High School, “‘Normal’ shouldn’t be the goal.”
Teachers said the federal aid the district received should be used for more nurses, counselors, librarians, restorative justice coordinators, and other staff and programs to help students’ emotional health.
“You have $4 billion. For the last 10 years I’ve heard Chicago Public Schools and the mayors, plural, of the city tell me that they can’t afford it. You have $4 billion. You can afford it,” Davis Gates said.MORE NEWS: Police Officer Shot; 15-Year-Old Wounded, 1 Killed In South Shore
CPS officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the concerns raised by CTU.