CHICAGO (WLS) —
Chicago Public Schools moved forward with its budget plans on Friday while in the middle of the school funding crisis that is still far from resolved in Springfield.
By law, Chicago Public Schools had to file a budget by Friday and CEO Forrest Claypool said the $5.7 billion dollar plan is just preliminary. It was done with the hope that lawmakers can reach a compromise and end the uncertainty for Chicago and districts around the state.
Classrooms in Chicago Public Schools remained quiet and empty with the first day of school still more than two weeks way.
But as teachers and students prepared for that big day all eyes were watching Springfield.
“Springfield will eventually have an educational budget, I believe that, but we’re prepared for what’s necessary to keep our schools open on time and staying open,” said CPS CEO Forrest Claypool.
But CPS will start the year with a $269 million dollar shortfall that the city has promised to pick up, but neither Claypool, nor Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office was prepared to say where that money would come from.
“There are many options for local resources to fill this gap and meet our commitment for a balanced budget. But as I’ve said before, however this is not the time or place to discuss them,” said Claypool. “We’ll be continuing to have those conversations, we’ll be coordinating tightly obviously with the City of Chicago.”
“We’re not going to let Governor Rauner and Springfield off the hook by discussing local options before the state does its job and properly funds education across Illinois,” said Matt McGrath, a spokesman for Mayor Emanuel.
The Senate returns on Sunday and is expected to vote to override the Governor’s amendatory veto of the education funding bill, SB-1. The House returns Wednesday, but it’s not clear if there are enough votes for an override there.
In the meantime, what may have been a happy summer for students and teachers is now winding down and without a compromise in Springfield, they will start the school year with nothing to celebrate.
The Chicago Teachers Union released a statement Friday calling the CPS preliminary budget “insufficient.”
Forrest Claypool said the funding plan will be adjusted once state education funding is approved.
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