The Chicago Public Schools are in a world of hurt as a result of the state’s precarious financial position. The Chicago Sun-Times learned, as a result of a power point presentation by Chicago Schools CEO Ron Huberman, that cuts totaling $700 million must be trimmed from the budget and the average class size in the South Loop public schools may rise from the current 30 to 37 pupils per teacher.
Among the cuts being contemplated, according to Enrique’s Community Update and the Chicago Sun Times article of 3/16/2010 by Rosalind Rossi (www.suntimes.com/news/education), anticipated cutbacks include most assistant Principal positions, a number of clerks, and a moratorium on non-varsity sports. There would also be no full-day kindergarten, no early childhood classes and no mandated transportation to magnet schools or charter schools.
The proposed cuts include $398 million in central office and citywide cuts and 3,200 teaching positions, with 600 non-teaching positions also scheduled to be cut. Another 1,900 jobs would open up due to resignations and retirements. Most central office employees would also take 15 furlough days (as they did this year) and there would be a pay freeze.
There would be $27 million cut in non-mandatory transportation to magnet or charter schools and $17 million in cuts to enrichment and after-school programs. The system would attempt to cover the deficit by drawing down $240 million from the system’s reserve fund and there would be a –18% reduction to charter and contract schools in per student spending.
The Chicago Teachers’ Union is due a projected 4% raise next year, which would amount to +$169 million in additional spending. Teachers’ Union spokesperson Rosemarie Genova of the CTU (Chicago Teachers’ Union) said, “If this is a negotiating ploy, there will be no negotiation in the press.”
Next year, pension demands on the TRS (Teachers’ Retirement System) are slated to jump from $308 million to $587 million as a result of the aging of the teaching force and retirements of veteran teaching staff. The TRS system in Illinois is generally considered the third-best teachers’ pension system in the nation.