According to NBC Chicago, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is facing an estimated $700 million budget gap for fiscal year 2013. The announcement came after the CPS board met on Wednesday to talk about the major budget shortfall. Additionally, it is estimated that the CPS budget gap will only widen to about $1 billion by 2014. These numbers come even after CPS made numerous changes last year, including cutting jobs and restructuring various areas of the department to increase efficiency, in hopes of reducing the budget deficit.
CPS isn't the only department or agency in the city facing tight budget constraints. Here are some facts on the budget deficits facing other city government departments in Chicago and ways in which they're each trying to close the gap:
Chicago Police Department:
The Chicago Police Department currently has a $1.3 billion budget for 2012, but last fall the department had to address cuts totaling $190 million after Mayor Rahm Emanuel released his budget proposal and associated cuts, noted Chicagoist. These cuts included closing several of the city's 25 district police stations. Similarly, an article from the Huffington Post added that the Prairie and Belmont district stations closed earlier this month and the Wood district station is slated for closure this fall. The plan to close these three police stations is expected to save the department about $12 million each year.
Chicago Transit Authority:
The Huffington Post reported that this past November, CTA Chief Forrest Claypool announced that the agency would face a $277 million budget shortfall in 2012. Numerous aspects have only added to the CTA's financial problems, including pricey work rules, increasing pension and health care mandates, and cost-adjusted salaries for bus and rail line operators. With such a large financial gap, Claypool said that the CTA would target union work rules first and try to renegotiate with the union, noted CBS Local. However, Chicago Now added that the CTA is considering increasing fares, though it has yet to confirm an actual decision. In February, the agency began surveying riders asking about their opinions on potential fare increases, a step that could bring in about $80 million.
Chicago Park District:
Though not as much as the CTA or CPS, the Chicago Park District has a budget deficit of $22 million for 2012, according to another NBC Chicago article. However, the park district has looked for a variety of ways to make up for this missing funding, including acquiring paid sponsorships for park district property ranging from garbage cans to tennis courts. Additionally, in November, the park district announced plans to increase fees for certain facilities and activities, reported the Chicago Sun-Times. Soldier Field parking and golfing will see fee hikes. The park district is also shutting down the days after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and New Year's Eve and employees will also have to take three additional shutdown days off without pay, a move that would save $1 million in 2012.
Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. As a college student from the Chicago suburbs pursuing two science degrees, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.