CPS Releases $5.162 Billion Budget, 2 Percent Pay Raise for Employees

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According to the Chicago Sun-Times, officials from the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system on Friday released an extensive budget plan for the 2012-13 school year. The plan includes $5.162 billion worth of spending but a $665 million budget deficit while making some changes that will benefit both students and CPS employees.

Here are some facts and details about the budget plan that was has been proposed by CPS officials and what it would mean for the school system and families in Chicago:

* The Chicago Tribune reported that one of the biggest aspects of the budget plan is that it includes a 2 percent pay raise for CPS employees, including teachers. This was the first offer that CPS made to the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) during ongoing contract negotiations.

* There will be approximately $144 million in funding cuts to operations and central office programs but when compared to the 2011-2012 school year, expenses are still up $51.1 million for this upcoming school year.

* In order to boost revenue by an extra $62 million, CPS is moving through with increasing its property tax on Chicagoans to the highest amount allowed by the law, noted NBC Chicago.

* CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard said of the budget released Friday, "We reduced spending this year by scrubbing through our budget line by line, contract by contract, program by program and using every available tool to protect investments in student learning."

* The budget also keeps the same class size, but also maintains full-day kindergarten education while creating 6,600 new spots for students in Chicago's charter and magnet schools, which is specifically back to the 2010-2011 levels.

* An article from WBEZ added that while every employee in the district will be getting a 2 percent pay raise, CPS is avoiding making large and detrimental cuts by completely tapping into reserve funds at a cost of $40 million.

* The CTU stood behind the district's decision to drain the reserve funding and CTU financial secretary Kristine Mayle commented, "Spending down all that money that was just sitting there is actually probably a more responsible thing than what they were doing -- they were just depriving the kids of the things they needed."

* Furthermore, the proposal also proposes instituting new payments to charter schools that will help pay for facilities and certain special education programs and it does not include significant layoffs for CPS employees.

* School board members will be given the chance to approve or reject the budget during a vote on July 25.

Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. Currently pursuing her master's degree in environmental science, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.

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