Chicago Teachers Union in Springfield seeking more cash when they already get a lot

Chicago Teachers Union in Springfield seeking more cash when they already get a lot

Chicago Public Schools teachers traveled May 15 to Springfield for a “day of action” to ask for $1.1 billion in additional state funding. CPS already spends the second-most per student of Illinois’ 10 largest school districts.

Chicago Public Schools is spending $29,028 per student this school year. That includes all of the district’s expenditures, such as operational spending, debt servicing and capital expenditures. CPS’ spending per student is the second-highest among Illinois’ 10 largest school districts.

But Mayor Brandon Johnson and the Chicago Teachers Union wants the state to increase its funding to CPS by more than $1 billion. He’s already made trips to Springfield to lobby for the additional funding. On May 15 teachers went to the state’s capital to also demand more.

Hundreds of CPS teachers left their classrooms but were still paid to lobby lawmakers in Springfield for more district funding.

An internal Chicago Teachers Union memo urged members to use a “release day” to leave their students and lobby lawmakers in Springfield. CPS followed up with a communication acknowledging teachers would be paid for the day outside the classroom.

“If we’re going to get what we need, we must push for it. We need you to come to Springfield with us next Wednesday, May 15, to advocate for more school funding,” the CTU email read.

If Johnson and the CTU get the additional $1.1 billion, CPS’ spending could reach more than $32,000 per student, well above the nearly $22,400 average total spending per student currently in Illinois’ 10 largest school districts.

Meanwhile, only one-fourth of CPS students could read at grade level in spring 2023. Hundreds of teachers skipping a day of school certainly isn’t helping the thousands of Chicago students who can’t read at grade level.

CPS spends on average $6,600 more per student than other large districts

Dividing CPS’ total expenditures in fiscal year 2024, including operational spending, debt servicing and capital expenditures, by student enrollment in fall 2023 shows CPS spending $29,028 per student.

Only Valley View Community Unit School District 365U spends slightly more than CPS by this measurement, at $29,157 per student.

The average all-in spending per student at the 10 largest school districts in Illinois is about $22,400. CPS already spends $6,600 more per student than the average across the largest districts.

Mayor Johnson and CPS want $1.1 billion more in state funding

Johnson traveled May 8 to Springfield to meet with lawmakers and the governor to ask for more support for the city. Among his requests was an additional $1.1 billion in state funding for CPS.

CPS instituted a “day of action” on May 15 to allow teachers to lobby lawmakers in Springfield to increase funding for the district.

Johnson and CPS are requesting the state increase funding by nearly half of what the state already allocates to CPS.

Families received a letter from CPS last week explaining why teachers would be receiving a paid day off to lobby lawmakers in Springfield, including the urgency to ask for more funding “with CPS facing a budget deficit of nearly $400 million going into the next school year.”

Despite the deficits facing CPS, CTU President Stacy Davis Gates says the teachers union’s list of demands for its upcoming contract negotiations will cost “$50 billion…and three cents.”

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