By Josh Dwyer, Illinois Policy Institute -
Chicago Public Schools cannot erase its $1 billion budget deficit alone – it’s going to need some help.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the school board know the situation is dire. This is why they have proposed closing 120 schools next year, a move that could save $500,000 to $800,000 per school closed. But, to accomplish this, officials are going to have to overcome some tough obstacles – namely, an energetic teachers’ union that wants a moratorium on school closings.
Chicago voters also overwhelmingly approved a nonbinding ballot measure on Election Day that would transfer Chicago teachers’ pensions to the state. It is unlikely to go anywhere, however, as Illinois residents outside of the city are unwilling to take on the burden of additional pensions.
The sad fact is that even in an ideal world, where all of these cost-cutting measures were easily passed and implemented, CPS would still not generate enough revenue to make up for the four-year pension contribution holiday that it took to cover its’ operating expenses.
So, what will CPS do to cover the rest of its costs?