Chicago Public Schools considering an $80 million property tax increase to plug deficit

April 15, 2011

Produced by Eight Forty-Eight

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A new report finds that Chicago Public Schools is considering an $80 million property tax hike to plug their deficit.

Updated at 10:57 a.m. on 4/15/11

There are many annual rituals associated with Chicago Public Schools – like the first-day bell-ringing that welcomes students back. But a bigger event might be the district’s yearly estimate of a budget shortfall.

A Chicago News Cooperative report finds that the deficit for next school year is $100 million more than previously estimated by CPS. To plug that hole, the district is reportedly considering an $80 million dollar property-tax increase. At stake are  2,000 teachers’ jobs and bigger class sizes.

Chicago News Cooperative reporter Hunter Clauss joined Eight Forty-Eight to talk about the news and what it means for CPS and Chicago's new Mayor-elect, Rahm Emanuel.

In response to this story, CPS spokeswoman Monique Bond issued the following written statement:
We are at the early steps of our budget process and are projecting a $724 million budget deficit with outstanding payments owed to CPS from the state of up to $290M.
Given the magnitude of this deficit, we are examining every option.  At this time, no recommendations have been formally discussed to increase property taxes. 

To completely close this gap we are currently examining how best to make these cuts that will protect core instruction – cuts that will be made farthest from the classroom.