Teachers, parents sound off on Chicago schools budget

Common theme: Stop taking TIF funds from schools

August 11, 2011

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(WBEZ/Linda Lutton)
Rodney Estvan, an advocate for special-needs students, supports a tax increase but raised questions about some expenditures.

The public had its say last night on Chicago’s proposed schools budget, which includes a tax hike. It was the first of three budget hearings.

Chicago Public Schools budget officials came face to face with some of their cuts last night.

SECURITY GUARD: I worked hard all those years. Why did I lose my job?

Security guards, custodians and student aides clutched layoff letters—they’re part of the district’s administrative cuts and “efficiencies.”

One woman wondered how she’d pay higher property taxes without work.

Teachers, advocates and parents also offered critiques of the 2,000-page, $5.9 billion budget.

DISPLACED TEACHER: The further a person is away from students in the classroom, the more money they make.

TEACHER: I teach every year in an Easy-Bake Oven.

One common theme? The city should return TIF funds to schools:

PARENT: How can you justify increasing property tax when you are holding onto $867 million of unallocated funds?

The district faces a $700 million deficit.

Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis implored CPS to involve teachers, parents and taxpayers earlier in the budget process so it would not be what she called a “done deal.”