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CPS Projects Big Budget Shortfall

Chicago Public Schools officials said they may seek a property tax hike to fill a major budget shortfall.

CPS released budget projections yesterday. The deficit is $475 million—the largest in a decade. CEO Ron Huberman said CPS will not make cuts that directly affect classroom learning or student safety. But he said that everything else is on the table.

The district estimates it will get $380 million from the federal stimulus package over the next two years. But only $50 million of that can be used to plug the 2010 budget shortfall.

Costs are being pushed up by salary and health care increases and ballooning pension payments. District officials will lobby the state to contribute more toward education. But Illinois faces its own huge deficit. Board president Michael Scott said “the revenue will have to come from someplace.”

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