July 11, 2012
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today launched an interactive online tool that allows the public to get hands-on in building their own budget for Fiscal Year 2013 (FY 13). Last Friday CPS unveiled a $5.162 billion proposed budget that protects investments that support student learning even as the District faces a $665 million deficit. The new budget tool is one part of an effort to make the budget process more transparent and interactive than ever before. The online tool is accessible at www.cps.edu/budgetchoices.
“We have proposed difficult choices in this year’s budget to avoid putting our children’s future at risk,” said CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. “This new tool was designed to allow the public to directly interact with the budget and understand the choices that need to be made in order to fund priorities that matter most to them.”
This new online feature breaks down the FY 13 budget into spending categories and presents them on a sliding scale so that the public can increase or decrease funding by program area. Some of the categories include:
- Class Size
- School-Based Discretionary Funding
- Charter Schools
- Food Services
- Central Office
In its actual proposed budget, CPS has been able to maintain its commitment to student achievement even as it copes with declining revenues and increasing contractual and statutory obligations that continue to drive its deficit, including healthcare, debt service and pension costs. State and federal revenue is also down $114 million. The District cut $144 million in administrative and operations spending outside the classroom ($95 million) and by redirecting Central Office-run education programs ($49 million). To close the FY 13 deficit, CPS will also rely on $432 million from its fund balance. Finally, CPS utilized its full property tax cap, which yields an additional $62 million in FY 13 ($28 annually per $250,000 household).
The budget outreach process this year is more open and transparent than ever before. The Board of Education will hold three public hearings across the city on July 11, 2012 from 6-8 p.m. at Malcolm X College, Kennedy King College, and Daley College. CPS will also schedule a citywide tele-town hall the following week. In addition, the budget is available for the public to review and leave comments on the CPS website at www.cps.edu/budget and, for the first time, the public can utilize interactive tools for a more transparent understanding of the proposed budget. These interactive features allow users to more easily review all spending lines in the District’s budget, including school budgets, department budgets, salaries and positions.
After considering community and stakeholder feedback, the final budget will be presented to the Chicago Board of Education for a vote at its July 25 meeting.
Chicago Public Schools serves 405,000 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.