Chicago Public Schools officials released the district's 2017 budget proposal Monday.
The proposed budget cuts operational spending by $232 million compared to the previous year and calls for at least $338 million in capital improvements.
The $5.4 billion budget plan depends, in part, on "anticipated savings from outstanding labor agreements" as well as a $250 million property tax hike for teachers' pensions.
"Our focus must be on the remarkable progress our students are making - from record ACT scores, graduation rates and college attendance to reduced disciplinary measures, and stabilizing our finances means that progress can continue. We're grateful for the assistance of our leaders in Springfield, as well as the $250 million in additional taxes Chicago homeowners will be making to support teachers' pensions," CPS CEO Forrest Claypool said in a statement. "With this budget, we'll move the District on to stronger footing and stand ready to partner with leaders in Springfield to advance long-term education funding reform and pension equity."
The budget reportedly relies on savings similar to those contained in the district's four-year contract offer presented to the Chicago Teachers Union in January. The proposed contract offer, which has already been rejected by the CTU's big bargaining team, would have phased out the district's pension pickup for teachers and increased health care costs for union members. Teachers would have also received slight increases in their compensation under the contract offer.
CTU President Karen Lewis responded to the district's budget proposal and the "anticipated" labor-related savings.
"Our bargaining team said no to it, so I don't know why they keep thinking that that's going to fly. If it didn't fly in January, why would they think it fly now," she said, according to the Chicago Tribune.
"At some point a line has to be drawn in the sand. Chicago teachers do not seek to go on strike. We want to return to clean, safe, resourced schools. We want a fair contract," Lewis added. "We will not accept an imposed pay cut."
Individual schools, meanwhile, have seen their budgets cut by $140 million for the upcoming academic year. Nearly 1,000 CPS teachers and staffers have also been laid off. Employees impacted by the layoffs will, however, have an opportunity to apply for 1,000 open positions within the district.
The district will host six upcoming public hearings on the proposed budget, which is expected to go up for a school board vote on August 24. Details for the hearings, which will take place August 17 through August 19, can be found here.