Some $21.5 million in tax increment finance surplus funds will be put towards the Chicago Public Schools system. The funds will be used to hire teachers for physical education and arts instruction. The move comes after district officials announced last week that CPS will now comply with a state mandate that calls for daily physical education classes for students in kindergarten through 12th grades.
"Arts and physical education are fundamentally important to a child's ability to learn and grow, and are critical components of a well-rounded, 21st century education," CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said in a statement.
The city will earmark the funds in November to pay for 84 art teachers and 84 physical ed instructors for schools. The funds will pay for 75 percent of the cost of the educators next school year and 50 percent the following academic year. After that point in time, the schools will be expected to pay the full costs associated with the instructors. Many of the schools in need of physical education and arts teachers lost those instructors this school year after principals were forced to lay them off due to the massive round of budget cuts that took place last fall.