Chicago parents and students urged the Board of Education Wednesday to join them in their push for increased school funding.
Members of the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Chicago Students Union, Parents 4 Teachers and the parent group Raise Your Hand rallied outside the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) headquarters before Wednesday's school board meeting.
They called on Chicago Board of Education members to support their demand that CPS increase its per-pupil funding rate by $1,000 through progressive city revenue options.
Several Chicago aldermen have proposed ordinances to steer additional money to the city's cash-strapped schools by way of surplussing tax increment financing funds and reinstating the employee "head tax" for large companies.
Chicago school budgets for the upcoming academic year were calculated based on a "student based budgeting" funding rate of $4,087.
"Schools are receiving substantially less than last year and it is inevitable that these cuts will result in teacher layoffs if no new revenue is found," the education and community groups said in a statement.
They highlighted the case of Shields Middle School, which will likely have to cut three to four positions this year.
Boosting the per-student funding rate by $1,000 "would give Shields Middle $600,000 in new revenue and allow them to avoid teacher layoffs and continue to provide the highest quality education to students," the statement reads.
Michelle Leon is a student at Kelly High School in the city's Brighton Park neighborhood.
"We aren't asking for much, just enough to avoid cuts this year and slowly begin to reinvest in our neighborhood schools," she stressed.