Chicago’s most vulnerable students are set to lose out in the ongoing Chicago Public Schools budget crunch. Facing a massive budget deficit, CPS “says it can save about $42 million by modifying services for the roughly 50,000 special needs students it serves,” according to a report in today’s Chicago Tribune.
The Tribune reports that about 540 educators could lose their jobs under the CPS plan. Another 200 vacant positions would not be filled. These job cuts are among the nearly 1,400 positions that CPS says it will eliminate.
Our city’s students, and most especially our city’s special needs students, should not bear the burden of the political stalemate over the CPS budget and education funding in our state. The $200 million in cuts outlined by CPS earlier this month do an enormous disservice to Chicago students.
Illinois’ education funding is woefully inadequate as it stands now; it remains in a tough spot even after the education budget passed last week. Our state legislators can’t treat education funding like any other line item that can be cut when politically expedient. And they need to recognize that the state has treated Chicago unfairly for years.
You can do something about it! Tell your legislators in Springfield that they need to make Chicago students a priority! The most vulnerable among us should not be the greatest victims of political gridlock, but that is exactly what will happen at CPS without a comprehensive solution to our budget problems.