Parents 4 Teachers Statement, July 19, 2016 [PDF available]
The new school budgets released by CPS last week continue the trend of balancing the budget on the backs of school children and teachers.
Contrary to CPS’ claims that classrooms have been protected, the new budgets will result in increased class sizes, teacher layoffs, and cuts in services to special education students in hundreds of CPS schools.
Rather than seeking progressive city revenue sources, CPS is trying to pressure teachers to accept a contract that slashes pay, in spite of the impact those cuts will have on the long-term quality of our schools. Teacher compensation is not responsible for our budget crisis. Parents will stand with teachers and their union as they negotiate a fair contract because we know that good working conditions for teachers means good learning conditions for our kids.
Thanks to the persistent work of parents, students, teachers, and principals fighting for increased state funding for public schools, the Illinois legislature and the governor made a down payment on proper and fair funding. We will not let CPS and the Mayor, in the wake of that victory, punish teachers, kids and parents with this latest round of budget cuts. We will continue to fight for the funding our schools need and deserve.
It’s an abomination that families are being asked to accept these cuts when just three weeks ago the Chicago Council approved $16 million in TIF funds for a development in Uptown that the community opposes—just one of many dubious TIF projects costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. Ordinary property tax payers foot the bill for that corporate welfare while Rahm and his hand-picked school board undermine our schools. This has to stop.
Parents 4 Teachers calls on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to immediately release the hundreds of millions of dollars in TIF accounts to prevent these cuts from ever taking place. Additionally, the Mayor and City Council should enact other progressive revenue measures, such as reinstating a corporate head tax, and cancel Obama College Prep to fill the remainder of this year’s budget gap.
P4T has developed a budget crisis workshop to foster community discussions about what we can do to push for fair funding solutions. The mayor and CPS spent the last several months blaming Springfield for the district's budget woes and threatening massive cuts--up to 40 percent--if the state didn't come through with extra funding. That didn't happen.
Regardless of what happens in the legislature, parents, teachers and students need to join together and ramp up pressure on the mayor and CPS to solve the problems they created. If you are interested in hosting a Budget Crisis Workshop or being part of summer actions for fair funding for our schools, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or join our FB group for updates.
Below are some materials that we've developed so you can take action now to advocate for fair budget solutions for our public schools:
In May, parent and community groups organized weeklong protests to successfully pressure Senate President John Cullerton to release the elected school board bill (HB 0557), which he had been blocking for over two months. On March 3, the bill sailed out of the Illinois House by a landslide 110 - 4 vote. The bill is now with Sen. Kwame Raoul and P4T along with our coalition partners will continue to organize our communities until Chicagoans have the right to elect our school board members.
Read the statement by P4T member Sarah Simmons on day 1 of the protests at Senator Cullerton's district office. To join the citywide campaign for an elected representative school board and democracy in education, contact email@example.com.
We need to put pressure on elected officials to seek progressive revenue sources for public services— especially public education. The goal is a massive turnout on April 1st that makes a loud, clear statement: the people of Chicago will not stand by and let our public schools, universities, and services be decimated. Read why P4T joins #ShutDownChi.
In addition to Chicago teachers, dozens of union locals and community organizations, as well as university faculty, staff and students from Chicago State University and Northeastern Illinois University, the Childcare Workers Association, the Fight For $15 and others have committed to the daylong labor action. And parents—disgusted with constant budget cuts to our children’s schools because of fiscal mismanagement by an unelected board of education and a state unwilling to adequately fund its core public obligations—will stand with our teachers and workers from across the city on April 1.
As parents, we support the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) decision to seek a strike authorization from its members because it appears to be the only way to get Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to act on the legitimate concerns of teachers and parents who want a better, richer education for their children.
Parents understand that the needs of our teachers and our kids go hand in hand. Read our full statement.
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Standing Up for Teachers Means Standing Up for Kids