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“If we don’t stand up for children, then we don’t stand for much.” – Marian Wright Edelman
Principals throughout Chicago are anticipating substantial budget cuts in the coming weeks. These cuts will come soon after previous budget cuts earlier this fiscal year and after decreasing budgets over successive school years. For too long, students in the Chicago Public Schools have been asked to do more with less, and they are suffering.
Somewhere in all of the headlines about elections, budget stalemates, contract negotiations, and worst of all, impropriety within our district, we have lost focus on talking about who is impacted every time a dollar is diverted from a school district.
Conversations in Springfield and at City Hall must start with a focus on providing a better education for our children.
We are calling for our elected state officials to:
- Act now. End the stalemate in Springfield.
- Pledge to vote against any bill that includes a pension holiday. Our children need long-term stability, not future uncertainty.
- Look to the nonpartisan Center for Tax and Budget Accountability for common sense ideas:
- Generate revenue through expansion of sales tax to include consumer services.
- Increase the personal income tax rates rolled back on Jan. 1, 2015.
- Scrap the unrealistic ‘pension funding ramp’ and re-amortize the state’s unfunded pension liabilities into level-dollar annual payments. When school districts are forced to allocate more and more for pension liabilities, less and less goes to children.
- Fund the Chicago Public Schools fairly. Our district makes up 20 percent of the state’s school enrollment. Our students should receive 20 percent of the state’s spending on education.