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Today’s number: 1.1 percent

Thursday, Aug 27, 2015

* From the Tribune

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s school board on Wednesday unanimously approved a budget that relies heavily on borrowed money and the hope of a nearly $500 million bailout from a stalemated Springfield, with the specter of disruptive cuts in January if that help fails to materialize.

The $5.7 billion spending plan contains another property tax hike — an estimated $19-a-year increase for the owner of a $250,000 home — as well as teacher and staff layoffs. The Chicago Board of Education also prepared to go to Wall Street to issue $1 billion in bonds and agreed to spend $475,000 so an accounting firm can monitor a cash flow problem so acute that Chicago Public Schools mulled skipping a massive teacher pension payment at the end of June. […]

Expenses in the operating budget are projected to be about $64 million lower compared to last year, CPS officials said. Earlier this year, the district said it was making $200 million in budget cuts that included the elimination of about 1,400 jobs.

To explain both our headline and the added emphasis, that $64 million reduction is just 1.123 percent of a $5.7 billion spending plan.

Not much of a cut, if you ask me, and certainly not enough to win any respect at the Statehouse.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

16 Comments
  1. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 9:34 am:

    I’m not going to beat the drum, but do CPS officials think they can just “persuade” Springfield to give them cash with no structural changes or budgetary overall plans?! I assume they want the money for free. That was always my issue with bailing out East St. Louis schools. I had no problem with helping them out, but I always grated when they refused to do anything differently.


  2. - Shemp - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 9:50 am:

    And $19 on a $250,000 house ($1.59/mo) isn’t exactly doing anything to help yourself before asking for outside help.


  3. - Wordslinger - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 9:52 am:

    Mayor Gravitas has a lapdog city council and school board. He was just re-elected.

    Yet with dictatorial powers and no election in sight, he’s still too scared to do any heavy lifting.


  4. - walker - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:03 am:

    “borrowed money and hope”

    Yeah. That always works!

    Cut more and tax more.


  5. - lake county democrat - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:06 am:

    Grab the tinfoil: if you believe as I do that Rauner and Rahm are in cahoots, then it makes sense that CPS would stay as heavily dependent on Rauner as possible, as it gives Rauner a bargaining chip after he gave a way a lot of them already. “Sure, we can help CPS, just put it on the table with the turnaround agenda.” The state may indeed require more cuts, but I don’t see this as a “clean” negotiation or even the primary negotiation. It’s not how much CPS cuts, it’s how much Rauner can limit unions and such.


  6. - DuPage - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:13 am:

    They need to let Chicago residents vote on a referendum to increase their own tax rate for the schools. That’s what the suburbs have done, many times.


  7. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:15 am:

    I’m not a budget guru like Donna Arduin, but my layman’s read of the CPS budget book (which may or may not be classified as fiction), tells me the $64 million in cuts is net of new pension costs.

    In other words, CPS cut more than $100 million from the FY16 operating (non-classroom) budget, but its pension payment increased by roughly $36 million. It reminds me of the carpenter who said, “I keep cutting and cutting but this board is still too short.”

    Anybody think a referendum on hiking the CPS property tax levy above the limit of the tax caps would pass? Anybody? Bueller?


  8. - Harry - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:21 am:

    I think the $19 is all that PTELL allows CPS to raise. Chicago could do something, but we know the story there.

    DuPage is right, they could do a referendum. But, they won’t.


  9. - King Maker - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:40 am:

    I own an start up accounting firm. Pick me!!!
    Just joking. Some things never change. Got to love Chicago &IL


  10. - Cassandra - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 10:42 am:

    Isn’t there a bigger property tax on the table, for the city government, separate from the schools. Not a sure thing though, as Mayor Rahm is hoping to keep it down or avoid it through “help” from the state.

    Those taxes are mounting up already. Preckwinkle’s sales tax increase. Mayor Rahm’s property tax increase for schools. Maybe another Mayor Rahm tax for the city. And the big one-the state income tax increase Madigan and Rauner are preparing to launch as soon as they finish their current enemies dance. All these taxes won’t affect the one percent,or even the ten percent, but for us regular folks, Xmas could be slimmer this year. Not to mention our retirement savings and college funds going forward.


  11. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 11:12 am:

    ==- Wordslinger - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 9:52 am:==

    Vallas is suggesting the School Finance Authority come back. Since Mayor Gravitas and his Expert Budgeeters cannot do the heavy lift, maybe someone else should.


  12. - jeffinginchicago - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 11:48 am:

    There are 2 ways to do a property tax hike. One is to raise the tax rate. The other is to raise assessed value. My assessed value just went up by 15% after appeal. My overall property taxes are going up over $1000 next year. ~$500 of that should be going to CPS.


  13. - Juice - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 1:45 pm:

    Jeffinchicago, neither of those are ways to do a property tax hike. In Illinois, what gets levied is the actual dollar amount that a unit of government says they need to collect. How much CPS can ask for absent a referendum is capped at the rate of inflation. If the value of all existing properties in the City of Chicago go up by a similar amount, the tax rate drops, because CPS is limited by how much more they can collect by the rate of inflation. And if your tax bill is going up because your assessed value is up, CPS doesn’t get the benefit of that, some other taxpayer will be paying less. So they thank you.


  14. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 2:12 pm:

    ==compared to last year==

    Last year was a distortion.

    They used 14 months of revenue to balance the budget for their 12 month school fiscal year.


  15. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 2:30 pm:

    ==Not much of a cut==

    The bottom graphic shows CPS proposes spending $29 mill MORE in 2016 than their 2015 projected expenditures cost, and $206 mill more than 2014.

    http://cps.edu/fy16budget/Pages/overview.aspx


  16. - anon. - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 2:48 pm:

    The state will help. Wish in one hand and s**t (defecate) in the other - see which fills up the quickest.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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