The Chicago Public School system is intending to hire 2,000 new permanent employees using temporary federal COVID-19 aid, according to a report by Illinois Policy, “Setting up a ‘fiscal cliff’ when those funds run out.”
Moreover, the school district also faces the prospect that 100,000 Chicago students won’t rejoin the school district when classes resume Aug. 30, writes the Illinois Policy’s Patrick Andriesen.
The Chicago Board of Education’s (CBOE) 2021-2022 budget allocated pandemic funds to hire more than 2,000 new support staff and student support positions during the coming year, states the report. This follows mounting pressure from the Chicago Teachers Union to put a full-time nurse as well as a social worker in each of more than 600 Chicago schools.
The report quotes Civic Federation President Laurence Msall as saying, “While the size of the budget continues to grow, the number of students in Chicago Public Schools continues to shrink. These issues need to be addressed through a comprehensive long-term plan.”
The report further states that personnel costs jumped by 40% during the decade, an extra $1.4 billion in pension, salary and benefit expenses while staff numbers were relatively steady and student numbers dropped.
CPS administrators hope to “reengage” 100,000 students at risk of not returning this school year.
“Enrollment plummeted by 14,500 students last fall. That was the district’s largest single-year drop in more than two decades,” writes Andriesen.
“Chicago’s government school system, like so many government school systems across the country, has totally failed Chicago students,” said Jim Tobin, economist and president of Taxpayers United of America (TUA). “Instead of being forced to support this failed system with their hard-earned money, Chicago taxpayers should be given the choice of taking their funds and supporting private schools that would do a better job of educating their children at a much lower cost.”