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Parents worried about future of CPS amid state budget impasse

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Children were excited for the last day of school Tuesday as parents expressed their anxiety about the future of Chicago Public Schools. (WLS)

Children were excited for the last day of school Tuesday as parents expressed their anxiety about the future of Chicago Public Schools.

Alaysia and Alyis Johnson celebrated their last day of school at Aggasiz Elementary School in Lakeview, their mother snapping a picture before the start of summer break. But for CPS parents, it has been a hard year.

"We're definitely hunkered down and committed to CPS, although if this budget situation continues, we will at some point need to take a look around," said Kim Vaus, a CPS parent. "You need to do the right thing for your kid, but I really believe in CPS."

CPS has been struggling to stay afloat financially. The district has turned to JP Morgan Chase to borrow $275 million to keep operating through June and make a massive contribution to their teacher pensions.

"When you don't have enough money to pay your bills, that's what you're left to do and the governor is one of the main reasons for us not having money to pay our bills by underfunding the school," said Jesse Sharkey, Chicago Teachers Union Vice President. "I don't know if we're going to have funding from the state...without funding, I don't know how we open or how we stay open going into the year."

"CPS doesn't get the same percentage of the funding representative of their size, so they're just asking for fair and equitable funding, they're not asking for any more than that," said Carole Brown, CFO of CPS.

Governor Bruce Rauner has called a special session of the general assembly during the final days of June to try and hammer out a deal to break the two-year budget impasse. Rauner said CPS has mismanaged the district for decades, while CPS said the school system is suffering because of Rauner's failure to fund education in a timely manner.

"Unfortunately, we have to go through that to fund something that should be a given right to all of our citizens," said Davor Palos, a CPS parent.

CPS will start classes on September 5th, so CPS only has a few months to figure out a more long-term plan.

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chicago public schoolsillinois budgetChicagoSpringfield
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