CPS faces budget problems

February 14, 2008 3:19:07 PM PST
Chicago Public Schools officials are looking to Springfield in their search for school funds.The nation's third largest school district will face a $180 million dollar deficit even after planned cuts. Therefore, CPS is asking for state help.

"It's time for the state to step up and do the right thing," said Arne Duncan, CEO, Chicago Public Schools.

Duncan says the district has done its part to narrow a gap in its 2008-2009 school year budget by cutting $90 million, mainly through reductions in administrative positions and operational costs. But Duncan says Springfield needs to provide the rest of the money. That amount would be $180 million.

Duncan unveiled the budget Thursday and said that the rising cost of salaries, pensions and health care are fiscal challenges for the district. He said a change in the way the state funds education would help the district meet those demands.

"We respectfully ask our reps in Springfield to give consideration to funding needs, to find courage to put funding reform on the agenda this year, and to once and for all do the right thing for our state's children," said Duncan.

Illinois ranks 48th in the nation in terms of providing funding for education, and some state lawmakers agree that a change is necessary.

"Right now, the state is only funding 31 percent of a child's education, we need the state to fund at least 51 percent," said Rep. James Meeks, (D) Illinois.

Duncan says there are alternatives to property taxes as a solution for more education funding. Governor Blagojevich said it is also the district's responsibility to manage the budget..