CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced her Chicago Public Schools $7.7 billion budget proposal for 2020 Thursday.
The proposal, which is $117 million more than the 2019 budget, will invest hundreds into neighborhood schools across the city.
"As a city and a society, we owe a promise to our young people to ensure an education that is strong and challenging," Lightfoot said.
The budget will allocate funding for critical building improvements at more than 300 schools, with 93 percent of the $619 million guaranteed capital funding going to schools that serve majority low-income students.
The plan, which will be funded through another bond issue, also calls for $120 million invested in pre-k classrooms, $10.5 million to make school more accessible for disabled students $32 million for nurse, social workers and case manager positions and English learner programs, as well as the largest ever expansion of academic programs like STEM, International Baccalaureate, and Fine and Performing Arts.
"So this investment is the right thing to do. It's the right time to do it," said CPS CEO Dr. Janice Jackson.
An additional $76 million to expand school and community-based programming will pave the way to serve an additional 3,000 children this year. These investments are being made as the City works to bring all CPS school based and community-administered programming to meet the same state and federal benchmarks for preparing children for kindergarten.
The Chicago Teachers Union remained critical after the budget announcement. The union said it wants to see a reduction in class size and other promises in writing.
"CPS has a history of playing games with budget numbers," said CTU President Jesse Sharkey.
The union's contract expired on June 30. Union officials are questioning why more funds generated by Tax Increment Financing, or TIF funds, aren't being used to improve not just learning conditions but also work conditions as CTU continues contract talks with the city.
"This is about choice and priority," said Stacy Davis Gates, CTU political director.
CPS and CTU are headed back to the negotiating table. Some said any agreement may hinge on how much money the school district is willing to spend on the priorities the union sets.
To learn more about preschool programming in your community, visit www.Chicagoearlylearning.org.
CPS 2020 budget invests in neighborhood schools across the city