CPS athletes turn to crowdfunding during budget crunch

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago Public Schools will hold a hearing at its downtown headquarters Thursday at 10:30 a.m. to discuss the property tax increase that will help fund schools, but while the budget is discusses students and student athletes are finding ways to fund their own programs.

Fresh off a state championship but hurting for money, Wendell Phillips Academy High School's football team has turned to a GoFundMe page to help buy equipment.

"If it's $5, $10, or if it's $20, whatever it is, obviously, it's going to young men who need that support," said Troy McAllister, head football coach.

For CPS, funding is needed from the football field to the classroom. That's why CPS is holding six meetings this week to hear from the public. Wednesday night's focused on capital funding, like construction and buildings, but strayed often to issues inside those walls.

"How can we spend so much time talking about buildings when the children are suffering from lack of teachers and lack of supplies?" asked Hollis Beecher, a CPS substitute teacher.

CPS held a job fair Wednesday, just days after laying off hundreds of educators, all of which comes in the midst of contract negotiations between CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union.

"We're going to sit down and exchange some proposals tomorrow, I think, to try to move closer to where we need to be," said CTU president Karen Lewis.

With financial troubles as a backdrop, the student athletes at Wendell Phillips stay focused and appreciate every penny.

"Any time they receive something they're grateful for it," McAllister said.

The property tax increase will help bring some money to schools in the city. If you own a $250,000 home, your tax bill will increase by about $245 a year. The hearing to discuss the increase will be held Thursday morning. The CPS will vote on the 2017 budget on August 24.
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