CHICAGO (CBS) – Chicago public school officials have proposed a $ 9.3 billion budget plan for the 2021-22 school year, an increase of nearly $ 1 billion from last school year, thanks to an injection of federal funds that will go to the district’s plan to resume classes in person. full time in the fall.
The district’s budget proposal commits more than $ 1 billion in federal emergency aid funds to support the Moving Forward Together initiative, which is designed to meet the social and emotional needs of students, accelerate student learning and prepare students for success beyond the pandemic.
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CPS officials have said federal dollars from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund will go to three priority areas: resuming full-time in-person classes in the fall, funding for staff and schools. additional resources in schools; and addressing the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on black and brown communities.
Federal funding includes:
- $ 267 million to support the two-year Moving Forward Together initiative;
- $ 132 million to cover the costs of opening schools, PPE, cleaning supplies, technology needs, vaccination efforts and other costs related to a full return to the classroom;
- $ 100 million to support improved air quality in schools by renovating and replacing existing mechanical systems;
- $ 288 to support various school programs through “capital grants”, special education teachers and paraprofessionals, and the expansion of new school programs and early childhood classes;
- $ 178 million for teaching positions in schools;
- and $ 95 million for proportionate funding for charter and contract schools.
“With the federal stimulus funds received by CPA, we launched a two-year, $ 525 million initiative called Moving Forward Together. $ 267 million of these funds are part of this year’s budget and will fund initiatives such as a CPS Tutor Corps, which includes the hiring and training of 850 literacy and math tutors; behavior and mental health teams in each school; improved technology to help staff and students access Guideline, our new universal program, ”said Jose Torres, interim CEO of CPS. “In keeping with our commitment to fairness, schools that need more will receive more. “
“As no one knows the needs of their school community better, our principals and principals will have the autonomy to use a large portion of these funds in a way that best meets the unique needs of their students, staff and staff. of their families, ”he added.
The district’s budget plan also includes more than $ 672 million in capital investments to modernize school buildings, focusing on critical repairs, ADA accessibility, IT infrastructure and other upgrades.
CPC will allocate more than $ 328 million for improvements to more than 90 schools, including rebuilding roofs, stabilizing chimneys, replacing fire alarms and upgrading mechanical systems that control indoor air quality.
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Another federal funding of $ 100 million for renovations to 17 schools, primarily for mechanical renovations, heating and cooling systems, and electrical and plumbing infrastructure.
Other capital expenditures include:
- $ 20.5 million to improve accessibility of ADA in school buildings;
- $ 80 million to complete the expansion and conversion of classrooms to bring the district closer to its goal of free full-time preschool for all 4-year-olds in CPS;
- $ 10.5 million for new modern spaces for high quality academic programs including International Baccalaureate (IB), STEM, Fine Arts and Dual Language;
- and $ 20 million for the renovation of existing recreational facilities such as stadiums, sports fields and auditoriums.
“We stay focused on what matters, and that delivers a high-quality, equitable education for every child, regardless of zip code, race or country of origin,” said Maurice Swinney, director of education at interim CPS.
The budget proposal for the upcoming school year was the first major announcement for Torres since taking over the district leadership following the resignation of former CEO Dr Janice Jackson at the end of June, and he said that the budget plan was almost complete. point.
“The budget started a year in advance, and part of the process obviously includes a lot of community involvement. By the time I got there it was pretty much done and I haven’t changed anything in the budget, ”he said.
The district will hold a series of public hearings on the spending plan and the infrastructure plan this month. The Chicago Board of Education is then expected to vote on the budget at its next meeting on July 28.
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The Chicago Teachers Union, which represents more than 25,000 teachers and CPS staff, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the district’s budget plan.