August 21, 2013
The Civic Federation does not support the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) proposed $6.6 billion operating budget for FY2014, which completely draws down unrestricted reserve funds and uses some restricted reserves to close a $977 million budget deficit. Even after the pain of layoffs and school closings, the District’s long-term fiscal health remains in jeopardy absent pension reform.
The Federation acknowledges that the District’s budgetary options are severely constrained by the Illinois General Assembly’s inaction on pension reform. Failure to fix this unsustainable pension system will result in more painful cuts to District services while robbing teachers of a viable retirement system. The District should proactively develop and present its own reform plan tied to a long-term financial plan that stabilizes the budget. The District should strongly consider reducing benefits, increasing employee and employer contributions and reforming governance.
The Chicago Public Schools fiscal year begins July 1, 2013 and ends June 30, 2014.