I hope you’re all enjoying the start of the summer break -- and that this note might make it even better.
Today, after months of negotiation and advocacy, our elected leaders in Springfield passed legislation that provides additional funding for our schools next year, and builds a foundation for finalizing education funding reforms in the coming year.
This is an exciting moment for our district, and for Waters . The bills voted on today provide more than $600 million to CPS, which means we can open school on time in the fall, and better protect our classrooms in the year ahead.
Your support played a crucial role in making today a reality, and I want to thank you for all you’ve done over the past year. Despite the challenges, you’ve played an active role in our school community, showing up and speaking out; sending a loud and clear message for reform to Springfield, and showcasing our students’ accomplishments to demonstrate this is a school system worth investing in. Thank you.
So what happens now?
Next week I’ll learn more about the budgeting process for next school year, and I’ll be sure to keep you updated as that process gets underway. The additional funding from Springfield will do so much to protect our classrooms, but it’s worth remembering that it does not entirely close our $1 billion deficit. As we work towards a balanced budget, strict spending policies will still be enforced and some strategic cuts will still need to be made.
Finally, I want to make sure you knew that today the district made this year’s pension payment to the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund, for a total of $676 million. While fulfilling the responsibility to our teachers who’ve earned their pension was never in question, we are glad that despite our fiscal challenges we were able to make this payment -- and even more pleased to know that today’s actions in Springfield could mean this is the last payment we make as the only school district that receives almost no help from the State.
We took a big step forward today. Not only am I more confident about the ability to provide for our students in the year ahead, but I know this momentum will help us continue our fight for permanent funding equality this fall.
Thank you once again for all you’ve done, and hope you have a wonderful July 4th weekend.