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Teachers, Parents Sound Off On CPS Budget

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Teachers and parents jammed a meeting Wednesday night, for the first public hearing on the budget for Chicago Public Schools.

As WBBM Newsradio's Michele Fiore reports, a popular question at the hearing at Lane Tech High School was why more experienced teachers are being laid off, and what that will mean to the classroom.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio's Michele Fiore reports


Parents also have questions about a possible increase in property taxes. It would be the first time in four years that CPS has raised taxes, with $712 million proposed budget having the average homeowner paying about $84 more in property tax per year.

There are also $320.7 million in cuts.

WBBM Newsradio 780's Lisa Fielding reports Chicago Teachers Union Karen Lewis calls the proposed property tax hike a "Band-Aid" approach to fixing the funding woes at CPS.

"It's a Band Aid, that's all it is. We need a better approach to finding revenue," Lewis said.

At the hearing, Lewis said the district released the budget before educators could review it.

"This happens every year and we'll keep coming back and wanting more information," she said.

Lewis said the budget relies on higher taxes but does nothing to close the deepening structural inequity plaguing the public school system.

"Chicago's children need more than another Band-Aid approach," Lewis said. "The proposed property tax increase doesn't begin to fix the massive funding inequities in our schools."

The action comes on the heels of the Board's denial of a contractually promised 4 percent pay increase for teachers and the dismissal of 1,000 teachers.

CPS' spokeswoman Becky Carroll said the board's decision to reject the annual raises for teachers was not an easy one, but that three quarters of teachers will still receive an average salary increase of 3.5 percent this year, based on years of experience and degrees.

Two additional hearings will be held on Thursday and Friday before the Board of Education votes on the budget Aug. 24.

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