The review does not support the FY 2015 CPS Budget. Though resources devoted to special education are higher than in FY 2014, Estvan writes that “this budget does not even attempt to formulate a plan to address the structural deficit the district is faced with.” Traditionally, costs are higher to educate students with disabilities compared to students without disabilities. Because of this, in the budget review, Estvan critiques the overall finances of CPS, “including issues relating to taxation, and pensions.” Four of the sections in the report focus on finances. These sections include: The Dynamics of CPS Pension Problems, Student Based Budgeting, Funding for Special Education Services, and Capital Budget Issues. An additional section of the report focuses on Charter Schools. Regarding Charter Schools, Estvan explains that although Charters are being reimbursed for nearly the full amount of special education costs, the schools are not educating some of the most severely disabled students.
The report ends with a series of recommendations on budget and finance issues, charter schools, and staffing. The recommendations include taking a more comprehensive approach to fiscal stabilization. Estvan writes, “Up to now the Board has placed all bets on pension reform savings coming out of the Illinois General Assembly.”
Access Living’s CPS FY 2015 Budget Analysis is available 2014-FY2015-CPS-BudgetReview
Established in 1980, Access Living is a non-profit, Chicago-based disability rights and service organization that provides individualized, peer-based services for people with disabilities. With a strong influence in public policy and social reform, Access Living is committed to challenging stereotypes, protecting civil rights and breaking institutional and community barriers. For more information, contact Gary Arnold at 312-640-2199(voice), 312-640-2102(TTY).