Coverage of Access Living CPS Budget Review

On August 23, Access Living released an analysis of the proposed Chicago Public Schools FY 2017 Budget . Each year, Access Living releases a CPS Report, specifically looking at the impact of the budget on students with disabilities.

After releasing the report to the media, Access Living stories were picked up by:

Chicago Tonight: http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2016/08/23/budget-watchdog-group-rejects-optimistic-54b-cps-proposal

The Chicago Tribune: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-chicago-schools-budget-preview-met-0824-20160824-story.html

The Chicago Sun-Times: http://chicago.suntimes.com/politics/cps-budget-denounced-by-good-government-disability-rights-groups/

On August 24, on the day of the school board meeting, Rodney Estvan, Access Living’s Education and Policy Analyst, testified on key findings of the report.

Curtis Harris, an Access Living advocate, also testified. Curtis was the first student in the CPS Autism Program. Curtis’ testimony can be found at this link: Curtis Harris Testimony before CPS Board

In response to Access Living’s CPS Budget Review, the Chicago Public Schools released the statement below:

“CPS is launching a District-wide transformation in special education to improve the achievement gap for these students. Despite spending $131 million more for special education and related services in the past four years – including more than 1,000 additional staff – CPS has not seen the improved outcomes that we hope all our children will achieve. Like previous years, CPS will be increasing spending on Diverse Learners this fiscal year, but more importantly, we are refocusing on efforts aggressively on helping schools put Diverse Learners first.

“CPS families, educators and disability advocates are all key stakeholders in helping the District’s transformation of special education services succeed. We appreciate the continued dialogue with Access Living, and we are committed to continuing to work together to address any concerns, particularly around transparency. Our top priority continues to be making sure all students with IEPs have the needs in their plans met.

“As the leaders of their schools, principals are closest to the needs of their school communities and are best suited to ensuring those needs are met. The District is committed to supporting principals with additional training, administrative support and instructional resources, along with a robust appeals process.”