While the state's stopgap budget adopted on the eve of a new fiscal year has for now satisfied the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), a taxpayer watchdog believes it's just a matter of time before more demands are made known.
Last month, the CTU took to Chicago’s streets in a show of force to urge lawmakers to pass a budget providing it with funding.
“I’ll be very interested to see what demands they will put forward as we go into the next school year,” said Jared Labell, director of operations for Taxpayers United of America (TUA).
TUA’s position is that the Chicago Public Schools cannot continue to operate under its current fiscal structure, and that the CTU must acknowledge that.
Financial problems are not new to the Chicago Public Schools, Labell said.
“We know that there are generations of problems for Chicago Public Schools...There seems to be very little accountability, with increased demands,” he said.
The CTU's June 22 protests around the city were designed to draw attention to its revenue plan. On its website, the union noted that a $500 million cut to the system would reduce budgets by more than a quarter of current levels, and that there would be more than 40 students in each classroom in both elementary and high school.
Its "Revenue Recovery Plan," which the union says would raise $502 million, features an employers expense tax, a personal property lease transaction tax, a ride-share tax, and a hotel tax, among other potential funding sources, like a Special Services Area (SSA) tax levy, which would have the city levy taxes on properties within the boundaries of the SSA for municipal services and capital improvements.
“There is no compromise on reform measures,” Labell said. “I believe the CTU leadership is not interested in reforms, because those would decrease their political power."
The Chicago Teachers Union did not respond to requests for an interview.