Who’s going to pay for schools?

Little hope for improved funding formula

Once state legislators scrapped a number of restrictions in how CPS could spend education funds, Daley’s education team tamed the district budget and balanced books that had previously been in the red. Over the years, City Hall has brought more money into the public school system, but one stubborn issue—the state of Illinois’ inequitable school funding system—continues to hurt the bottom line.

Facing a $328 million deficit next year, the district is asking permission to defer a portion of a lump-sum payment due to the teachers pension fund, but with a huge gap in the pension fund looming, this stopgap measure could haunt them in the future as an even bigger deficit. Meanwhile, prospects are slim that Springfield will agree on something more than a quick fix to pay for schools next year.

Still, the amount of state and federal funding, adjusted for inflation, coming into Chicago is up significantly, as is district spending. Local revenues are up as well, but only 4 percent due to tax caps, and this year will account for 45 percent of CPS revenue, down from 53 percent 10 years ago.


(in 2005 $s)


Difference in real dollars

Total revenue

$3.22 billion

$3.95 billion



$1.72 billion

$1.78 billion



$1.04 billion

$1.42 billion



$0.45 billion

$0.75 billion


Avg. teacher salary


No change

Avg. principal salary




Per-pupil spending



Source: CPS Office of Management and Budget, Center for Tax and Budget Accountability

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