Chicago teachers to skip school to lobby state lawmakers for more funding

Hundreds of Chicago Public Schools teachers plan to skip school to head to Springfield next Wednesday to lobby lawmakers and the governor for more money for city schools.

CPS might need to be looking for nearly 650 substitute teachers next Wednesday as an internal memo is calling on them to take a paid leave day to head to the state capitol.

The memo, obtained by the Libertarian think tank Illinois Policy Institute, said teachers should still get paid despite not being in class.

"CTU members will be eligible for a release day to attend this important effort to advocate for our schools and our students," the memo stated.

A Chicago Public Schools spokesperson on Wednesday said CPS officials will join the teachers downstate.

"Chicago Public Schools is committed to standing alongside Chicago Teachers Union and other organizations to advocate for our fair share of funding from State of Illinois," the spokesperson said.

This comes as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle throw cold water on Mayor Brandon Johnson's request for $1 billion more in state taxpayer dollars for CPS.

"You know, that's going to be tough to get $1 billion during the time that we are in budget negotiations and we find ourselves short to meet our obligations," said State Rep. La Shawn Ford.

"Chicago Public Schools have been more than fairly treated, many of us from downstate or suburban districts will argue. And so it's a little disingenuous to hear that they feel that they're owed $1 billion. There are 400 schools in Tier 1 that deserve precious state dollars for education before the Chicago Public Schools receives additional funding," State Sen. Sue Rezin added.

Long story short, there is no more state money for CPS despite the mayor's best efforts at lobbying. The mayor reportedly didn't even broach the subject with Governor JB Pritzker, or Ford and Rezin.

Instead, CPS will have to figure out a way to close a $400 million budget gap on its own, while Chicago Teachers Union members ask for 9 percent annual raises in their next contract.