By Georgina Jaimes (Senior)
Senn’s students and teachers will soon find out how they will be affected by the 2015-2016 budget cut crisis in CPS.
Next year, Senn High School will see a 30% cut totaling $2.8 million dollars. This means that Senn will lose teachers, we will have combined courses, programs will be cut and class sizes will more than double.
The state will only fund 15% to CPS students. Chicagoans contribute up to 20% in their state
income tax for 20% of Illinois students enrolled in CPS. The missing 5% of the 15% is $500 million enough to save our classrooms. Without the equal funding, 20% for 20%, Senn and other CPS schools will be cutback in funding programs and necessary resources that benefit towards the success to our students’ education. CPS needs equality now!
On Wednesday eleven principals from across the North Side came together for a town hall meeting at Senn High School, they also met with Alderman Osterman to talk about Illinois’ education funding crisis.
Linze Rice, wrote an article about what occurred in the town hall meeting, ¨11 CPS Principals Say ‘We’re Not Crying Wolf’ On Budget Crisis.¨ Rice said that ¨the group, along with Osterman, repeatedly urged the crowd to contact their local legislators and tell them to support legislation being considered by the state House of Representatives.¨
Many principals, including Senn’s principal Mary Beck said that no amount of fundraising, or tax increases, could solve the state budget problem. Our resolution for now is to pass the pending state legislation, that will be important for fair funding.
Students aren’t the only ones being affected; Chicago Teachers Union is also going against unfair labor practices that will soon be taken place, such as changes in pension contributions, decision-making on raises based on experience, and unpaid furlough days.
Jennifer Hessenthaler, an English teacher at Senn, believes that the budget crisis could have been avoided if only CPS managed their money properly, instead of funneling tax money to neighborhood schools.
Moreover, she says, “If teachers aren’t getting paid well, the job is harder to do. Thus, the students end up with overworked, underpaid teachers.”
Many Senn students have attended rallys to show support towards teachers and also to show that their education needs to be taken seriously. In Photos: CPS Students Rally In The Loop To Decry Imminent Budget Cuts you can see Oyuki Aguilar (18), senior at Senn, attending the rally in the Loop, in support of funding for schools. Aguilar believes that due to corruption, education isn’t being taken seriously.
Aguilar sees federal funds being used into materialistic things. An example she gives is the construction for new buildings around the city. She says knowledge is much more important than budgets for tourism.
“Due to the recent budget cuts in CPS, I feel like their not prioritizing what is really important and that is our education.”
Much like Aguilar, Librarian Ellen Damlich says that neighborhood schools, to her, are the nucleus to the community. They are the most important schools in the city. Public schools have the most low-income students in Chicago. Resources and programs will soon be taken away from the students who need them the most. When this happens, students aren’t given the chance to progress like they should be able to.
“Budget cuts take away extra resources from all schools, that means electives. Electives are things that engage students into school. It’s where kids figure out I can draw or I’m interested in coding. Budgets cut these programs, it is bad for students and the community.”
Furthermore, Damlich strongly believes that with these budget cuts “students aren’t getting rich educational programs, which will make students less interested in school, which means those students will have less opportunities and that is bad for society.”