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The Chicago Board of Education has approved a budget of $ 9.4 billion for 2022-2023

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The Chicago Board of Education unanimously approved the county’s operating and capital budget of $ 9.4 billion for the 2022-23 school year, allocating that half will go directly to school budgets.

During a board meeting on Wednesday, members urged district leaders to draw up a plan on how to manage resources after the end of federal aid COVID-19 in 2024.

The approved spending plan is $ 200 million, or about 2%, more than last year’s budget. That’s $ 8 billion for operational costs, $ 645 million for school infrastructure improvements and $ 769 million for district debt service.

But parents and union leaders argue that schools are still not getting what they need to address the effects of the pandemic on academic and mental health.

CEO Pedro Martinez said the CPS will focus on restoring academic and mental health. The county, he said, is trying to use federal funds to give the district a “three-year runway.”

About $ 4.6 billion will go directly to schools – a slight increase over this school year. Expenditure per student in the district has increased by about 8%, even as the county has seen a decline in student numbers that is accelerating by a pandemic.

The district will be filled with 1,600 pedagogical and personnel positions. It will also include $ 100 million for programs for young children and $ 30 million for summer school programs.

CPS leaders said Wednesday that the county has so far spent about 45% of the $ 2.8 billion in federal COVID emergency funds. They plan to spend another $ 730 million of those dollars for the 2022-23 school year.

Outside the Chicago public school headquarters before Wednesday’s meeting, community organizers condemned the district’s spending plan. Jasmine Serda, the parent organizer of the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, said the district needs to fully restore the budgets of schools that have been cut to continue helping with the effects of the pandemic.

Under the original capital construction plan, the district sought to build a high school in the Middle South Baku. But Martinez removed high school from the agenda of the capital’s budget on the eve of Wednesday’s vote amid growing criticism.

As part of a $ 644.5 million capital investment, the district will focus on repairing roofs and mechanical systems, upgrading toilets, and bringing school buildings in line with ADA requirements.

According to a presentation by district officials, schools in the Middle West Side should receive more than $ 58.7 million for repairs. Albany Park schools will receive $ 23.4 million, West Town – $ 18.6 million, and Belmont-Cragin schools – $ 15.6 million for repairs.

During a city council meeting on Wednesday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot also announced plans to spend $ 115 million from special tax districts on the city’s public schools. Among the projects that can be funded by tax increase funding, or TIF, funds: $ 12.42 million for Whitney M. Young High School, $ 11.51 million for Hope Academy of Learning and $ 10.13 million for Charles Elementary School. R. Darwin.

The district first announced its campus budget in April, sparking criticism because a previous proposal provided for budgets reduced by 40% of campuses amid significant enrollment losses during the pandemic era, despite the county as a whole allocating more dollars to schools.

Supporters called for maintaining school budgets harmless for the third year in a row as the city’s schools continue to focus on the effects of the pandemic. Under the 2022-2023 budget, the district resumed funding of about $ 24 million.

Mauricio Peña is a Chalkbeat Chicago reporter covering K-12 schools. Contact Mauritius at mpena@chalkbeat.org.

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