Behind the Headline: Running Out of Cash, CPS Tells Principals to Stop Spending

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Running Out of Cash, CPS Tells Principals to Stop Spending
Chicago Sun-Times| 3/10/2016

Behind the Headline
School Pension Costs Continue to Rise
Education Next blog | 12/15/15

ednext-blog-july15-costrell-per-pupil-pension-costs-smallThe Chicago Public Schools announced last week that teachers would have to take three unpaid days off this year as a cost-cutting measure. In response, the Chicago Teachers Union announced that the move “all but assured” that teachers would go on strike this year, possibly as soon as April 1.

As Fortune magazine reports, the Chicago school system is facing a $1 billion shortfall.  Because the district needs to make a $688 million pension payment in June, district officials told principals this week to stop spending money unless an expenditure is absolutely necessary.


Pension costs are rising for school districts nationwide; on average districts are spending $1,085 per pupil on them.

Given that school districts now spend about $11,800 per pupil on average, the $1,085 spent on employee pensions represents a significant amount of money that might have otherwise been spent in ways that would benefit student learning.

For an analysis of the rising costs of teacher pensions, please see “School Pension Costs Continue to Rise.”

— Education Next

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