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One key to the 11th-hour settlement in negotiations with the Chicago Teachers Union on Monday night was Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s decision to declare a $175 million surplus in the city’s tax increment funds – $88 million of it to help plug Chicago Public Schools’ budget gap. But his decision raised more questions than it answered.
The first question is why Emanuel waited until the last minute to offer the funding.
There’s another huge question: What about next year? A state funding package to plug CPS’ budget gap – much of it awaiting action by the General Assembly later this year – is good for this year only. The school system is looking at half-billion-dollar deficits in future years, said Bobby Otter of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability.