Ways to Support the May 15 Day of Action to Fully Fund CPS

Dear CPS Families:

This Wednesday, May 15, a group of CPS educators will join District and labor leaders in Springfield to advocate for more equitable state funding for CPS schools. As dedicated staff and families committed to providing the best educational experience for Chicago’s children, we welcome your support in this effort. Below are several ways that you can lend your voice to this May 15 campaign.

Here are the major points we’re trying to get across:

  • CPS schools are underfunded by $1.1 billion according to the state’s own funding formula for Illinois schools.
  • The state only covers 31% of CPS’ pension costs, while covering virtually all pension costs for every other district in the state. This leaves CPS with a $700 million burden just this year—a burden no other Illinois school district has to deal with—while Chicago taxpayers subsidize pensions in other districts.
  • CPS students thrive when their schools have more funding. During the pandemic, CPS received extra funding from the federal government to support students, educators, and families. Here were the results:
    • High school: The Class of 2023 posted a record graduation rate (84%), record scholarship awards ($2+ billion), and close to half of all graduates received early college or career credentials
    • Middle grades: According to a Harvard/Stanford study, CPS students were #1 in post-pandemic reading recovery among large urban districts in the U.S.; #3 in combined reading and math recovery 
    • Early grades: Early literacy proficiency rates quadrupled over the course of last school year

Here are a few ways to make your voice heard this week:

Contact Your Elected Officials in Springfield

One of the best things you can do to support our effort is to contact the state lawmakers who represent you:

Make a Call: Here is some suggested language to use if you want to make a call to your state legislators. 

Hello [STATE LEGISLATOR], 

My name is [NAME], and I am [RELATIONSHIP TO CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS]. 

I am calling because our school district is not fully funded. According to Illinois’ own school funding model, CPS is $1.1 billion short of where we should be when it comes to funding from the state. 

Our students deserve fair and adequate funding so that they can continue to grow, thrive, and reach their full potential. 

I strongly encourage you to do your part to ensure that our district receives more equitable state funding. Thank you. 

Send an Email: Here is email language you can use to reach out to your state legislators about fairly funding CPS schools. But what’s even more impactful is sending a personalized email explaining why a fully funded school is so important to your family. Here are examples of a few ideas to include: 

  • What would additional funding mean for your school?
  • What programs are working for your child that you want to protect?
  • What programs or resources are you concerned about losing if schools are not fully funded?
  • What is your vision for your child’s school? 
  • How is your child’s school an important part of your neighborhood or community? 
  • What does your child enjoy the most about going to school that might be lost without more funding? 
  • How have the programs and resources at your child’s school supported their academic and social-emotional growth, and how might that change without more funding? 

Write a Letter to the Editor

Writing a Letter to the Editor for a local newspaper is a great way to make your voice heard. You can use the guiding questions above to help shape your letter. Then please follow the submission guidelines below for major Chicago newspapers.

You can also submit a Letter to the Editor to your local community newspaper; submission guidelines are typically found on the newspaper’s website.

Post on Social Media

Another effective way to raise awareness of this funding issue is to share your thoughts on social media. On some social media channels, you can tag your elected state representatives in your post. Here are some examples of language you can use:

  • My child is a proud Chicago Public Schools student, and their school deserves to be fully funded! I encourage our elected officials to work together to ensure that every Chicago student has access to a world-class education. #FullyFundCPS
  • I believe the state needs to #FullyFundCPS because all students should have access to equitable resources. The future leaders of our state are in our classrooms right now! 
  • Springfield legislators should do the right thing and #FullyFundCPS! Our students in Chicago are counting on this funding to reach their full potential both inside and outside of the classroom.
  • High-quality learning experiences for our students in Chicago require fair and adequate funding. We should #FullyFundCPS so every child across our state is able to reach their dreams!
  • #FullyFundCPS because it’s the right thing to do. I am a proud CPS parent, and my child’s school deserves access to the resources they need!

You can also highlight some of the ways CPS is uniquely disadvantaged by the state, or show what CPS students are capable of when our schools are fully funded. Use news stories and/or these downloadable graphics in your posts!

Funding Formula

  • Our CPS students are entitled to have the same funding level as other students in Illinois, yet CPS schools are underfunded by $1.1 billion according to the state’s own funding formula for Illinois schools. It’s time to make it right. #FullyFundCPS
  • My child is not worth less than other children in Illinois, yet CPS schools are underfunded by $1.1 billion according to the state’s own funding formula for Illinois schools. It’s time to make it right. #FullyFundCPS

Pensions

  • Illinois only covers 31% of CPS’ pension costs, yet it covers almost all pension costs for every other district in the state. This leaves CPS with a $700 million burden—a burden no other Illinois school district has. #FullyFundCPS

Funding Fuels Performance

  • When we #FullyFundCPS, our students can do amazing things. CPS high school students thrived due to extra funding during the pandemic: Graduation rate 84%, scholarships of over $2 billion, almost half of graduates received early college or career credentials. 
  • When we #FullyFundCPS, our students can do amazing things. Thanks to extra funding during the pandemic, our 3rd-8th graders were #1 in reading recovery among large urban Districts, and #3 for combined reading and math. https://abc7chicago.com/cps-chicago-public-schools-harvard-stanford/14450221/ 
  • When we #FullyFundCPS, our students can do amazing things. CPS used federal pandemic funding to boost early literacy, and last year, proficiency rates quadrupled for our youngest learners. https://www.audacy.com/wbbm780/news/local/cps-reports-significant-progress-in-early-literacy
  • Fully funding CPS means fully funding the future of Chicago. With strategic spending of the additional federal pandemic funds, CPS students set graduation and scholarship records and led the nation in academic recovery post-pandemic. Our students deserve 100% funding. #FullyFundCPS