Last week, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) unveiled the details of its latest round of budget cuts. After CPS failed to receive state funding, CEO Forrest Claypool initiated the cuts in an attempt to close a $480 million budget gap. CPS is currently operating at a $1.1 billion deficit, and administrators are facing criticism from the Chicago Teachers Union that the cuts are an attempt to force teachers into contract negotiations. As part of the cuts, CPS has announced it will no longer contribute to teacher pensions as it has done in the past, a decision that is expected to save the district $65 million this year and $130 million per year afterwards.
Greetings, cousins!” Naomi Davis’s voice booms across the crowd seated on folding chairs and hay bales at the Green Village Pavilion, a space of calm tucked into a corner of the African Festival of the Arts in Washington Park. Out on the festival’s pathways, women double-dutch in the shade. Reggae music floats over from the booth down the lane.