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Chicago proposes reducing funding for school police by more than half

Protesters march outside of Lincoln Park High School during a protest demanding that Chicago Public Schools divest from the Chicago Police Department on June 4, 2020.
COLIN BOYLE/BLOCK CLUB CHICAGO

Chicago plans to cut cut its school police program by more than half next fiscal year, by removing payment for officers on days they are not serving in schools, and no longer paying for mobile patrol officers.

That will cut the budget, which was $33 million last year, by $18 million.

The budget proposal — part of a broader $8.4 billion spending plan unveiled Monday by the district — is the first indication of how the district will modify its school police contract for next year, with COVID-19 dramatically changing the landscape for schools alongside an increased spotlight on the cost of school policing.

The change will “allow the district to support the significant investments it is making in other areas,” according to the district’s budget proposal, released Monday morning.

“It’s no secret that we’ve committed to reforming this program,” schools chief Janice Jackson said Monday morning. “The decision to go all remote will also result in a reduction in what we will pay to CPD.”

Under the new contract, the district will cut $10.5 million from the police program by removing costs for days officers don’t serve in schools and cut $7.5 million by removing expenses associated with the mobile patrol officers who are assigned to schools but aren’t stationed inside them.

A joint Chalkbeat Chicago and WBEZ investigation found that last year, even though school is only in session for 10 months of the year, the school district agreed to pay salary and benefits up to $152,000 per police officer and $172,000 per sergeant on 12-month contracts. The district said it is still reconciling costs for last school year.

The budget proposal and the school police contract for this coming year will be up for renewal at the Aug. 26 board meeting.

In recent months, a growing movement in Chicago and the nation has called for an end to school police. Meanwhile, Chicago schools are in the final days of voting about whether to keep police officers in schools. They were instructed by district officials to vote by Friday.

Catch up on Chalkbeat Chicago’s school police reporting:


August 2020: Schools will not be charged for police during remote learning days, district says

July 2020:
21 of Chicago’s Local School Councils have voted to keep police so far
Chicago aldermen call for more transparency in school police program
Chicago tasked Local School Councils with voting on police in schools — but some aren’t following the rules
Chicago schools agreed to pay school police officers full salary and pensions. That’s now under review.
Prominent Chicago high school votes down school police program. Will others follow?

June 2020:
Chicago mayor to keep police in school, as protests grow
Two marches, led by Chicago students and alumni, call for school policing changes
Chicago community groups have long called to remove police from schools. Is this their moment?
Chicago Public Schools will keep its police program — for now
As conversation on school police in Chicago rushes ahead, here are five things you need to know
Debate about school police in Chicago puts spotlight on federal report
While other school districts cut ties with police, Chicago has seen few concrete changes. Here’s what organizers say is next.

May 2020: Chicago has new school police rules. The public has until Tuesday to comment.

February 2020: Chicago changed school policing, but can teachers and students tell the difference?

January 2020: Here’s a first look at the $33 million deal between Chicago schools and the city’s police department

September 2019: Chicago’s school councils were granted authority over school police. All voted to keep them.

August 2019: Chicago approves $33 million for school police despite student criticism
$33 million proposal from the Chicago district puts new school police rules in place

July 2019: Five questions for the man training Chicago’s school police
School police proposal for Chicago: More power for principals, less for officers

May 2019: By next school year, federal police monitor expects Chicago to revamp school police program

March 2019: As Illinois drafts new school police training guidelines, report gives peek into school safety

September 2018: Report lists litany of failings over police in Chicago schools

August 2018: Police reform could have a big impact on Chicago schools

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