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Chicago Proposes Reducing Funding For School Police By More Than Half

The budget proposal is the first indication of how the district will modify its school police contract for next year.

Protesters march outside of Lincoln Park High School to demand Chicago Public Schools divest from the Chicago Police Department on June 4, 2020.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Chicago plans to 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:

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

August 2019: Chicago approves $33 million for school police despite student criticism

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

Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news site covering educational change in public schools.