Chicago school board approves budget, tax increase

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CHICAGO (AP) — The board of the Chicago Public Schools has approved a tax increase along with a $5.9 billion budget for next year.

CHICAGO (AP) — The board of the Chicago Public Schools has approved a tax increase along with a $5.9 billion budget for next year.

The tax increase will cost Chicago homeowners on average $84 a year. The budget approved Wednesday also contains $400 million in cuts and potentially hundreds of layoffs.

School officials say escalating pension and health care costs will contribute to an $860 million budget deficit in 2014.

Chief Administrative Officer Tim Cawley told the board the district must develop a plan on how to close the budget gap that will develop in two years. He said until that blueprint is developed the district must be focused on slashing costs.

Officials said that will mean more school closings and consolidations, layoffs and cuts to the central office bureaucracy.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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