Chicago schools cut funding for police by more than half

Chicago Public Schools CEO Dr. Janice Jackson, right, speaks as Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, second from left, listens during a press conference at the CPS headquarters, July 17. Pat Nabong/Chicago Sun-Times via AP

Funding for police officers in Chicago Public Schools will be cut by more than half, while other ‘major reforms’ will be implemented for the way police operate in the school district, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and district CEO Janice Jackson said.

The Chicago School Board voted to keep its contract with Chicago police while cutting the budget for school resource officers from $33 million to $15 million, WGN-TV reported.

The question of whether Chicago police officers should be on duty inside public schools has been a debate by local school councils after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis ignited protests worldwide against racial injustice and police brutality.

Activists have called for all officers to be removed from schools in Chicago. Lightfoot said individual schools can decide if school resources officers will remain in their premises but the changes do not remove them from the district.

“I understand the concerns and questions that many have surrounding policing, particularly when it involves our youth,” Lightfoot said. “We have heard you, and we have taken major steps to respond.”

Lightfoot and Jackson said Wednesday that changes also will be made in the way school resource officers are hired and how complaints are handled.

In recent weeks, elected local school councils have been deciding whether to keep officers in schools. So far, 17 schools have decided they don’t want Chicago police, while 55 are keeping resource officers.