The Illinois Commerce Department announced Monday it is negotiating with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to negotiate a new contract for its Healthcare Exchange Services contract with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The agency will announce a contract that will include the exchange services, a transition of some of the agency’s employees to private-sector work and additional resources for the exchange.
The move comes as the Illinois General Assembly considers a new bill that would eliminate the current contract, and potentially allow CPS to cancel the contract.
Under the new deal, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) would receive $2 million to help the Chicago school system meet its new enrollment targets, and the CPS would be able to reduce its staff.
The agreement also allows the Chicago City Council to decide to extend the contract, if it approves of the agreement.CPS and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Illinois General Services Administration (IGSA) said the new agreement will provide a “competitive environment” and “a level playing field” for Illinois and the nation.
The agreement will “enhance the ability of CPS and other entities to compete for students and to expand enrollment,” IGSA said.
The agency’s chief financial officer, John Cusack, told the Chicago Tribune that the contract will also allow the CPS to continue to hire and retain top leadership, including CPS Superintendent Lourdes Smith.
Cusack said the contract also will allow CPS “to continue to focus on the health care of the students.”
The contract also includes an increase in the district’s annual budget, which will increase by $5.4 million.
The state of Illinois is responsible for funding the Chicago public schools, and its contract includes the cost of providing services.
The CPS contract, which expires on June 30, will provide the agency with $9.5 million in annual funding, according to IGSA.
The agency said the additional funding will allow the agency to “continue to deliver high quality services to students.”CPS Superintendent Lourna Smith, the union’s president, said she is “pleased” that the new contract will provide CPS with additional funding.
“We are proud of our hardworking CPS employees who will now be able spend more time working in our schools and more time helping our students,” Smith said in a statement.
“As a result of the new terms of the contract we will be able provide more resources for CPS to provide better care for our students.”