Chicago Public Schools chief Arne Duncan called on state lawmakers to provide additional operating funds to the district this year to help address a $180 million deficit in its $5 billion proposed budget for fiscal 2009.

The budget is up about $200 million from the spending plan that covers the current fiscal year that ends June 30. CPS officials initially faced a $340 million shortfall, but officials trimmed that figure by the planned use of $50 million from a $400 million reserve account and $90 million in spending cuts. School officials believe it is affordable to dip into the reserves because the growing account now is 7% of its budget. The district also expects to collect an additional $20 million next year in increased property tax collections.

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