CPS Announces Plans for New School Budgets

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Chicago Public Schools Wednesday released draft budgets to the principals of remaining schools for the 2013-14 school year and announced further plans for curbing the organization’s $1 billion deficit.

    Chicago Public Schools Wednesday released draft budgets to the principals of remaining schools for the 2013-14 school year and announced further plans for curbing the organization’s $1 billion deficit.

    The new school budget relies on a student-based framework that allocates money to schools based on the number of students attending the school, the CPS said.

    For the first time, principals will control the entire budget for their schools.

    The new funding will make up nearly 50 percent of a school’s budget and will include money for core staff, education support personnel, supplies and additional instructional program.

    The remaining funds for a school’s budget will come from general state aid, money for special education, magnet, bilingual, STEM, and other resources. These funds will not be affected by the student-based framework.

    “As a former principal, I know that student-based budgeting will give our school leaders unprecedented control over their budget, which will allow them to better influence outcomes at their schools and thus allow CPS to better hold them more accountable for results,” said CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett in a statement.

    Funding for longer school days and full-day kindergarten will remain protected as part of a school’s budget, however, those allocations will be determined by a school’s principal in their proposed budgets.

    To further chip away at the $1 billion budget deficit the CPS plans to use one-time reserve funding to close a portion of the gap. This reserve hinges on payments from the county and state, but if those payments are not received on time, more cuts will be made in the coming year, the CPS said.

    With the reserve drained, however, a plan for paying the $1 billion-plus budget deficit for the following year remains in question.

    The CPS said they have already trimmed $600 million in cuts to central office spending since 2011 and will continue to search for more places to cut back.

    “We have to make some difficult choices in order to close this $1 billion deficit and avoid devastating cuts at our schools, which is why we must use every available resource to protect investments that support our students and their learning,” said Byrd-Bennett.

    Over the next few weeks, principals will need to consult with local school councils and district officials to plan out their spending on schooling and staffing. Each principal’s budget will then go into a district-wide budget, which must be approved in August.