Citing stalled pension negotiations in Springfield and a lack of state funding for education, Chicago Public Schools released reduced individual school budgets to principals and warned of additional cuts when the full budget is released later this summer if the impasse continues.
CPS allocated $3.647 billion to schools across the city, with 416 of those schools receiving $99.5 million less money compared to last year. 238 schools will receive an additional $68.5 million dollars in funding. This includes supplemental funds, Title 1 funds, Supplemental General State Aid (SGSA) and program dollars.
Here is a downloadable school-by-school spreadsheet detailing the cuts provided by CPS.
Since the city funds schools on a per-pupil basis and the rate is the same as last year, budget reductions are due to demographic and enrollment shifts, says CPS interim CEO Jesse Ruiz. CPS allocates $4,697 per student enrolled in kindergarten through 3rd grade, $4,390 per student enrolled in 4th through 8th grade, and $5,444 per student in 9th through 12th grade.
The preliminary numbers released yesterday include the recently announced $200 million in cuts. The numbers are based on the assumption CPS will receive $500 million in pension relief from Springfield before the end of the summer. Inaction on pensions could ultimately impact class sizes, says Ruiz.
CPS says it was able to mitigate some of the cuts thanks to a waiver from the federal government that provided CPS with more flexibility in how it doles out Title 1 funds, which must be set aside for specific services. The federal waiver removed that requirement and says CPS doesn’t need to dedicate the federal aid to specific services and can instead dole out the money to the school through the per-pupil funding allocation.
Charter schools projected an uptick in enrollment–2,695 more students compared to last year–which allowed these school to pick up an additional $23.42 million dollars in additional funding. District-run schools projected a loss of nearly 4,000 students and saw $59.632 million dollars cut from their budgets.
But charters and contract schools will only get a fraction of their first quarter payment because there isn’t enough money to make the full payment, says CPS Chief Financial Officer Ginger Ostro.
Citing costs, CPS says it can no longer let schools that over-projected enrollment numbers keep the extra money after the final enrollment day, a process known as “hold harmless.” While this could lead to additional cuts, Ruiz maintains that schools have gotten a lot better at projecting enrollment numbers and CPS is “confident there won’t be huge shifts in enrollment numbers.” He says CPS has $8 million set aside to make up for any changes.
Principals across the city’s 13 regional school groups will now have to decide how to allocate the money and submit their proposed budgets to local school councils.