Friday, September 26, 2014

CPS won't cut schools based on enrollment shortfalls

CRPE researcher Larry Miller is quoted in this Catalyst Chicago article about Chicago Public School's budget decision.

Excerpt from the article by Sarah Karp
CPS officials on Friday said principals would not face budget cuts if student enrollment in their schools failed to meet projections. Schools enrolling more than the number of students projected will receive additional student-based budgeting of about $4,390 per student, according to a letter sent out by CPS. No reason was given for the decision. About half of CPS schools would have lost a total of about $38 million, if these cuts had gone through, according to CPS. The number of students going to district-run schools dropped dramatically in the last year from about 320,000 to 309,000 with some going to charters or contract schools and others leaving CPS.

About 214 schools will get additional $24 million. CPS officials said they will use money in contingency and an anticipated surplus of Tax Increment Financing money to offset the extra costs. Last spring, CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett announced that the district was dramatically overhauling the way the district provided money to schools. Rather than providing teachers based on enrollment, the district now pays schools a stipend for each student under a system called student-based budgeting.

CPS also decided not to penalize schools last year—a move that cost the district about $20 million...

...The decision to hold schools harmless met with skepticism from the Center for Reinventing Public Education, an organization that promotes choice in school districts. Larry Miller, an expert on student-based budgeting with the center, said that when a school gets to keep money for students they don’t have, they are effectively taking money away from students in other schools. He said too often school districts put off fully implementing student-based budgeting for the wrong reasons.

“There is often a lot of political support for the status quo,” he said. “They get overwhelmed by requests to keep things the way they are and they cave...”
Read the full article.

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