How new CPS budget will affect local schools

By TONIA HILL
Staff Writer

On Friday, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) officials released figures for its operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The $5.7 billion budget published on Friday, Aug. 11, assumes that state lawmakers will enact Senate Bill 1 [SB 1] and that the district will receive additional funds from local resources to plug holes.

SB 1 is a school funding reform bill that would alter the way money is distributed to schools statewide.

The measure will use an evidence-based model to define an adequate level of education funding for each district and a formula for distributing state funds to districts.

It was approved by the Illinois legislature in May.

At the beginning of this month, Gov. Bruce Rauner used his amendatory veto power taking away a $250 million block grant that CPS receives from the state.

“Under this model [SB 1], 268 districts would receive more money per pupil than Chicago. CPS would receive $300 million in additional funding in FY18,” CPS said in a written statement.
Funds from the state would also go toward current and past due pension payments for CPS.

The district is also assuming that it will receive “an additional $269 million in local resources to address its remaining budget gap, and is working with the City of Chicago to identify potential sources,” CPS said in a written statement.

The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) on Friday said the district’s budget relies on “phantom money from both the city and the state.”

“The figures introduced in today’s 2017-2018 CPS operating budget “framework” remain insufficient, and the Chicago City Council will be voting on inadequate funds to cover previous budget cuts weathered by parents, students and educators, and not any additional resources for our schools, CTU said in a written statement.

Other changes by Rauner regarding CPS include removing “both Chicago Public Schools pension considerations from the formula: the normal cost pick-up and the unfunded liability deduction. The fifth change will reintegrate the normal cost pickup for Chicago Public Schools into the Pension Code where it belongs.”

Rauner has said on the record that SB1 was “a bailout for CPS.”

“This is not about taking resources away from Chicago,” Rauner said last week. “This is about making historic changes to help poor children in Chicago and throughout the state of Illinois.”

Now that the Governor has vetoed portions of the bill it is up to state lawmakers to approve his changes or override.

The state’s recently approved $36 billion budget includes an additional $350 million for kindergarten through 12th-grade classrooms.

A section of the state budget would prevent schools from receiving funds from the state without the new funding formula in place.

Some schools in districts across the state run the risk of not opening on time this school year without a funding formula in place.

CPS officials reiterated on Friday that schools would open on time this year despite uncertainty in Springfield.

“Every district in Illinois is facing unnecessary – and unconscionable – uncertainty about how much funding they will receive from the State, thanks to Governor Rauner’s veto of a historical education funding reform bill,” CPS CEO Forrest Claypool said in a written statement.

Lawmakers met over the weekend to discuss SB 1.

Area schools budgets are listed below:

Bret Harte Elementary School, 1556 E 56th St., will receive $2,443,323 a little over $100,000 less than it did previously.

Dyett High School for the Arts, 555 E. 51st St., will receive $2,352,958 this school year.

Hyde Park Academy High School, 6220 S. Stony Island Ave., will receive $6,572,707 a decrease from last year’s $7,212,773.

Kenwood Academy High School, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., will receive $12, 385,874 a small increase from last year’s $12, 362, 130.

Kozminski Elementary Community Academy, 936 E 54th St., will receive $1,871,510 this year increase from last year’s $1,823, 071.

Murray Language Academy will receive $3,902,027 a decrease from last year’s $3,763,935.

Ray Elementary School will receive $4,746,457 a decrease from last year’s $4,788,335.

Reavis Elementary Math & Science Specialty School, 834 E. 50th St., will receive $1,631,041 an increase from last year’s amount, $1,582,848.

Shoesmith Elementary School, 1330 E 50th St., will receive $2,411,268 a decrease from the previous school year’s, $2,451,260.

The figures will be readjusted this fall, based on the each school’s actual enrollment.

Area schools feel the impact of the budget

Bret Harte

“We lost about $125,000 that was reduced from last year’s budget it caused us to close two positions, which led to one teacher layoff,” said Charlie Bright, interim principal at Bret Harte.

“We were able to move one of our assistants to a new position, so we were able to save a job.”

Last week, the district also announced 956 layoffs ahead of the start of this school year, 356 teachers and 600 support staff members were impacted by the layoffs.

Bret Harte lost one teacher and support staff member. Shoesmith lost one teacher and a support staff member. Hyde Park High School lost two support staffers. Kenwood High School lost one teacher and two support staffers. Ray Elementary School lost one support staff member, and Reavis Elementary lost one teacher.

Not every school in the district was impacted by layoffs.

The district said it expects to have more than 500 teaching vacancies, which they will attempt to fill before the beginning of the school year.

Though the school lost a teaching position, Bright said the school is stretched too thin to hire another teacher.

“We are not expecting anything extra from the district we did file an appeal, but it was denied,” Bright said.

He added that he is optimistic about the 10th day of school.

Schools in the district are given an increase in funds after the 10th day of school if more students are enrolled than initially projected.

This school year will be Bright’s first leading the school. However, he is not a newcomer to the school.

Two years ago, Bright was the resident principal at Bret Harte as a part of the New Leaders Program.

He worked alongside former Bret Harte Principal Shenethe Parks, who served in the role for 10 years and recently accepted a new position within CPS.

Last year, Bright was the assistant principal at Mahalia Jackson Elementary School, 917 W. 88th St.

Ray Elementary School

Ray Elementary School’s deficit this school year was just over $100,000.

Assistant Principal Gayle Harris-Neely said the school reduced the deficit by using funds raised by Ray parents in 2009.

The fund is called the “Children’s First Fund,” and it reduces the deficit to just over $40,000.

To close the gap further, Harris-Neely said they would “work with CPS to receive an advance to adjust the enrollment.”

The school also plans to appeal the district’s projected enrollment figures.

Ray lost one support staff member due to district wide layoffs.

“The position closed due to the deficit,” Harris-Neely said.

Harris-Neely said they are looking to rehire the staff member who served as dean of students at Ray last year by using funds from an internal account at the school.

Shoesmith Elementary School

CPS projects that the deficit for the school to be at nearly $40,000 for this year.

“On the tenth day of school if you have more students you get more per pupil allocations,” said Sabrina Gates, principal at Shoesmith.

Gates said the school’s enrollment usually is between 345-350 students. CPS’ projected enrollment for the school this school year is 329.

“This projection is significantly lower, so that means you start the funding for this much [many students] and you have to make up the difference,” Gates said.

The other change for the school regarding the budget is Title II funds. The school received them for the first time last year but did not receive them for this school year.

The decrease resulted in closing one position and opening a position using student-based budgeting funds.

The school also had to close the attendance and coordinator position as a request of the budget,

Title II funds provide funds to increase student academic achievement by reducing class size and elevating teacher and principal quality through recruitment, hiring, and retention strategies, according to the State Board of Education.

The district will spend more to educate students this school year. Per pupil spending for next year will increase to $4,290, up five percent from the $4,087 rate at the beginning of the previous school year.

This fiscal year the district said it would receive $2.281 billion, a reduction of $43 million. Last fiscal year, the district received $2.324 billion.

The reduction in monies for the budget, according to CPS comes from the projected decline in enrollment. Additionally, CPS said it expects to see a decrease in federal dollars.

CPS also expects a population decline of about 8,000 students this fall.

“CPS will have about $40 million less in federal funds to distribute to both district-run and charter schools,” CPS said in a written statement. “This is due to a likely reduction in the overall amount of federal Title I and Title II funds going to school districts nationwide, declining CPS enrollment and a lower concentration of poverty in Chicago.”

Special education funding will see a bump in financing this academic year.

t.hill@hpherald.com