Budget time — where is the money coming from?
So I think most CPS parents got a memo last week from Brizard about how they have “crafts school budgets that greatly minimize negative impacts on our classrooms and protect investments in the most critical program areas.” These included:
-No reductions to early childhood education (despite state cuts to the program) which supports 37,000 kids from birth to age 8.
-Maintaining investments in Kindergarten allowing 131 schools to provide full day K for 11,000 students (mostly in low-income neighborhoods) **as a note, this is over 1/3 of CPS Kindergarteners.**
-Maintain magnet school programming at 264 schools, preserving opportunities for fine arts, Montessori, and math and science enrichment for 150,000 students.
-Core class size will remain the same
-Maintain World Language programs, preserving the teaching of 12 languages to more than 87,000 students at 237 schools
-Maintain funding for 40,000 students served by the Culture of Calm initiative, which focuses on improving attendance, behavior, and academic outcomes at 38 schools with high safety needs.
Because of the severity of the budget deficit, we can’t maintain every program at the same funding level as this fiscal year. Some schools will see a reduction in funding for supplemental teaching positions and other staff. Many schools may be able to keep these positions on staff through the use of their discretionary dollars, which we are also funding at the same level of the upcoming school year.
So my son’s school reports that we will retain:
We are pleased to announce that the following Neighborhood, Options, and Special Education programs and classrooms will continue for the 2011-2012 school year:
- All classroom positions (PreK to 8th grade)
- Computer Science
- Assistant Principal
For those who need a 1-minute primer on school funding, schools get Board money based on the number of students they have. Money is allotted for teaching positions and some “extras” based on enrollment. Discretionary funds is the extra money a school gets based on the number of lower income students they have. This money can be used for things like full day K and extra teachers to reduce class size. Obviously this makes sense conceptually, but it’s difficult when you’re part of a school that is gentrifying and losing it’s lower income students to see budgets slashed severely year after year, so library, music, art, gym, etc is cut. It’s a fact of life in CPS and results in the need for fundraisers to try to make up for some of the lost money.
In previous years, we sweated it out until literally the week before school started on some of this stuff (ie PreK funding) so I respect Brizard for committing to a lot of this early on (and I suppose sweating out other non-classrooom budget cuts in August.) Definitely a nice touch. I just can’t help but wonder WHAT will be cut? Has to happen somewhere, right?
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