The Budgets Are Coming, The Budgets Are Coming
A reader suggested we talk about the school budgets that will be coming out soon. I am never very knowledgeable on this topic, so feel free to add whatever you know.
Each school gets a budget of discretionary funds that are used to pay for “extra” things that the board doesn’t cover. This CAN (and usually does) cover some teaching positions because the formula through which positions are assigned is sort of crazy. Position assignments work best in a school where the grades are all evenly balanced and the number of kids per grade splits nicely into an even number of classes. In schools that have a lot of kids in the lower grades and very few in the higher grades, and some grades with an oddly high number of kids, it gets out of whack. I believe the number of teachers assigned is basesd on the school enrollment total, so it just doesn’t always fall out evenly, leaving the need for a couple extra teachers here and there.
The money that many schools get is very very dismally small. As we all know, the challenge for 2012/13 is about how to cover this extra time in the school day, when the teachers’ time is pretty restricted in terms of supervising recess, etc.
There is talk that there will be some extra money to help schools cover the time, but it’s still unclear how much and where it’ll come from given that CPS has a budget shortfall. Brizard has talked about PRIORITIZING for months now and I guess this is where we’ll see how it shakes out. We know that the IB coordinators will be cut. Someone wrote to tell me that the program called Freshman Connection (is that just for SE high schools or all high schools) that gives freshman a few weeks to get acclimated to their new (bigger) school is also being cut. I’m sure there will be other cuts as well.
In regards to covering the extra school day time, I wanted to report back on the interviews I did with the principals from Fiske and Disney II. I’ve mention this before, but I was really blown away by both women. The longer day made total sense the way they talked about it. They have vey high standards for their schools and have a LOT they want to teach the kids. Of course I asked about the coverage of recess, etc. They both handle it “creatively” within their school/community. Neither school is using their pioneer money to make it work.
Fiske uses and outside volunteer organization that the principal has forged a relationship with to bring people into the school to help. I asked whether it was difficult to get people to show up, schedule them etc. I was told that the organization (via outside funding or grants or something) actually provides a stipend to some of the volunteers. So that is a pretty awesome setup.
At Disney II, the principal mentioned that they (*updated to reflect input from DII that the use security and classroom assistants for supervision times.)
Both women felt that each school needed to use their particular resources to find a way to make it work, and they didn’t consider it a major obstacle. (just paraphrasing here.)
Each year the big funding questions in the elementary schools tend to be about : Free Pre-K, Full day kindergarten, specials (gym, library tech, etc.) I’d imagine these may still be uncertain this year?
Feel free to share any thoughts/info/speculation on the budgets…..
*See comment #39 for input from CPS. Also below is a link to Brizard’s recent webcast where he answers questions in response to parents’ video questions: