Per-Pupil Funding: Coming Soon to a School Near You
I’ve been hearing for a while, since JCB was new that CPS would switch to a different method of funding that would give principal much more autonomy and flexibility. IN the current/old system, money was bucketed into certain “pots” and couldn’t be transferred around. So if a school got money for things like copy machines, but didn’t really need all that money, they couldn’t transfer it to use for extra staffing. Now multiply that by a whole bunch of different buckets and you’ll see the frustration and complexity that principals have faced in managing their schools’ finances.
So the “one big pot” seems like a good idea!
But. The question is whether the one big pot is actually shrinking the amount that schools get. Rumors are circulating that schools are now getting their budgets and some (it seems to be neighborhood schools) have had quite a bit chopped out of their annual operating budget. Like perhaps to the point of having to remove several teachers in some of these schools?
Actually, I’m unclear what drove the specific amounts that the schools used to get. If it wasn’t #-of-students-based, what was it??
Here’s what the CPS Press Release said about it:
Student-Based Budgeting represents a substantial shift in the way principals are allocated core instruction dollars. In previous years, principals received per-position, not per-pupil, allocations from the Central Office based on an outdated formula that dictated specific numbers and types of positions to fill within their schools. The formula often did not adequately tailor resources for the student body that principals and teachers were working with every day.
By moving to a Student-Based Budgeting funding model, CPS is ensuring that principals will no longer be limited in their ability to invest resources in a way they believe will best meet their students’ needs. The pool of newly flexible funding will represent about 50 percent of a school’s budget and include money for core staff, educational support personnel, supplies and additional instructional program. This new funding model will also create more equitable core funding across all schools in the District.
The remaining funding in a school’s budget is made up of various resources provided for educational supports outside of core instruction funding. Examples include supplemental general state aid and money for special education, magnet, International Baccalaureate, bilingual, STEM, English language learner and Title I programs as well as operations funding, including money for transportation, security and nutrition services. These funds will not be affected by the funding formula change.
WBEZ reported on the topic this week and notes that the per-student $ amount seems lower in the past. CPS has not stated whether Charters will get the same amount as non-charters (in the pas they’ve gotten less.)
More than 40 district schools and the city’s 104 charter schools have been funded this way for several years. But the rates were set at roughly $6,000 per student for elementary schools and $7,000 per student for high schools.
CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll said the per pupil rates for next year will be $4,429 per student in kindergarten through third grade, $4,140 per student in 4th through 8th grade, and $5,029 per student in high school.
Carroll did not immediately know if charter schools, which have long complained about being funded inequitably, will be getting the same amounts as district-run schools. The new rates are significantly lower than charters’ previous per pupil rates of $6,070 per elementary student and $7,587 per high school student.
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