Update on the Budget Cuts – Eric Zorn speaks out
This is long post because there’s a CPS info sheet at the end. I think we’ve discussed many of these points, but it’s interesting to see how the budget issue is heating up in the media.
Raise You Hand’s Facebook page is tracking the individual schools’ budget cuts and posting about protests, etc if you want to follow them here:
ERIC ZORN COLUMN
Today, Eric Zorn, from the Tribune (who has 2 kids in CPS) wrote a column openly criticizing CPS for now sharing the school budgets and/or revealing the extent of the budget cuts.
His full column is here:
He finds it perturbing that CPS cannot make the budget information more transparent and alludes to what people may experience as being “jerked around” (my words, not his… but what he’s implying.)
From his column:
“And in some cases illusory. In our conversation later Tuesday, Carroll said, “By the time this process is over, the overall impact on classroom learning will be very minimal,” though she also noted that “there will be winners and losers” among the schools.
She said it would require too much staff time to post a complete, regularly updated list of those winners and losers given how often the internal numbers change.
Nonsense. The way they’re doing it now, keeping parents guessing and wondering if it’s time, at last, to move to the suburbs? Putting teachers and support personnel into professional limbo while moving money from column to column?
It’s crazy. “
LSC REJECTING BUDGETS
Also going on, a few schools are voting to reject their school’s budget. From Audobon’s LSC:
“Audubon’s LSC is one of several councils across the city who have also rejected their 2013-2013 budget, including Blaine, Kellogg, and Edgebrook.
After a careful examination and review of the CPS budget our decision was made with thoughtful consideration of what could be done with private funding. However, we have concluded that it is in the best interest of our students, staff, parents and community to reject this budget completely.”
CPS’ FACT CHECK ON BUDGETS
Simultaneously, I got this fact sheet from CPS this morning. I think we’ve seen many of these point made already, although I did notice that this mentions that LSCs cannot reject their budget, that the principal must come to an agreement with the LSC.
School-Based Budgeting Provides a Fair and Equitable Process to Fund All Schools
• Student Based Budgeting (SBB) represents 50% of every school’s budget and includes funding for all core education programming (such as the Full School Day or Full Day Kindergarten) and classroom positions. Funding is based on the number of students in each school. All schools are provided a per-pupil rate for every student based on their grade level and whether they are a high school or elementary school student. Most major Districts either use SBB or are moving to SBB as it provides a fair and equitable means to fund all their schools – no two schools are treated differently under SBB.
• SBB will give principals unprecedented control over how to spend core education dollars, allowing them to create their own education budgets and staffing plans in a way they believe will best meet the academic needs of their students.
• The remaining 50% of a school’s budget is made up of Supplemental General State Aid (SGSA), Title I programs, English Language Learners (ELL), Magnet, International Baccalaureate, Bilingual, and STEM programs. It also consists of operations funding outside the classroom, including money for transportation, security and nutrition services. These funds are completely separate from SBB.
• All school-based budgets are currently draft and are not yet final. Some schools will see increases this year, while others will see decreases, which will be driven by enrollment, poverty levels, students with special needs, the District’s budget crisis and other several other factors.
• CPS is poised to use one-time funding available in our reserves, reductions in Central Office directed spending, and other sources to close the $1 billion deficit in order to keep cuts as far away from the classroom as possible. However, we will not be able to avoid reductions.
Additional $400 Million Pension Payment Driving CPS Deficit
• CPS faces a historic $1 billion in FY14, which is being driven by a new $400 million pension payment. During this past legislative session in Springfield, CPS worked tirelessly to pass meaningful pension reform which would save the district hundreds of millions of dollars in this upcoming fiscal year and give us the funding needed to prevent impacts on our schools.
• However, when session ended on May 31st, the legislature in Springfield adjourned without an agreement on how to address our pension crisis. Our leaders in Springfield have pledged to work throughout this summer to address the state’s own pension crisis and Mayor Emanuel, the Board of Education and CEO Byrd-Bennett will continue to seek similar pension relief for CPS.
• In the absence of pension reform, CPS CEO Byrd-Bennett has directed her financial team to continue to identify additional cost saving opportunities throughout the system in order to restore as many classroom dollars as possible.
CPS Has Eliminated Hundreds of Millions in Central Office Directed Spending To Address Deficits
• CPS has cut Central Office spending by nearly $600 million since 2011, and is eliminating another $52 million next fiscal year to keep cuts as far away from the classroom as possible. CPS will continue to do everything possible to minimize the impact on schools to reduce the historic $1 billion deficit facing the District next fiscal year. However, some impact on the classroom cannot be avoided altogether.
Multiple Factors Impact School Funding
• A school’s budget is driven by many factors, such as drops or increases in enrollment, the number of students at the poverty level, the number of students with special needs and others. These are factors that occur every single year and can significantly impact how much funding a school may receive.
• A school may also see a reduction in their budget that doesn’t necessarily mean the service or program has been eliminated, as some programs and positions may be moved from schools to the Central Office. This change will be reflected as a reduction in a school’s budget, but those dollars have simply been shifted to Central Office; however those services or positions may remain in place. For example, in FY14 engineering positions are being moved to Central Office in order to create a more efficient system that will save the District money, but schools will still receive all the engineering support they need. Those positions and the money to support them will no longer be in school budgets, but the services will remain intact at each school.
STEM and IB Program Funding Remains Intact
• Claims that STEM and IB funding have been cut are false.
The Illinois School Code Process To Deal With LSC Failure to Reach Agreement On Budgets
According the Illinois School Code, there is a process in place when a LSC fails to reach an agreement on a schools
• LSCs do not have the authority to reject CPS’ funding allocation to schools under Illinois state code.
• According the Illinois School Code, there is a process in place when a LSC fails to reach an agreement on a schools budget:
o Principals are obligated to work with the LSC to seek agreement
o Lack of approval will result in intervention from CEO, who appoints a financial advisor to assist the LSC
and principal in reaching agreement
o Continued failure results in CEO appointment of “financial supervision team” to create a budget based on district’s funding allocation.
Nearly $1 Billion in TIF Money Has Helped Build and Renovate Schools Across The City
• The use of TIF dollars to fund schools projects has enabled CPS to reduce the amount of debt it has had to issue and the use of operating dollars that would have been used to pay down that debt. These resources can be used to fund CPS operating costs while still allowing capital projects to move forward. More than $900 million in TIF dollars have been committed to CPS school construction.
• Eliminating TIFs would not generate substantial new revenue for CPS as property tax caps on CPS severely limits its ability to tax new property tax revenue.
Interest Rate Swaps Saves Money For CPS – $70M To Date:
• Interest swaps, which are competitively bid, have allowed CPS to reduce its interest costs on debt by approximately $70 million. CPS works with banks to reduce the rates it pays on money it has borrowed, similar to how a homeowner who refinances a mortgage to a lower interest rate will save money on a mortgage payment. Renegotiating swaps would signal that CPS can’t pay its debt and would cost the District more money in the long-term.
Entry filed under: Budget.