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Lake View High School and 3 Others in 'Hood Lose Out With CPS Budget Cuts

By Ariel Cheung | July 15, 2015 6:24am
 Northwestern University soccer player Maria Faveulle (left), works with Nettelhorst Elementary School students during an interactive sports-based math lesson.� The students teamed up with Northwestern University soccer players to apply geometry and other math skills to the game Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015.
Northwestern University soccer player Maria Faveulle (left), works with Nettelhorst Elementary School students during an interactive sports-based math lesson.� The students teamed up with Northwestern University soccer players to apply geometry and other math skills to the game Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015.
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Ariel Cheung/DNAinfo Chicago

LAKEVIEW — More than $800,000 is being drained from Lake View High School and three nearby elementary schools, while five other Lakeview schools will gain funds due to increased enrollments.

Of the 416 schools in Chicago to see cuts amid a $106 million state budget crisis, Lakeview schools were spared deep slashes of up to $1.7 million seen in the south and west sides of the city.

Worst impacted in the neighborhood was Lake View High School, 4015 N. Ashland Ave., which will see a $444,639 reduction after a projected 5-percent drop in its student population of 1,347.

The Chicago Public Schools budget numbers released late Monday, however, include $500 million in new state funding or pension relief that has yet to be approved by the General Assembly.

Schools were first alerted to changes in enrollment numbers in late spring, said Troy LaRaviere, principal of Blaine Elementary School, 1420 W. Grace St. With an expected $138,089 cut to its $3.9 million budget, Blaine will be considering staff cuts in classrooms and its targeted intervention program, LaRaviere told DNAinfo Chicago.

Cutting staff means cutting "critical service" to students, with intervention specialists and student-teacher ratios at risk, LaRaviere said. While city officials were quick to lay blame on the state, the outspoken LaRaviere said he holds local politicians accountable, as well.

"CPS could have gotten itself out of this if it was a better steward of the funding it has. There's close to a billion dollars that could have been used to invest in our classrooms. We don't have a broken pension system; we have a broken politician system," LaRaviere said.

Nearly all of Blaine's funding decrease came from the district's decision to end efforts not to penalize schools for enrollment drops. CPS Interim Chief Executive Officer Jesse Ruiz said the shielding was no longer possible with CPS facing more than $100 million in new state cuts in funding, as well as the state dropping a $50 million pension payment.

Not all schools will suffer cuts; five of Lakeview's eight elementary schools will see an increase in enrollment-based funding. Hamilton Elementary School will bring in 63 kindergartners after graduating 11 students this year, meaning it will have extra money to pay classroom teachers, Principal James Gray said.

Here's how the neighborhood's eight elementary schools fared:

Agassiz Elementary School: The K-8 arts-focused school will receive an additional $92,121 due to a slight enrollment increase, up 17 students from 472 last year. The 3.3-percent increase in funding includes an added $33,404 in core instruction funds and $58,716 in supplemental funds, with a total $2.8 million budget.

Blaine Elementary School: Among Lakeview elementary schools, Blaine suffered the second-worst hit, with the K-8 magnet cluster school losing a projected $138,089. While losing only four pupils out of 771, Blaine suffered cuts almost entirely due to the district's inability to maintain its attempts to not penalize schools for past enrollment drops. Blaine will cut $175,167 from its core instructional funds, while adding $37,078 to its supplemental funds, spending a total of $3.9 million.

Burley School: The literature, writing and technology magnet school will lose $171,318 next year, the most out of the Lakeview elementary schools. Like Blaine, most of the cuts are due to declining enrollment, although $15,629 in cuts came from a slight change in per pupil enrollment funding. Of the 6-percent budget cut, $108,085 will be in core instructional funds.

Greeley Elementary School: A slight increase in enrollment for the K-8 neighborhood school will provide a $55,668 boost in funding. Despite the enrollment figures, the school is still cutting $20,389 from core instructional funds. Of the total $4.1 million budget for the expected 645 students, supplemental funds will increase by $76,058.

Hamilton Elementary School: With an almost 11-percent increase in enrollment, the K-8 neighborhood school is expected to get an additional $219,471 next year, of which $204,674 will go to core instruction. The 51 new students in the school of 435 generated $225,427 in enrollment money, swallowing an $18,412 loss from previous enrollment declines. The school's total budget for 2015-16 is $2.2 million.

Hawthorne Scholastic Academy: The literature and writing magnet school will lose two of its 576 students next year, but will still gain $23,715 thanks to a $39,623 increase in spending outside the classroom. Hawthorne will lose $15,908 in core instruction of its total $2.2 million budget. The loss came from the enrollment decline and other adjustments.

Inter-American Magnet School: While the dual-language magnet school will lose only two students next year, $55,405 will be cut from its budget because of previous enrollment declines. Almost $90,000 was lost due to the change, but an additional $35,538 in other adjustments lessened the blow. The school of 575 students will operate on a $3.7 million budget.

The Nettelhorst School: The flourishing East Lakeview school will add 41 students to its 803-pupil roster next year, generating an additional $199,877 in funding. The school escaped any cuts due to the change in policy on previous enrollment declines, meaning it will add $182,926 to core instruction and $16,951 to supplemental funds as part of a total $4.1 million budget.

Chicago Public Schools announced Monday that neighborhood schools will see almost $60 million in cuts districtwide, while charter schools and other charter programs for at-risk students would see a combined $30 million in gains.

In a media conference call on student-based budgeting Monday, CPS Chief Financial Officer Ginger Ostro said 238 schools would see increased funding, at a total of $68.5 million, while 416 see budgets cut, at a total of $99.5 million.

"Money follows the students," Ostro said, adding that projected CPS enrollment for the coming school year is 372,275, down about 1 percent from last year.

According to the district, so-called neighborhood schools are expected to enroll about 4,000 fewer students in the fall, while charters increase enrollment by about 3,000 students.
Basic student-based budgeting would remain level at $4,390 a student for grades 4-8, with $4,697 for students in kindergarten through third grade and $5,444 a pupil in high schools.

Contributing: Ted Cox

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