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Lakeview's Hamilton Hit Hard By CPS Cuts, But Federal Cash Lessens Blow

By Ariel Cheung | February 10, 2016 9:48am
 Chicago Public Schools announced $120 million in budget cuts to classrooms Tuesday. Lakeview schools will lose 884,625.
Chicago Public Schools announced $120 million in budget cuts to classrooms Tuesday. Lakeview schools will lose 884,625.
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DNAinfo/David Matthews

LAKEVIEW — While thrifty principals in Lakeview managed to stave off what could have been a $1.37 million cut to neighborhood schools, there's still an $884,625 hole to fill.

On Tuesday, Chicago Public Schools announced $120 million in cuts district-wide, and Lakeview principals were told to slash $1.37 million from their budgets. But federal money and schools' savings from last year will lessen the blow for some North Side schools. 

RELATED: Chicago School Cuts Revealed: See How Your School Fared

Lake View High School halved the $333,690 cut it faced with a $108,125 increase in Title I money. It also carried over an unused $55,216 in state money from last year, leaving the high school with $170,349 to cut from its $8.3 million budget.

Blaine, Burley, Greeley and Nettelhorst also had some carryover, with Nettelhorst leading Lakeview elementary schools with $21,197 remaining from last year's supplemental state aid.

The carryover, however, comes with its own strings, one principal pointed out.

"B/C so many principals 'saved' $ for a rainy day, the narrative will be 'See! They didn't have to cut so many teachers. Look at the waste,'" Hamilton Principal James Gray wrote on Twitter. "When it should be, 'Man those poor kids didn't get more arts, PE, books, technology ... ALL year."


CPS redistributed federal Title I grant money to schools with the highest enrollment of students living in poverty, giving Lake View High School and Greeley Elementary a lift. The other schools received an increase between $24,262 and $43,084 in Title II money, which pays for instructional materials and textbooks.

With the federal help, the $1.37 million will shrink a bit to $884,625 in second-semester cuts to the eight Lakeview elementary schools and Lake View High School. Earlier this year, Lakeview schools lost another $800,000 due to enrollment-based reductions.

Not even the network chiefs knew how their schools would be affected until Tuesday, said Network 4 Chief Ernesto Matias, who oversees most Lakeview schools.

"We're hoping the cuts will not be so drastic as to eliminate teachers from their positions," Matias said during a Monday night State of CPS forum at Blaine. "Our principals are extremely smart, and they have saved money for rainy days."

Matias said instead, the cuts could come from unfilled open positions, money set aside for substitutes or discretionary funding.

However, all cuts have an impact on students, said Blaine Principal Troy LaRaviere.

"Any time you make a cut to a school budget, it affects kids," LaRaviere said. Now, principals will have to face hard choices, from cutting non-essential employees like counselors to shuffling classroom sizes midyear.

Hawthorne Principal Nate Pietrini took to Twitter to call for more sources of revenue for education, echoing what Raise Your Hand spokeswoman Wendy Katten said at Monday night's forum.

"Urban areas have high concentrations of poverty," he wrote. "Can't tax too much, but need more resources. State must increase their contribution."


EARLIER: Lake View High School and 3 Others In 'Hood Lose Out With CPS Budget Cuts

Lakeview schools averaged 2.9 percent in cuts, with Hamilton topping the list with a 3.39 percent reduction to its $2.1 million budget. Across CPS, public schools lost an average of 1.4 percent.

Initially set to lose $96,889, Hamilton had a $24,262 increase in Title II money that lowered the impact of the cuts to $72,627. Still, across CPS, Hamilton was third in the city for the largest percent of budget cut, behind Northside Prep High School and Skinner North Elementary.

Lakeview schools escaped the worst of summer budget slashes of up to $1.7 million, seeing a combined loss of $800,000 of enrollment-based funding. By September, the neighborhood principals united to fight further cuts to special education.

RELATED: Lakeview Principals Unite To Fight 'Despicable' Cuts to Special Education

Schools also sought out untraditional sources of revenue to make ends meet, using parking lots for Cubs parking and renting out school buildings.

Here's how the eight elementary schools fared with the latest cuts:

Agassiz Elementary School: The K-8 arts-focused school is losing $79,205, offset by a $27,371 increase in Title II money. The 3.2 percent reduction to its $2.4 million budget comes after a slight increase in enrollment in the fall, up to 493 students on the 20th day of school.

Blaine Elementary School: The west Lakeview elementary lost the most money among its Lakeview counterparts, with a $127,367 cut amounting to 3.3 percent of its $3.8 million in state and federal funding. Initially set to lose $171,700, Blaine was spared the deeper slash thanks to an increase in Title II money and a slight carryover in state money from last year. In the fall, the K-8 magnet cluster school lost $138,089 almost entirely due to the district's decision to penalize schools for past enrollment drops.

Burley School: In the fall, the literature, writing and technology magnet school lost the most of Lakeview elementary schools based on past declines in enrollment at $171,318. Another $78,232 was cut Tuesday, amounting to a 3.1 percent reduction to Burley's $2.5 million budget. The school saved $4,755 from last year and also got a $27,871 increase in money for instructional materials.

Greeley Elementary School: Greeley was the only Lakeview elementary to get an increase in Title I money — used for schools with the highest enrollment of students in poverty. The $61,842 boost plus a $5,591 carryover from last year's state aid dropped a $132,207 reduction to Greeley's $3.5 million budget to a $64,774 cut. The 1.8 percent reduction in funding was the lowest of Lakeview schools.

Hamilton Elementary School: The K-8 neighborhood school avoided cuts in the fall due to an almost 11-percent increase in enrollment. While Hamilton gained $219,471 at the start of the year, it stands to lose $96,889 in Tuesday's cuts. A $24,262 increase in Title II money helped, but Hamilton still lost the largest percent of its budget of the nine Lakeview schools with a 3.39 percent cut to its $2.1 million budget.

Hawthorne Scholastic Academy: The literature and writing magnet school suffered a $94,486 cut to its $2.8 million budget, amounting to 3.29 percent. Hawthorne did receive a $31,757 increase in Title II money Tuesday and gained $23,715 in the fall thanks to an increase in spending outside the classroom.

Inter-American Magnet School: With nearly identical enrollment numbers to Hawthorne, Inter-American saw a $94,454 cut Tuesday, or about 3 percent of its $3 million budget. The dual-language magnet school got a $31,646 boost in Title II money, but lost $55,405 in the fall.

The Nettelhorst School: Initially faced with $166,025 in cuts, a $41,696 increase in Title II money and $21,197 carried over from last year, Nettelhorst must now cut $103,133 from its $3.7 million budget. In the fall, the school generated an additional $199,877 thanks to its 41-student boost to its body of 803 pupils.

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