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South Loop Elementary To Cut $128K Without Shedding Jobs, Principal Says

By David Matthews | February 12, 2016 12:30pm
 South Loop Elementary School.
South Loop Elementary School.
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Courtesy SLES

SOUTH LOOP — South Loop Elementary School will cut about $128,000 from its budget this week without firing teachers, opting instead to draw savings it set aside for a mid-year cut like many other schools. 

The school at 1212 S. Plymouth Court will absorb its six-figure budget cut by spending savings for books, supplies, maintenance, and other things, principal Tara Shelton said in an email to parents Thursday. 

"While we are able to reallocate funds, unfortunately, it does still leave us with a decrease in essential resources to finish the school year, as well as the budget challenges of planning for next year," Shelton wrote.

It's a familiar play Downtown, where schools including Jones and Walter Payton college preps, Ogden International School, and others staved off job losses by spending money it set aside anticipating the mid-year budget cuts delivered Tuesday by Chicago Public Schools. Though the strategy prevented job losses, it also means nearly $1 million across the six schools (also including Salazar Elementary and National Teachers Academy) won't go toward students.

"The problem I have is those monies were not used to educate children first semester," Tim Devine, Payton's principal, said Wednesday. 

CPS is operating at a $1.1 billion deficit and its budget this year included a $480 million hole that CPS chief Forrest Claypool hoped to fill through state funding by the new year. But the money never came, and Claypool said Tuesday that the district had to take action by slashing $120 million, $85 million of which will take effect this school year. Claypool has denied the new cuts this week are an attempt to pressure the Chicago Teachers Union as they negotiate a new contract.

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

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