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Schurz Budget Slashed $1M, Other Schools Gain But Principals Are Wary

 Administrators said raw budget numbers provided by CPS only tell half the funding story.
Administrators said raw budget numbers provided by CPS only tell half the funding story.
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DNAinfo/Erica Demarest

OLD IRVING PARK — Schurz High School was socked with a $1 million loss when Chicago Public Schools released budgets for individual schools on Thursday.

The cuts come on the heels of a $970,000 hit to Schurz' bottom line in 2015.

The most recent budgets compare funding for the 2016-17 school year with revised budgets schools received in early 2016 following a round of mid-year cuts.

Schurz losses are largely due to an anticipated drop in enrollment of 216 students, leading to a significant dip in per-pupil funding from CPS. The school is in the midst of searching for a new principal following the resignation of Dan Kramer in June.

The budget for Roosevelt High School, where enrollment is expected to drop by 62 students, was cut by $380,000 compared with its mid-year budget.

Other schools appear to show significant funding gains — $690,000 at Lane Tech and $327,000 at Amundsen High School — but administrators said the raw budget numbers provided by CPS only tell half the story.

The new budgets reflect a change in the way CPS is funding "diverse learners" (special education students), which accounts for many of the gains, according to an email Lane Tech's administrative team sent to the school community.

"Although our budget reflects an increase, Lane is now responsible for budgeting for several Diverse Learner positions, which is a new school-level cost," the email stated.

The team is "cautiously" navigating the numbers and will present its spending plan at next week's Local School Council meeting, according to the email.

Amundsen Principal Anna Pavichevich posted to Facebook: "I don't want there to be a perception that we have received an increase in our budget."

Though the numbers she received from CPS weren't "devastating," Pavichevich noted, "You can't count the dollars they gave us for 13 [special ed] positions. We didn't have that money last year!"

For a complete picture, parents and community members should attend their school's upcoming LSC meeting, where principals will present their full budget proposals.

Amundsen is also playing host to a forum Monday, where various experts and public officials are expected to discuss ways to increase school funding at the state level. 


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