Principal Sean McNichols said Clissold will not lose any staff positions despite the shortfall. The school at 2350 W. 110th Place will also be able to make modest investments in new technology, he said.
Shielding the school from the loss is the retirement of five teachers and another teacher who took a job outside of the Chicago Public Schools' system. These teachers will be replaced by new teachers with smaller salaries, McNichols said.
The Far Southwest Side principal is also relying on school enrollment reaching the 500 mark, which would mean additional funding. The current enrollment is sitting at 467 students and registration begins today.
Last year, the school finished the year with 531 students.
"I feel like we are going to get those numbers," McNichols said.
To help guarantee the school reaches its target enrollment, between 20-24 students from outside of the neighborhood will be invited to attend Clissold in the fall. These students will be mostly in kindergarten and first grade and will be pulled from a list of nearly 500 students looking to enroll from outside of the boundaries.
McNichols said he prefers to keep Clissold a truly neighborhood school with neighborhood children. But adding a few students at the youngest levels protects the school against cutbacks that would otherwise impact classroom instruction.
Strangely, Clissold — like many other Chicago schools — looked to be receiving a boost in funding when the budgets were revealed last week. However, the school's $4 million budget was calculated to include special education funding for the first time.
Typically, these funds were picked up by CPS' central office, according to a DNAinfo Chicago analysis. The shift cost Clissold roughly $281,000, McNichols said.
Despite the bad news, McNichols said the school will weather the cuts and should be able to invest at least $35,000 into new technology, including new laptops for teachers and installing flat screen televisions in several classrooms as an alternative to interactive projectors.
McNichols reiterated that the school was largely shielded by the losses as a result of the retirements. Still, he lamented these long-time teachers moving on, recognizing the retirees as skilled educators.
"They will be missed — each and every one of them," he said.
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