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CPS Won't Slash School Budgets This Year Based on Enrollment

By Heather Cherone | September 25, 2017 2:19pm | Updated on September 25, 2017 4:28pm
 A change in the way Chicago Public Schools fund special education services left parents confused about whether programs and teachers would be cut at their schools.
A change in the way Chicago Public Schools fund special education services left parents confused about whether programs and teachers would be cut at their schools.
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CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools officials said Monday the budget ax will not fall this year on schools which enrolled fewer students than expected.

However, schools with more students than anticipated — based on a head count conducted last week — will get additional funds under the district's new budget system, which funds schools based on the number of students they have, officials said.

Those schools will get an additional $19.6 million, officials said.

"We have heard from so many of you that stability for planning is crucial to having the strongest possible school year," CEO Forrest Claypool and Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson said in an email sent to school principals.

"As a result, schools that experienced enrollment declines beyond initial projections will be held harmless this year and continue to operate with the budgets you received in July. We hope that this one-time hold harmless effort provides your schools with much needed certainty for this school year and gives you time to plan for next year."

The budgets distributed in July gave each school $4,590 for students in kindergarten through third grade, $4,290 for each fourth through eighth grade student and $5,320 for each high school student.

That works out to about $200 more for each student than last year, officials said.

Those budgets were expected to be revised based on the number of students who attended class on the 10th day of school, Sept. 18.

Schools that have fewer students eligible for state and federal funds earmarked for low-income students than expected will see budget cuts, "but we will have specialists available to help minimize these impacts to your school communities," Claypool and Jackson wrote.

Those reductions amount to $1.9 million across the district, officials said.

Before the school year began, CPS officials had expected enrollment to drop by 8,000 students. Last year, enrollment dropped by more than 13,800 students, data shows.

The district had 205 fewer students than projected, district spokeswoman Emily Bittner said.

Each school's new budget will be released late Monday, Bittner said.

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