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CPS Increases School Budgets by More Than $60 Million Next Year with Major Investments in Academic Success

17 April 2018

Schools Will Receive $3.1 Billion in Academic Funding Next Year to Accelerate Academic Progress and Support At-Risk Students

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620
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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

CHICAGO - To build on the record-setting academic progress that has earned national recognition for Chicago schools, CPS is investing $3.1 billion in school-level funding for the 2018-19 school year, an increase of more than $60 million compared to the current school year. Next school year, communities throughout Chicago will benefit from new investments in high quality academics like International Baccalaureate and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs; additional resources for at-risk students; and new postsecondary counselors to help prepare students for success after high school graduation.

“Nationally renowned researchers are pointing to CPS students as an example for other cities, because they are progressing in the classroom faster than anyone in the country, and to accelerate Chicago’s unprecedented academic success we are increasing school funding and making key investments in neighborhoods throughout Chicago,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “By raising funding levels for every student, investing in IB, STEM and magnet schools, supporting at-risk students, and creating new postsecondary counselor positions to prepare students for lasting success, we will continue to raise the bar for academic excellence in Chicago.”

In the 2018-19 school year, CPS is increasing the Student Based Budgeting (SBB) rate by 2.5 percent to support academic programming and higher teacher salaries. In addition to the SBB rate, CPS is increasing funding for low-income students by 6 percent and creating a special fund to support schools that are experiencing sharp enrollment drops. Together, these investments will provide high quality instructional supports and resources to district schools.

Investments in Academic Excellence
With hundreds of millions of dollars in additional resources created through state education funding reform, CPS has stabilized its finances and is making significant investments in proven academic resources that will accelerate Chicago students’ nationally-recognized progress and create new opportunities for students in every neighborhood.

New investments in neighborhood schools will provide more than 5,000 additional students with new opportunities to learn in high-quality academic settings, including IB, STEM, magnet and classical schools in West Englewood, Pilsen, Bronzeville, Gage Park, South Lawndale, West Woodlawn and other communities throughout the city. Specifically:

  • More than1,800 additional students will have access to proven International Baccalaureate programs, on top of the more than 16,000 students who already receive an IB education in the nation’s largest IB network;
  • Nearly 2,100 additional students will be able to engage with the advanced coursework and professional exposure provided through new Early College STEM programs, building on the five current Early College STEM schools that serve over 3,800 students;
  • Through the conversion of three schools into STEM magnet schools, nearly 1,000 additional students will have access to STEM magnet programming, building on the over 6,600 students who currently benefit from these programs; and
  • To meet demand for rigorous classical elementary schools, CPS is creating two new classical schools, which will serve more than 350 students next year in entry-grades and grow to serve more than 1,100 students. With the addition of these schools, CPS will be able to provide more than 2,600 students with access to a classical school in 2018-19.

In addition to those significant programming investments, CPS will be adding a team of 10 new postsecondary counselors to support an additional 7,000 students in high needs schools as they create postsecondary plans through Learn.Plan.Succeed., the district’s groundbreaking initiative to ensure that all high school graduates have a plan to be successful in the next phase of their life. The new post-secondary counselors will build on the work being done by the new Postsecondary Navigators, who are City Colleges employees who are supporting 1,000 students as they create thoughtful postsecondary plans.

Support for At-Risk Students
In addition to investing in high quality academics throughout Chicago, school budgets for the 2018-19 school year include funds to support at-risk students and ensure every child in every school has the resources they need to be successful.

For the first time, CPS has created a Small Schools Fund for schools with low enrollment, some of which have experienced a sharp enrollment decline in recent years. The district is setting aside $10 million for 129 schools to ensure those students receive a rich academic experience and the schools can continue to retain and attract their students. In some cases, this will allow schools to continue specialized academic programming by retaining teaching staff; in other cases, it will allow schools to continue valuable after-school programs.

“Every child deserves to attend a school that has the resources, programming and supports needed to ensure students reach their full potential,” said CPS Chief Education Officer LaTanya McDade. “By allocating an additional $10 million to support schools that have struggled with enrollment decline, we will help ensure that schools in every neighborhood can offer students a robust education that prepares them for success long after high school graduation.”

In addition to the Small Schools Fund, CPS will provide $14 million in additional funding for low income students by raising the rate for Supplemental Aid (formerly Supplemental General State Aid) from $857 per student to $910 per student, a 6 percent increase. Research has shown that students from low income households generally require additional resources to be successful, and the increase in funding for these students will help ensure all students have the support they need to reach their potential.

Finally, CPS is providing $5 million in supplemental funding to protect schools that would otherwise lose more than 3 percent of SBB funding this year — even if they saw a significant enrollment drop between the fall of 2016 and the fall of 2017. This protection will help ensure that significant enrollment declines do not result in dramatic funding changes at any school.

Support for Planning and Stability
On top of the $60 million in additional funding, CPS made two key changes to the budgeting process for district-run schools — first announced last month — to make it more reliable and transparent.

First, budgets for the new school year are based on each school’s 20th day enrollment during the 2017-18 school year. This means that funding will not be cut in the fall and principals will be able to plan and hire with confidence about the resources that will be available throughout next school year. While CPS will not reduce funding if enrollment drops in the fall, schools will receive additional funding if their enrollment on the 20th day of the new school year exceeds their enrollment on the 20th day of the prior school year.

Second, to build on recent special education investments including the addition this winter of 65 new positions to provide special education-aligned supports to schools, CPS has returned to the practice of providing schools with position allocations for special education. In recent years, CPS provided principals with a funding allocation to hire special education staff. This year, in response to requests from principals, CPS is returning to the practice of providing schools with position allocations for all of their special education programs. Providing position allocations ensures principals and their school communities have far greater clarity on the number of positions needed to serve all diverse learners.

Charter Funding Reform
In addition to providing the district with new revenue, education funding reform also revised the requirements for funding charter schools. Prior to the new funding law, school districts in Illinois were required to fund charter schools between 75 and 125 percent of each district’s per capita tuition charge (PCTC), which takes the district’s spending from two years prior and calculates a per-student cost. As part of funding reform, districts are now required to set the charter funding rate between 97 and 103 percent of PCTC.

The new range of permitted funding rates greatly limits the ability of school districts to ensure schools are funded equitably based on the number of students that attend a school and the specific needs of those students. CPS continues to believe that a form of SBB is the most effective way to maintain funding parity between schools, and the district and the Illinois Network of Charter Schools have agreed to advocate for a legislative fix to address the various issues with PCTC.

If CPS were to fund charter schools based on the current PCTC-based system, charters would see a $38 million local funding reduction compared to last year, because funding would be based on CPS spending in 2017, when the district was in the midst of a financial crisis. Instead of cutting charter funding in the upcoming school year, CPS will fund charters based on last year’s net PCTC rate plus an additional 2.5 percent — the same SBB funding increase district-run schools are receiving — and work with charter school partners and advocates on legislative reform.

FY19 Budget
The school budgets released today represent the first part of the FY19 budget process. In the coming months, CPS will release its full operating budget outlining all of its funding priorities for the coming school year, including additional funding that schools receive for facilities-related work. CPS is committed to investing in high quality academic supports that foster student growth while also operating with a balanced budget that promotes long-term financial stability for the district.

CPS will release a detailed spreadsheet of school-level funding after all principals have received their budgets, typically at the end of the business day. Spreadsheets will be provided upon request.

Chicago Public Schools serves 371,000 students in 646 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.

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