CPS budget to cut staff from 150 schools, add staff to low-enrollment schools: Chalkbeat analysis

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Wednesday, May 29, 2024
CPS budget to add staff to low-enrollment schools, analysis shows
A CPS budget breakdown was released Tuesday, and a Chalkbeat analysis shows staff cuts at 150 schools and staff additions at low-enrollment schools.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The new budget for Chicago Public Schools will result in staff being cut from 150 schools, according to a new Chalkbeat analysis.

However, under the district's new equity formula, other schools will gain positions, which includes schools with some of the lowest enrollment numbers.

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With graduations come new beginnings. For Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez, it means rolling out a new formula to fund schools.

No longer will school budgets be based on enrollment. It is now based on equity and need, no matter how small the school is.

"Douglass will be adding nine positions to a staff currently of 23, so we do know just about 35 students, so whether or not additional staff helps attract more students as well," ChalkBeat Chicago Bureau Chief Becky Vevea said.

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For years, Douglass High School in Austin has barely hung on with dwindling enrollment and staff. The new funding formula gives the school of just 35 students the largest increase.

"Every school for the first time now has a foundational set of resources including three elective teachers, arts, PE and a third teacher that the principal can choose," Martinez said.

However, with a close to $400 million deficit looming, leveling the playing field for under-enrolled and under-funded schools means sacrifices at others. Chalkbeat Chicago analyzed the school-by-school budget breakdown released by CPS on Tuesday.

"A lot of schools are indeed getting additional positions, but about 150 schools are seeing a reduction in the position count in their budget," Vevea said.

For magnet schools like LaSalle Language Academy I and II, Local School Councils for both schools said the cuts have decimated the purpose of their programs, which is offering four languages.

"We have eight language teaches supporting four different languages, and what the budget proposes is support for one teacher for one of the languages," LaSalle Language Academy LSC parent chair Uriah Muhammad said.

CPS said it cannot confirm the number of cuts analyzed by ChalkBeat. It also points out no school will be losing core positions, like math or science. However, for parents at LaSalle, language is the core.

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"You change the face of the school, the school has had four languages for the past 50 years," Muhammad said.

While the shifting from student-based budgeting to need-based is a long time coming, some LSC members said the new formula has been rolled out too quickly and an impact analysis should be conducted first.

On the other hand, CPS said 98% of local school councils voted for their budgets.