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CPS Principals Receive Budgets, Uncertainty About Funding Remains

CHICAGO (CBS) – Chicago Public School Principals officially learned Thursday what their schools’ budgets will be for the upcoming school year, but they may not be able to count on that money.

The principals base their staffing needs on how much money they are allotted, that’s based primarily on their school’s enrollment. But there is another factor at play – Governor Rauner is threatening to veto a measure that would provide city schools with about $200 million. The Governor said the current school funding formula is broken and sees the money as a CPS bailout.

The Chicago Public Schools have about 390,000 students and receive from the state about $4,000 per student.

After Thursday’s briefing, CPS said funding is remaining fairly constant, but the fiscal future still has some question marks.

Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool said per-student funding will increase a couple hundred dollars more per student over last year.

The bad news is personnel costs are going up, enrollments are declining, and federal funds for things like poverty are shrinking.

“We expect to see an overall district-wide enrollment decline of about 8,000 students,” Claypool said. “And under the Trump Administration we also expect to see declines in federal funding for title funds.”

And there is uncertainty.

“This budget is based on Senate Bill 1, which is the only piece of legislation that has passed both houses in the General Assembly and is really the only thing we have to rely on.”

But the Governor has vowed to veto that bill. Claypool said CPS will do whatever is necessary to keep the school doors open and to provide needed resources.

CPS said it is adding money for special education teachers and staff, but Emma Tai director of the community and labor alliance called United Working Families said she is skeptical.

“Last month, Rahm Emanuel’s handpicked school board laid off dozens of early education teachers, the primarily black and Latina female workforce by the way, and then called it investing in pre-K,” she said.

Tai said don’t let the language distract from the inadequate school budgets.

Principals were be briefed Thursday on their spending limits at Westinghouse College Prep High School on the West Side.

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