October 18, 2011
Chicago Public Schools officials announced today the formation of School Support Centers designed to provide schools with the administrative and facilities services they need more quickly and efficiently. This is part of the new administration’s efforts to ensure the Central Office and district-wide administrative resources focus on providing effective support to principals and schools that will allow them to better focus time and resources on students and driving student achievement.
School Support Centers will absorb the functions of CPS Business Support Centers including facilities and financial services supports. They will also house new supports and provide all services under a more efficient, responsive model.
As part of the first phase of restructuring, new service delivery standards will be put into effect to ensure that schools receive a response within 24-hours of their first request for services. The School Support Center model was developed in part from the suggestions of principals that CPS received through surveys and focus groups conducted over the summer.
“Our goal is to provide better administrative support for our principals so that they have more time to focus on school-based issues and implementing strategies to drive student academic growth. As they spend less time on administration, they can spend more time building a strategic plan for their school that will benefit both teachers and students,” said CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. “We have made these changes with principal input and will continue to evolve this model to best support their needs.”
The second phase of the restructuring is scheduled to begin November 18th when two new support functions will be available through the School Support Centers: Talent and Safety & Security. An in-field talent generalist will provide support for human resources issues. Each principal will have a Safety and Security staff member assigned so that they have a direct line of contact and dedicated support for all safety-related issues.
In addition, changes will be made to upgrade Finance, Budget and Procurement support functions to better serve schools. For the first time, a single-stop phone number will allow principals and school staff to immediately connect with any of these services quickly and easily.
While these new centers represent a major investment by CPS is school support, these changes will be revenue neutral in the existing CPS budget.
CPS will continue to survey principals throughout the next phase of implementation and use the feedback to ensure that the services are provided in the most useful, timely manner that matches the needs of our school leaders.
Chicago Public Schools serves 405,000 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.