June 5, 2013
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today distributed draft school-based budgets to principals for the 2013-14 School Year. These budgets are the first to incorporate a move to Student Based Budgeting, which represents a shift from an outdated school funding formula to a more flexible, per-pupil funding model that creates unprecedented autonomy for principals, giving them more control over the resources they can use to best meet the needs of their students.
Facing a $1 billion budget deficit in Fiscal Year 2014 (FY 14), caused in part by flat or declining revenues and a $400 million increase in annual pension payments, the District is continuing to identify reductions in central office, operations and administrative spending in order to keep cuts as far away from the classroom as possible. CPS has already cut central-office directed spending by nearly $600 million since 2011 and will continue to identify additional reductions over the next few weeks as CPS finalizes its District-wide budget this summer.
In order to limit the impact of the District’s fiscal crisis on our classrooms and students and protect investments that directly support student learning, such as full-day kindergarten, the full school day and year and STEM and IB programs, CPS will likely be forced to use its one-time reserves in order to close a significant portion of its $1 billion budget gap for FY 14. These reserves will consist of one-time revenues – which assumes the County and State will make their payments to CPS on time this current fiscal year. These reserves will not be replenished over the next fiscal year and therefore not available to help fill the projected $1 billion-plus deficit for FY 15. Without meaningful pension reform or other new revenue sources, this will leave CPS with no immediate options to close the FY 15 deficit. Further, if the assumptions regarding timing of county and state payments do not occur as planned, CPS will likely be forced to go back mid-year and make additional cuts in order to close its deficit.
“We have to make some difficult choices in order to close this $1 billion deficit and avoid devastating cuts at our schools, which is why we must use every available resource to protect investments that support our students and their learning,” said CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “And as a former principal, I know that Student Based Budgeting will give our school leaders unprecedented control over their budget, which will allow them to better influence outcomes at their schools and thus allow CPS to better hold them more accountable for results.”
Student-Based Budgeting represents a substantial shift in the way principals are allocated core instruction dollars. In previous years, principals received per-position, not per-pupil, allocations from the Central Office based on an outdated formula that dictated specific numbers and types of positions to fill within their schools. The formula often did not adequately tailor resources for the student body that principals and teachers were working with every day.
By moving to a Student-Based Budgeting funding model, CPS is ensuring that principals will no longer be limited in their ability to invest resources in a way they believe will best meet their students’ needs. The pool of newly flexible funding will represent about 50 percent of a school’s budget and include money for core staff, educational support personnel, supplies and additional instructional program. This new funding model will also create more equitable core funding across all schools in the District.
The remaining funding in a school’s budget is made up of various resources provided for educational supports outside of core instruction funding. Examples include supplemental general state aid and money for special education, magnet, International Baccalaureate, bilingual, STEM, English language learner and Title I programs as well as operations funding, including money for transportation, security and nutrition services. These funds will not be affected by the funding formula change.
CPS will hold meetings with principals today through Friday, June 7. These meetings will build on student-based budgeting training that principals received from March 11 to March 19. Over the next few weeks, principals will build out their own school budgets and staffing plans and then submit those proposed budgets to the central office budget team. Once approved, those budgets will be incorporated into CPS’ District-wide budget, which will be released mid-summer. The Board must vote to approve that budget by or during its August meeting.
Chicago Public Schools serves 403,000 students in 681 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.