FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
For more information, contact:
CPS Office of Communications
CPS announced today at the monthly Board meeting that the district will be conducting a month-long process to review schools’ diverse learner funding for students with Individualized Education Program (IEPs). IEPs are written plan for every child with a disability that are developed, reviewed, and revised in a meeting in accordance with Individuals with Disabilities Education Act regulations.
“Delivering services to Chicago diverse learners is a critical part of CPS’ mission to ensure all of our students have the tools and resources they need to be successful in school,” said CPS CEO Forrest Claypool. “We will work with principals at all our schools to make sure that all issues have been resolved and that every principal has an opportunity to go through the appeals process if they wish.”
CPS initially provided schools with budgets in mid-July, using enrollment projections to calculate funding. After those preliminary school budgets were released in July, CPS worked with principals who had concerns about Diverse Learner funding and conducted an extensive review process, including one-on-one meetings and consultations to provide scheduling guidance. As a result of that review, CPS allocated an additional 21 special education teachers and 61 paraprofessionals to schools to meet student needs.
At the next phase of the school budget process, CPS provided schools with their final budgets on Friday, Sept. 25, in order to comply with state-mandated timelines for staffing changes. The Sept. 25 budgets used actual enrollment as a basis for funding and included adjustments in Diverse Learner funding that were based on diverse learner enrollment and required minutes in each child’s IEP. Because of budget constraints, for the first time this year, CPS can no longer hold schools harmless when enrollment falls below projections.
Just as CPS did after the preliminary budgets were released, CPS will review the staffing allocations for Diverse Learners in an appeals process that ends Nov. 2. While that review is happening, there will be no changes to diverse learner staffing.
At today’s board meeting, CPS leadership also invited any parent, principal, or community member with concerns about whether students’ IEPs are being met to contact the District at 773-553-1800 with specific information about their concerns.
To appeal these decisions, principals will work through a process called the Supplemental Services Review. They have until Nov. 2 to submit appeals for Diverse Learner allocations. CPS will work closely with principals as they work through the appeal process.
The process for Diverse Learning funding is new this year, due to budgetary constraints that dictate that the district can no longer afford to hold schools harmless when diverse learner enrollment falls below projections as is the case this year with the general education population.