CEO Byrd-Bennett Announces Increased Principal Autonomy Over School Funding 

New Student-Based Budgeting Will Expand Control Over How Funds Are Spent in Their Schools to Ensure Students Excel in Their Classrooms


March 11, 2013


Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced today it will transition to a new student-based funding model next fiscal year, which will give principals greater flexibility to spend dollars on designing a school day that will best meet the needs of their students.


“As a former principal and teacher, I know that great schools are led by strong leaders. They set high standards and they know how to best support their students. They should have the autonomy to decide how to direct their resources toward the most important people in any school – their students,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “Student-based budgeting will give principals greater flexibility they and their staff need to help their students thrive and succeed.”


The shift to student-based budgeting is part of CPS’s ongoing effort to increase principal accountability. Last month, CEO Byrd-Bennett unveiled a comprehensive, multi-tiered Principal Quality Strategy to recruit, retain, and reward quality principals with the goal of ensuring that every school in the District has strong, effective, and accountable leadership by the start of the 2014-2015 school year.


“Every child in every neighborhood deserves to have a high-quality education and our principals play a vital role in ensuring their academic success,” said Mayor Emanuel. “We hold our principals accountable for the gains or losses our students are making within their schools and they should have the flexibility they need to make the decisions that are best for their schools and their students.”


In previous years, principals received per-position, not per-pupil, allocations from the Central Office based on an outdated formula that dictated specific numbers and types of positions to fill within their schools.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 the 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. Beginning in Fiscal Year 2014, CPS will switch to a new funding model that will deliver core instruction dollars on a per-pupil basis. 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 programs. Principals and communities will work together to use these dollars in ways to increase academic achievement and improve student outcomes.


The remaining 50 percent of a school’s budget is made up of non-core instruction funding, which may include supplemental general state aid and money for special education, magnet, International Baccalaureate, bilingual, STEM, English language learner and Title I programs. These funds will not be affected by the funding formula change.


In addition to giving principals greater autonomy and authority in deciding how to allocate resources, student-based budgeting will create greater consistency in funding across the district, replacing several different formulas across different school types with one simple formula.


Student-based budgeting builds on last year’s College Ready Fund, which provided principals with $100 million in flexible funds to improve student performance as part of the Full School Day.


Today’s student-based budgeting announcement coincides with principal trainings, which begin tomorrow and will take place until March 19. Over the next several months, principals will continue to receive training on implementing student-based budgeting.


About CPS

Chicago Public Schools serves 403,000 students in 681 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.


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Page Last Modified on Monday, March 11, 2013