CPS parents, you have now entered The Twilight Zone

CPS parents, you have now entered The Twilight Zone
Cue the creepy music of mental confusion. Cue the Rod Serling voiceover.

It's a bright and sunny morning in the great vast City.  The contented citizens greet the new day with coffee and their newpapers. In the morning's news the citizens read that all is well with their city, and all is well with their schools. As the busy citizens go about their work of the day, they are mindful of the admonishment from the authorities that they need to do better with their families and their children, and are happy the authorities are lavishing money and good things upon their children.  Happy and contented.

Rod Serling

But there's just one thing wrong with this scenario. These workers, these families, these parents, are about to enter [dramatic pause] the Twilight Zone.

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For the first time, CPS is allotting funds to the schools on a per-student basis. In previous years, schools received per-position, not per-student, funding from the district's Central Office.

CPS says the old way was "an outdated formula that dictated specific numbers and types of positions to fill within schools" and that the new process gives principals more flexibility.

Schools will receive $4,429 for every student from kindergarten through third grade, $4,140 for students in fourth through eighth grade, and $5,029 for each high school student. --DNAinfo.com, June 13, 2013

Under the new funding method, schools are reporting budget cuts as follows.

Pritzker lost $186,000
Jamieson lost $200,000
Kozminski lost $250,000
Sutherland lost $253,000
Goethe lost $275,000
Burr lost $365,000
Sauganash lost $375,000
Ray lost $400,000
Audubon lost $400,000
Belding lost $400,000
Grimes-Fleming lost $486,000 and 3 or 4 positions

CPS said that in addition to "giving principals greater autonomy and authority in deciding how to allocate resources," the student-based budgeting "will create greater consistency in funding across the district." --DNAinfo.com, June 13, 2013

Principal autonomy to deal with cuts:


Gale lost $500,000
Sheridan Magnet lost $516,000
Beasley lost $550,000
Burley lost $569,000

Blaine lost $665,000
Alcott lost $700,000
Murphy lost $700,000
Darwin lost $723,000
Suder lost $750,000
Bell lost $750,000
Mitchell lost $788,000
Portage Park lost $900,000

"CPS has cut more than $600 million from the central office, so we can preserve every precious dollar in the classroom for our children." --Barbara Byrd Bennett, Chicago Tribune, June 13, 2013

Every precious dollar in the classroom, except when they're not:

North Side College Prep lost $700,000 and 11 positions
Amundsen High lost $780,000
Gage Park High lost $1M

Roosevelt High lost $1.1M
Whitney Young Magnet High lost $1.1M
Lincoln Park High lost $1.06M
Mather High lost $1.2M
Kelvyn Park High School lost $1.6M
Foreman High lost $1.7M
Lake View High lost $1M+

[Barbara Byrd Bennett] again said the new funding formula will give principals “unprecedented control over their budget.” --WBEZ, June 14, 2013

Control over unfunded mandates, firing decisions, and programming cuts:

Kennedy High lost roughly $2.2M
Taft High, with its new "wall to wall IB program," lost $3M
Curie High lost $3M
Lane Tech High lost roughly $3.3M
Kelly High lost $4M, 23 teacher positions

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Our teachers, principals and administrators will be valued and developed, will hold themselves accountable and will be rewarded for success. We must ensure we are the place where the best talent comes to work. --The new CPS Five Point Plan

850 CPS teachers and staff members were let go last Friday. --Huffington Post, June 14, 2013

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Parents must be empowered as leaders who can advocate for their children and for all the community's children. --CPS Five Point Plan

"I have no more words. We fought and fought and fought to keep this going, something so good for these kids, and it was snatched from under them." --Lafayette parent Rousemary Vega, on the shutting down of the school and its orchestra, DNAinfo.com, June 15, 2013

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Chicago schools buck trend; up per-pupil spending. Public-education spending nationwide was down by 0.4 percent in 2011, the first decline since the Census Bureau started keeping track in 1977. But Chicago spent 2.9 percent more per pupil than in 2010, the largest increase among the biggest school systems even though Chicago is second only to New York in spending per pupil. --Crain's Chicago Business, June 10, 2013

That's right, happy citizens. What you're seeing is an increase in spending, an increase in per pupil funding, and the only school district in the United States to increase its spending at such rates.

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What a boon to live in Chicago, and what a wonderful privilege to have CPS so generously manage our children's educational resources. It's all so wonderful.

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