Enrollment Glitch Clouds Budget Scenario

Budget hearings start today and folks are hard at work figuring out whether the proposed budget makes any sense or if it can be changed. In the meantime, some sort of dispute or misunderstanding has arisen between CPS and CTU over enrollment projections.  Apparently CTU is saying that enrollment projections for more than 100 schools are doubled at CPS, and therefore the budget deficit is greatly inflated. CPS is saying that there was "a technical glitch that led to the enrollment and faculty numbers being doubled at each school in the school segment report." They're working to fix the problem and get the correct information uploaded. "It does not have any impact on the budget or change our deficit projections." Chicago Magazine has a good overview, noting that revenue has declined pretty precipitously while expenditures steadily go up, and how closely tied to federal spending the states and districts are (Budget at a Glance). The meetings are 8/10 at Lane Tech, 7 PM (2501 W. Addison Street), 8/11 at Westinghouse, 7 PM (3223 W Franklin Blvd), and 8/12 at Simeon, 7 PM (8147 S Vincennes).



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  • I teach at one of those schools where the enrollment has been doubled. The number of staff and resulting expenses have also been doubled. How does that not impact the budget? C'mon CPS. You can do better than that.

  • CPS botches enrollment predictions all the time. This is nothing new. Every year at my school for at least the last 12 years CPS predicts a significant drop in enrollment. Every year for at least the last 12 years our enrollment matches the previous year or is slightly higher. That leaves our principal scrambling to find teachers at the end of September/early October. What a great way to run a school system. CPS is the anti-Midas - everything they touch turns to worthless tin.

  • Here are some of the mistakes that I found according to the School Segment Reports of the FY12 Proposed Budget: Lane Tech HS, current enrollment 8,328, projected enrollment 8,512, the real enrollment is 4126; Phillips HS, current enrollment 1,378, projected enrollment 1,420, the real enrollment is 746; King HS, current enrollment 1,872, projected enrollment 1,838, the real enrollment is 926; Dunbar HS, current enrollment 3014, projected enrollment 3,020, the real enrollment is 1,612; Dyett HS, current enrollment 862, projected enrollment 780, the real enrollment is 530; etc, etc, etc!

  • RP, how can CPS claim that essentially doubling the expenses at over 100 schools has no impact on the budget?

    Is it possible this is an intentional "error" or is it rank incompetence? CPS has called it a "technical glitch". That's absurd.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Dear Anonymous, good question!

  • Dunbar had 1,400 students last summer, but when the Fall session started, the enrollment swelled to 1600, now the CPS "Southside Network for High Schools" has shared that the enrollment of 3,014 students is probably a projection. I sincerely hope this is a mistake because this school is already making our community look like a correctional center atmosphere when the students leave at the end of the day. There are police on practically every corner of 35th because they anticipate problems and have trouble making them get on buses and trains to leave the community.

  • Add Bogan to the list: enrollment 1,700 Budget shows 3,470

  • from CTU:

    "CHICAGO - As hearings commence on the Board of Education’s flawed budget, members of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) are poised to demand better for Chicago’s students. The FY2012 budget released by CPS is marred by errors, accounting problems and misplaced priorities. It relies on higher taxes from Chicago homeowners but does nothing to close the deepening structural inequity plaguing the public school system.
    CTU President Karen Lewis and union members will voice their concerns at tonight’s budget hearing at Lane Tech High School, 2501 W. Addison St. at 7:00 p.m. The Board scheduled public hearings less than one week after releasing a complex, 2,000-plus page budget online leaving parents, educators and community stakeholders little time to fully review the spending plan.
    “Our students deserve better than this budget offers,” Lewis said. “Chicago’s teachers put in 50- and 60-hour weeks to ensure our children have everything they need to get ahead – and CPS’ budget should reflect that same commitment. Unfortunately, it falls far short of what students and teachers need. We need a budget that is accurate, strategic, and forward-looking. This is a Band-Aid solution at best.”

    With the school year already beginning for scores of Chicago students, teachers and parents are united in speaking out for a more sensible plan. This action comes on the heels of the Board’s denial of a contractually promised 4 percent pay increase for teachers and the dismissal of 1,000 teachers.

    “This is part of an alarming trend across the nation: as school systems work to recover from the economic crisis, it is educators who are asked to sacrifice – and educators only. Nothing is going to come between us and our mission to make students’ lives better, but we’re going to demand that everyone share in the responsibility of this critical work,” Lewis said.

  • it all came out at last night's CTU budget briefing, according to catalyst -- and is being used to argue that CPS doesn't know what it's doing and that the budget deficit isn't as bad as CPS is making it sound


  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Alexander, this is true! CPS doesn't know what it is doing!

  • CPS has had too many changes too close to the production date of the FY12 budget. Both Diana Ferguson the CFO and CPS budget director Christina Herzog are gone. Then in the space of about one month there were a number of decisions made that required input into the budget very rapidly. There are more problems with the budget than just the school based numbers and I hope to talk about them tonight at the hearing. It is not surprising that there are problems with this budget given the short time frame for the hand off to the new team at CPS.

    Rod Estvan

  • Yes, Rod, all you say is true but this situation is a fustercluck of epic proportions and erodes any nacent credibility Brizzard has earned over the past two months. And now they're asking for a $150M tax hike?

    I will enjoy watching you "tear them a new one" tonight in your gentlemanly fashion. Show no mercy.

  • Forensic Audit! Without it, the CPS budget is a put on.

  • This is not the first year that there have been discrepancies between the enrollments in the school snapshots and the school segment reports that required correction. CPS should make the correction. But is this really a meaningful error in monetary terms? That’s what we need the “watchdog” to help us determine.

    You wrote: “School budgets in the segment reports also seem to be inflated, and both the enrollment figure and the budgeted amount are different than what is in the official proposed budget book. The official budget book seems more in line with what each school's actual budget might be.”

    Why not share (“For the Record”) one reason these budgets are “inflated”? The school segment budgets are “inflated” as *they have always been* because CPS includes virtual dollars in these reports in an attempt to put a dollar amount on the resources/support schools receive from central, area, and citywide offices.

    “The report reflects resources allocated directly in the schools’ budgets and also projects the resources budgeted at the central office and citywide level that are used to support the programs, activities and personnel of the individual schools.”

    “The line labeled Allocation of CW Programs includes the projected cost of the instructional programs budgeted at the citywide level that will be used to support the related instructional programs at the school.” Etc...See School Segment Reports pages 1-3.

    Presumably, you should be able to subtract the “CW” and “AO” lines and obtain the true school level budget. This will put you closer, in dollar amounts, to the snapshot counterpart but CPS should explain any difference or correct it.

    Really, the School Segment Report should be eliminated - at least in its current form. The public has no meaningful way to check that citywide resources are actually being provided to particular schools at the levels reported.

    A better discussion would be about whether the proposed budget provides the type of individual school budget information parents or the public find useful. It’s not easy to check for equity or adequacy on more than a small scale. Showing how much money is allocated to instruction or facilities is limited in meaningful information. Why not show program funding, ie, which schools have art, music, physics, library staff, or etc?

    CPS should be asked why it omitted the Annual Department Planning Summaries, key objectives, performance indicators and outcomes from the Proposed Budget Book.

    Judy King

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    I'm guessing that CPS eliminated the key objectives, performance indicators, and outcomes from the budget book because they were an enormous waste of everyone's time. Although in theory it would be useful to have these kinds of metrics, the implementation of this was an incredible waste of time. The metrics were meaningless because PM and the budget folks assigned to help offices didn't know what they were doing - they insisted on outcome metrics that were unrelated to what offices were doing, metrics which were just plain stupid, or which required a whole new infrastructure to support measurement (with no support, and right in the middle of all the layoffs when CO was already struggling). Interestingly, the federal gov't does a nice job of performance metrics for every office and posts them all on the web - of course they also adhere to professional standards around performance measurement that are articulated by OMB, the GAO, and the American Evaluation Association. I'm pretty sure that no on in CPS has ever seen any of those standards.

    Oh - they probably also excluded them because pretty much no one measured their metrics anyway. The stupidity of the metrics and lack of support meant everyone forgot about the metrics until budget season rolled around and Budget said "we need your metrics for the book".

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