More Budget Freedom, But Not More Money

Lots of weekend discussion about the Donoso departure (see below).  Today’s news includes updates on school budgets, a proposed unification of school schedules (good luck with that), and some tidbits about Donoso’s severance, etc.


CPS to cut positions to free up cash for principals WBEZ: Chicago Public Schools leaders plan to give school principals more spending money next year, but it may come at a cost.The idea is to allow principals to spend more of their budget as they see fit. But the financial freedom may not mean a bigger budget overall at CPS.

Principals get budgets, but uncertainty remains Catalyst:  Chief Instruction Officer Jennifer Cheatham only gave three examples of programs that were eliminated: coordinators for Culture of Calm, the initiative by former CEO Ron Huberman to curb violence in schools; some International Baccalaureate and magnet cluster program coordinators; as well as extra money given to schools that were once part of a special program to give higher-performing schools more autonomy.

CPS must spend $16M on tutoring — or it loses the funds Tribune: Cash-strapped Chicago Public Schools is racing to spend about $16 million in federal tutoring grants by the end of the summer to avoid losing the money in a program plagued by dwindling participation and financial missteps.


Chief Education Officer announces resignation Catalyst:  Though she is resigning, CPS Spokeswoman Becky Carroll told the Chicago Tribune that a severance package is being worked out, which indicates that Donoso was forced out. Exactly what went wrong is unclear, but principals said they liked the fact that Donoso got out to schools, yet her approach was upfront and disarming.

CPS Chief Education Officer Noemi Donoso Resigns: Brizard: “You know, people make decisions all of the time. When I worked in New York City, large urban school district, very aggressive reform efforts,” Brizard said. “In this kind of environment you see people come and people go, sometimes a year, sometimes two years, but its part of the work, the teams’ work has to continue.”


CPS announces ‘coordinated’ opening and closing bells for schools Sun Times: All Chicago public schools will not only have a longer school day next year, they will have a more “coordinated” one, with all schools opening and closing within a one-hour assigned window. Officials touted the lockstep bell schedule as a “safety’’ improvement that also would allow for more efficient bus routes, but one critic denounced it as “dictatorial.”

CPS Announces ‘Coordinated’ School Bells Fox: All Chicago public schools will not only have a longer school day next year, they will have a more “coordinated” one, with all schools opening and closing within a one-hour assigned window.

CPS makes school start times more uniform Tribune:  The bell will ring around the same time for all Chicago Public Schools students across the district beginning with the 2012-13 school year. CPS officials announced the district will implement a coordinated bell system to “assure a smooth transition as it…


Fund preschool now to avoid crime later: officials Sun Times: For preschools. Cook County’s sheriff, DuPage County’s state’s attorney and three police chiefs say that if Illinois doesn’t beef up spending for preschools, the state will need far more money to fight and prosecute crime for years to come.

Many Illinois high school students get special testing accommodations for ACT Tribune: An unusually large number of Illinois public high school students — at least 1 out of 10 juniors — received extra time or other help to boost their scores on the ACT, including high achievers at some of the state’s elite schools.



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  • The first couple of stories have the same theme as most other things in Illinois (i.e. transit, pensions, prison jobs...):

    If there were funding, i.e. infinite money, all problems would be solved.

    However, anyone who has taken high school economics knows that there are limited resources.

    Also, as had to be pointed out in the transit debate, funding equals taxes, since they weren't talking fares. Same thing for the public schools, in that none of them charge a voluntary tuition.

    I don't think even Quinn or Lou Lang think that cigarette taxes and unlimited gambling are going to provide enough funding.

    And even if there were infinite money, I don't think all problems would be solved. Ask Todd Stroger.

    So, the only issue is who is going to prioritize was resources are available, and apparently here it is the principals.I suppose one could argue who should be the prioritizer, but not that someone has to do it.

    Let me know if any of the teachers' college graduates can refute this.

  • Oh, goody. It's Teach for America time as students graduate from college and want to start teaching poor children:

  • In reply to district299reader:

    This publication is actually from Columbia College Chicago, not Columbia University in NYC. Columbia College is an open admissions institution meaning there are no admissions standards whatsoever other than a high school diploma. I unfortunately graduated from Columbia and I learned absolutely nothing. I thought TFA grads were "the best and brightest" content area wizards from the most selective colleges.

  • In reply to Anon:

    Four years in college and learning nothing? Wow.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Their curriculum may have changed but back then it was a high school level curriculum. It was positioned as more of a trade school for the arts. I saw it as an easy BA back then.

  • man-up and tell the truth CPS--there are schools that had 300 students ready and waiting for SES and you only allowed schools 150 students to get SES services. Then, you made schools start SES late- weeks late, when the schools were ready to go!
    Give the money back to the schools and let them manage it, like we used to successfully.!
    CPS-central office cannot do it and you have showed this.

  • "I hope the district makes a reasonable proposal so this doesn't come down during the [fall] political campaign."

  • Have the budgets for elementary schools been released? Are schools getting positions for LSD?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    They're out. It's all re-branding. Take $ for textbooks and call it a College Readiness Fund. Sure. It's new. It has a new name.

    There is no extra money. The millions of extra $ are a myth. It's all a scheme to confuse and distract. Principals are now empowered to trim their staff. That's about it.

  • In reply to BillyTurtle:

    And trim they will since trim they must. There will be blood and tears in the lake come June.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    No positions.
    Teachers are to volunteer for recess for LSD.

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