New Student-Based Budgeting Will Expand Control Over School Funds

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - EducationChicago Public Schools (CPS) announced Monday 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.

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.

In previous years, principals received per-position, not per-pupil, allocations from the Central Office based on an outdated formula that dictated specific numbers and types of positions to fill within their schools.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.
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.

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 will take place until March 19. Over the next several months, principals will continue to receive training on implementing student-based budgeting.

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