The historic closing of 49 elementary schools in Chicago left many parents bitter and feeling left out as they try to get involved in new schools. Yet parent engagement is essential for school improvement, and principals are faced with the challenge of building trust at schools that scored poorly on surveys of parent involvement.
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Community schools will keep funding
A week after agencies that run community schools were told that they would not get CPS funding for the upcoming school year, the district says that the groups will get their money after all.
CPS spokeswoman Robyn Ziegler said the $2.5 million will be in the budget for the coming year. She did not say why the district sent out the previous notice that money would be cut.
Within the next month or so, CPS will release a proposed budget and will vote on it at the August Board of Education meeting. Officials have said the district faces a budget deficit in the range of $600 million and it is unclear how CPS will fill those holes.
School-level budgets, the biggest chuck of the district’s $5 billion budget, have already been distributed to principals, who have submitted information to the district about how they plan to spend the money. While schools received fewer dollars in some areas, the district shifted more money into a discretionary pot and gave principals more control over their expenditures.
However, schools were not told that funding for community schools was in question and principals were not able to plan to use their discretionary money to keep programs up and running. Community schools use resource coordinators to bring in services, such as dental clinics, and activities, such as after-school dance programs. They also often offer ESL and GED classes to adults.
Logan Square Neighborhood Association Executive Director Joanna Brown sounded the alarm when she was informed that the organization would not get the $275,000 that it had used to run programs at three of their five community schools. Organizations piece together local, state, federal and private funding to run community schools.