Central office controls $30 million

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Not all Title I money allocated to the Chicago Public Schools is distributed to schools to use as they see fit. This school year, central office retained some $30 million, or about 20 percent of the total, for programs of its choice, according to Acting Budget Director Drew Gilchrist.

“It’s not being sucked off into central office,” he notes. “It’s being used for programs citywide.”

He cites child-parent centers and mandatory summer school programs as examples. Only 1.5 percent of Chicago’s total Title I goes for program administration, he says.

“They’re not misspending the money that they’re keeping, but it could be argued that more could be sent to local public schools,” says Karen Berman of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “My bet is there’s another $5 million to $10 million that could go out to schools.”

Five million dollars would yield $333,000 grants for another 15 schools.

Federal regulations set no limit on how much Title I money can be spent centrally.