State Chapter 1 timeline

Print More

1973 The State Chapter 1 program is born as the Illinois Legislature adjusts the school funding formula to provide extra money to school districts throughout the state to help them serve their low-income children.

1976 The Chicago Urban League sues the Chicago Board of Education, contending it is not targeting its state Chapter 1 money at low-income children but, rather, using it for general operations.

1978 The Legislature specifies that 60 percent of Chapter 1 funds must be spent on services for low-income students while 40 percent may be spent on general operations, in effect settling the Urban League lawsuit.

1988 A study by the Chicago Panel on Public School Policy and Finance accuses the Chicago Board of spending only 43 percent on services for low-income children during the 1987-88 school year. The study said it shortchanged these children by using Chapter 1 to pay for certain citywide services at low-income schools while using general funds to pay for the same services at wealthier schools.

1988 The Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund sues the Chicago Board of Education alleging it has misspent as much as $2 billion since 1978; the Illinois Board of Education is also named as a defendant for allegedly failing to provide required oversight.

1988 In adopting the Chicago School Reform Act, the Legislature rewrites state Chapter 1 law as it pertains to Chicago. Over a five-year period, all but 5 percent is to be shifted out of the central office budget into individual school budgets, based on the number of low-income children each school enrolls. (The 5 percent is reserved for desegregation programs.) As with federal Title I, schools must spend the money on supplemental programs, and the board must not shift the costs of regular programs to the special funds.

Early 1990s To provide employee raises and balance its budget, the School Board cuts funding for assistant principals, school supplies and other services, in effect forcing schools that want to keep these resources to use state Chapter 1 money.

1993, 1994 To help the School Board balance its budget, the Legislature allows it to keep $16 million in state Chapter 1 money that was due to be distributed to schools.

1995 The Legislature puts Mayor Richard M. Daley in charge of the schools and eases many financial constraints on the School Board. For one, the board is allowed to keep any state Chapter 1 money over $261 million, the amount distributed to schools in each of the two previous years. The board, indeed, distributes only $261 million to schools each year and keeps the rest.

1997 The Legislature scraps the Chapter 1 program and replaces it with poverty grants that provide substantially less money. However, it also increases general state aid and requires Chicago to continue distributing $261 million to schools, based on their low- income enrollment.