For the Record: Budget cuts

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As Catalyst recently reported, another round of budget cuts is underway in central and area offices. CPS won’t confirm the numbers, but they are said to be 20 percent in central office and 37 percent in area offices. While the percentages are large, the raw numbers don’t add up to much savings for the budget—roughly $30 million—so any talk of cutting administrators to balance the budget will be more rhetoric than reality.

As part of Catalyst Chicago’s mission to serve as a journalistic watchdog for public education, today we’re launching a new feature called For the Record. Periodically, we’ll be posting items that will provide readers with critical data, key research and important background on Chicago schools to help them put the day-to-day news in context and understand the potential impact of policy decisions. Another goal: Keeping everyone honest, whether it’s the new administration, politicians, unions, grassroots activists or other education stakeholders.  Got an idea you think Catalyst should check out? Let us know by sending an email to editorial@catalyst-chicago.org. —Lorraine Forte, Editor in Chief

As Catalyst recently reported, another round of budget cuts is underway in central and area offices. CPS won’t confirm the numbers, but they are said to be 20 percent in central office and 37 percent in area offices. While the percentages are large, the raw numbers don’t add up to much savings for the budget—roughly $30 million—so any talk of cutting administrators to balance the budget will be more rhetoric than reality.

Meanwhile, the projected 2011-12 revenue shortfall is $700 million, as reported in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s transition plan. That number assumes stable funding from the state, which is unlikely, given that the Illinois House is forecasting a 4 percent cut in general state aid.

Central office personnel budget: $96 million, following layoffs for this year of 379, a 20 percent reduction in staff.

Area office personnel budget: $30 million, an increase from the previous year of about $12 million, which paid for about 60 positions. 

School observers speculate that these cuts are being made now so that CEO Jean Claude Brizard and the new School Board can come to the negotiating table with the Chicago Teachers Union and say they’ve cut as much as they can elsewhere, setting the stage for raising class sizes or making other cuts.