Some more equal than others

From the perspective of student-based budgeting, schools with the fewest poor students and schools with selective enrollments have padded budgets. Large and overcrowded schools, are likely to be shortchanged.

CPS eyes budget equity

Chicago Public Schools has only begun to push for per-pupil budgeting, a system that could more equitably distribute funds to schools and give principals more control over how those funds are spent, and some already are pushing back.

Tracking elusive school-level spending

CPS Budget Director Pedro Martinez admits the current system makes it impossible to track all of its school-level spending. “We don’t have a cost accounting system,” he says. “

Q&A with Shari Demitrowicz

How do you teach troubled young people to manage their behavior?

Let’s say there are two students in a fight. In a traditional school, they would probably be suspended. We use what we call life-space interviewing, or LSI. Our students know that skill by that name. They would say, “Ms. D., I need to LSI with so-and-so because we’re having a conflict.”


A collection of facts, figures, and news briefs about school reform—both in Chicago and around the country.

Seattle, Oakland ensure funding follows students

In 1997, Seattle became the first urban district in the country to do away with its staffing formula, which assigned teachers and other personnel to schools based on enrollment. Instead, Seattle adopted a new budgeting system that attaches a dollar amount to each student based on his or her needs.

Equity analysis methodology

To analyze the equity of funding among Chicago’s public schools, Catalyst adapted an online tool created by researchers affiliated with the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University.

Central office for hire

The budgeting system used by Edmonton Public Schools in Alberta, Canada, is the model for similar per-pupil funding efforts in the United States.

Special education tough to dissect

Special education poses the stiffest challenge to per-pupil funding. With a wide range of disabilities and with multiple funding sources, it defies easy calculation.

“Special ed is tough,” says Pedro Martinez, the new budget director for CPS.

Earning a diploma a nearly impossible dream

John, a 20-year-old special education student, is still struggling to earn his diploma. In and out of five high schools since 1999, John has racked up multiple suspensions, one expulsion, four arrests for school-related offenses and a conviction for a misdemeanor.

Too few top-notch libraries

During her 11 years on the job, Volkman has garnered tens of thousands of dollars in matching grants from the CPS Department of Libraries and Information Services to update the collection, now at more than 12,000 books and videos.The well-stocked library takes up two rooms, has large windows, nice furnishings and computers with Internet access.

Faculty integration an elusive goal

When Warren Elementary, a predominantly African American school in Calumet Heights, needed to fill three vacant teaching positions this year, Principal Christine Ogilvie specifically sought out and hired white candidates.


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposal to cut $2.2 billion from education spending next year has angered education groups, according to the Jan. 6 Los Angeles Times. The governor wants to suspend Proposal 98, which exempts education from across-the-board budget.

Changing how districts divvy up their budgets

Using weighted allocations encourages creative and strategic use of resources because most of the budget is built annually from scratch. The school gets its total allocation and school leaders create a budget by aligning their resources with the school improvement plan.

Comings & Goings

The New Schools for Chicago by the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago has prompted several personnel changes. New Schools for Chicago is the organization that will raise private funds for Renaissance 2010 schools.

Assessing Inequities: Community CPS funding

Assessing Inequities: School CPS funding