Selected readings on US charter schools
But charters gain amid overall decline
Total enrollment of about 400,000 students is 3,000 less than last year, the district said Tuesday.
That figure includes students at privately run charter schools, where enrollment grew by about 4,000 to 54,000, according to the Illinois Network of Charter Schools. There are 15 additional charter campuses in the city this year, with grades added at another 30 campuses, according to the organization.
More than 300 noncharter schools counted fewer students than projected by the district, and nearly 200 schools showed higher numbers than expected, according to CPS.
Enrollment took on added importance this year with the district’s new per-pupil budgeting system, which allocates funding for each school based on the number of students. The district allayed fears of additional cuts earlier this week by saying schools with lower enrollment than projected would not have funding reduced. The schools with higher-than-projected enrollment will get an additional $18 million in funding.
This year CPS locked in enrollment for schools having less than the projected number of students on the 10th day of classes to make budgeting easier for principals. The final enrollment figures for the district, though, reflect enrollment on the 20th day of school.
The district’s ongoing budget woes led Fitch Ratings earlier this week to downgrade the Chicago Board of Education’s bond rating to A- from A. That was the latest in a series of downgrades by rating agencies, which have been critical of CPS finances over the past two years.
Fitch said Monday’s downgrade was based on “continued difficulty in addressing Chicago Public Schools’ large structural budget gap” and that “dramatic changes” are necessary, including pension reform.
Source: Chicago Tribune – by Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah