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Another big enrollment drop for Chicago schools drives down budget

By Sarah Karp,

Chicago Public Schools is projecting another big drop in student enrollment this year, resulting in less money going to its more than 500 district-run schools, according to budget documents released on Thursday.

CPS officials estimate 8,000 fewer students will enroll in the city’s public schools next school year, but it is not immediately clear which schools are projected to see the bulk of the student decline. District officials are expected to publicly release more budget information later Thursday.

For the third year in a row, CPS also is counting on state money that may never materialize. This year, CPS is assuming an overhaul of the state’s school funding formula will become law and deliver an extra $300 million to the school district. The bill passed the state Legislature in late May, but Gov. Bruce Rauner says he will veto it. He calls it a “bailout” for the school district. According to Rauner’s office, CPS would get $145 million less after his veto.

For the past two years, schools have been stung by midyear budget cuts, leading some principals to start budgeting in case they occur.

In a press release this morning, CPS CEO Forrest Claypool reiterated his criticism that the governor is holding students across the state hostage. “We won’t let Chicago children be used as pawns in his game,” Claypool said.


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