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A Letter from Dr. Janice Jackson

An update on the SY 18-19 budget process

Dear LSC Members:

In recent years, funding uncertainty has prevented us from providing school budgets in the spring, which put a significant burden on principals to thoughtfully plan for the year ahead under tight time constraints. Despite those challenges, your principals have continued to push CPS schools to new heights, and their success has turned Chicago into a national model for how to improve an urban school system. Now that our financial position is stronger, we are committed to giving your principals more time, predictability, and support during the budget process.

In early April, we will be providing your principals with school budgets for the 2018-19 school year, but today we want to let you know about two changes to our budget process that were made in response to principal feedback and are designed to better support your schools:

1. Funding for the 2018-19 school year will be determined based on 20th day enrollment from the 2017-18 school year. This means there will be no fall budget cuts, and parents at your school will be able to enter the summer with clarity on who will be teaching their children in the fall.

2. Special education staff will be provided to schools as a position allocation and not a funding equivalent. This will provide greater transparency to your school community about the resources allocated for special education.

We are looking forward to the release of budgets for the new school year, which will include new resource allocations to support student success and a revised funding framework to support small schools, and we are excited to see what your principals will do with greater capacity to plan for the year ahead.

Guaranteed Funding Based on Prior Enrollment

Unlike in the past when school budgets were based on projections, funding for the 2018-19 school year will be based on your school’s 20th day enrollment count from the current school year. Funding schools based on prior year enrollment will ensure there are no budget reductions in the fall, even if school enrollment declines. However, if your school’s enrollment next fall exceeds its 20th day enrollment from fall of the 2017-18 school year, your school will receive additional funding to support those additional students.

We hope this new model will allow your principals to plan confidently for the year ahead and without concerns about a potential budget reduction in the fall. We also hope it will provide staff at your school with greater certainty about their positions in the new year.

We recognize that some schools may be anticipating enrollment above their 20th day counts this year. If your school is expected to grow next year due to a district action, such as a grade level addition, we will be providing your school additional funding to account for that change. And if your principal anticipates enrollment growth for any other reason, they can now submit an appeal for a funding advance, which would be subject to actual enrollment levels in the fall of 2018.

Improved Special Education Position Methodology

In response to feedback from principals and to provide greater transparency into special education resources, we are revising the manner in which we provide resources for special education teaching positions.

Rather than providing a funding equivalent for special education positions, your budget in 2018-19 will include position allocations for special education teachers and paraprofessionals. This change will give your school community greater transparency into the resources designated for special education and provide your principal greater clarity on the number of positions required to meet all student needs.

School Year 2018-19 Budget Release and Support for Small Schools

To help ensure that every school in every neighborhood has the resources they need to be successful, school budgets for 2018-19 will include targeted allocations that further support academic progress. These supports include a new funding framework for supporting small schools and additional resources for positions that have been shown to boost student success.

We appreciate your continued commitment to supporting strong schools throughout our great city, and we look forward to working together to plan for a successful year ahead.


Janice K. Jackson, EdD
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools