WBEZ | enrollment http://www.wbez.org/tags/enrollment Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Some Families Lie To Get Their Kids Into Top CPS Schools http://www.wbez.org/news/some-families-lie-get-their-kids-top-cps-schools-114373 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/NorthSidePrep.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Families who lie to get their kids into elite Chicago public schools face minimal penalties. This is one of the main contentions of <a href="http://www.cpsoig.org/uploads/3/6/1/7/3617112/cps_oig_fy_2015_annual_report.pdf">CPS Inspector General Nicholas Schuler&rsquo;s 2015</a> report, released Monday.</p><p>The report cites more than a dozen cases of families using false city addresses to gain access to selective schools this year. Some were found to live in suburbs &mdash; including a Des Plaines family with a student at Walter Payton College Prep and an Elmwood Park family with a student at Whitney Young Magnet. This violates requirements that all CPS students &mdash; with rare exceptions &mdash; live in the city.</p><p>Others who did live in the city gave fake addresses, saying they resided in low-income neighborhoods to gain easier admission to selective enrollment schools. One family who lived in Beverly, for example, claimed an address in Englewood. One North Center family gave an address in Bronzeville.</p><p>Enrollment shenanigans at CPS aren&rsquo;t new. What made this investigation novel was its look at the outcomes of these fraud discoveries. Schuler&rsquo;s team found that, in about half the fraud cases, the students who had been kicked out were allowed to re-enroll in that or another CPS selective school soon after. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;The Board of Education has, in the past, allowed certain students to remain in school and graduate despite clear cut evidence that enrollment or admissions fraud had occurred,&rdquo; Schuler writes in the report.</p><p>Schuler says he thinks this makes it too tempting for families to try to fake their addresses.</p><p>&ldquo;People are doing this with little fear of getting caught,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;So, in our view, the simplest way to solve that is to put in place a clear robust policy stating, upfront, what the penalties are going to be so that the families known what happens when they get caught.&rdquo;</p><p>Schuler suggests that fraudulently enrolled students be banned from selective enrollment schools for four years. He also proposes $10,000 to $25,000 penalties for each year a student was fraudulently enrolled &mdash; and not just for those who live in the suburbs. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;We think there should be an upfront penalty that applies to all these cases, regardless of whether they&rsquo;re tier fraud [giving a false address in a lower income area] or suburban residency cases,&rdquo; Schuler said.</p><p>For its part, CPS said in a statement &nbsp;that it &ldquo;welcomes the annual recommendations of the Inspector General. Taxpayers and parents deserve accountability at every level &ndash; which is why the District began top-to-bottom audits under the leadership of new CEO Forrest Claypool, sharing relevant findings with the Inspector General. We are working and will work to address the findings of this report.&rdquo;</p><p>The district didn&rsquo;t say if the audit specifically dealt with selective enrollment fraud. But Schuler says CPS officials have recently shared new potential cases for him to investigate. Those cases were not included in this year&rsquo;s report but, Schuler says &ldquo;if they&rsquo;re completed and sustained&rdquo; they&rsquo;ll be included in next year&rsquo;s report. &nbsp;</p><p>The IG says he doesn&rsquo;t know what percentage of actual CPS enrollment fraud is reflected in his current report. But he believes &nbsp;it&rsquo;s bigger than what they&rsquo;ve found so far.</p><p>&ldquo;A good indication is that, in a few of the cases that we were working on this year involving suburban residency fraud, we actually found that parents picking up other students from other suburban households on the way to school and dropping them off at CPS schools,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;So based on that alone it&rsquo;s safe to say that there is more.&rdquo;</p><p>In some cases, the new report names schools, but it generally does not name people involved in fraud. One person who is clearly named, however, is former CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. She resigned last year in the wake of a contract kickback scandal investigated by Schuler, among others. The IG report summarizes the events of Bryd-Bennett&rsquo;s case so far, but offers no new details or comments citing its ongoing investigation.</p><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ food and health reporter. Follow her at</em><a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng"> <em>@monicaeng</em></a> <em>or write to her at meng@wbez.org</em></p></p> Tue, 05 Jan 2016 08:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/some-families-lie-get-their-kids-top-cps-schools-114373 Obamacare Sign-Ups Could Get a Bump as Higher Penalties Kick-In http://www.wbez.org/news/obamacare-sign-ups-could-get-bump-higher-penalties-kick-114179 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/penalties.JPG" alt="" /><p><div id="res459739754"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Martha Lucia (from left), Bienvendida Barreno and Jorge Baquero discuss health insurance options with agents from Sunshine Life and Health Advisors at a Miami mall last month." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/12/14/obamacare_custom-211fe6448b7716e7d597a0f19ac51939e75d887e-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="From left: Martha Lucia Bienvendida Barreno and Jorge Baquero discuss health insurance options with agents from Sunshine Life and Health Advisors at a Miami mall last month. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)" /></div><div><p><em>Editor&#39;s update:&nbsp;Kevin Counihan,&nbsp;CEO of the federal health insurance marketplaces, announced late Tuesday that the deadline for signing up for a health plan under the Affordable Care Act has been extended by two days &mdash; until 11:59 PST December 17. &quot;Unprecedented demand and volume&quot; of consumers contacting HealthCare.gov and the exchange&#39;s call center forced the extension, he says.&nbsp;Hundreds of thousands of people were able to enroll successfully, but well&nbsp;over 1 million consumers were not able to enroll in the past two days and, instead, left contact information for later enrollment. Several states, including New York and Minnesota, have announced similar extensions.</em></p><p>This is the last week to choose a health plan under the Affordable Care Act if you want insurance coverage to begin by Jan. 1. And officials who have spent the past two years using the carrot of persuasion to get people to buy insurance through the state or federal exchanges say the time has come for the stick.</p><p>That stick is a hefty fine.</p><p>Penalties for failing to buy insurance will roughly double. A family of four that makes $250,000 a year could&nbsp;<a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/fees/estimate-your-fee/">face a fine</a>&nbsp;when tax time rolls around in 2017 that approaches $10,000 if they don&#39;t get coverage for 2016.</p><p><a href="https://www.cms.gov/About-CMS/Leadership/cciio/Kevin-Counihan.html">Kevin Counihan</a>, CEO of the federal insurance exchange HealthCare.gov, says he thinks the high fines will induce people who didn&#39;t have insurance before to at least shop around before deciding to skip coverage again.</p><p>Counihan, who was director of marketing for the Massachusetts health exchange 10 years ago, says it was when the fines approached $1,000 that sign-ups jumped.</p><p>&quot;It got people&#39;s attention,&quot; he tells Shots. &quot;And there seemed to be more of a discussion in their head about whether it made sense to pay the penalty and not get something for it.&quot;</p><p>Research bears out Counihan&#39;s theory. A&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4408001/">study</a>&nbsp;published in the&nbsp;<em>American Economic Review&nbsp;</em>in March showed that as fines got higher in Massachusetts, more people opted to buy insurance &mdash; and the overall medical well-being of that population improved.</p><p>In 2016, an individual who doesn&#39;t buy insurance will owe&nbsp;<a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/fees/fee-for-not-being-covered/">at least $695</a>. The minimum fine for 2015 is $325. The 2016 penalties could reach the thousands &mdash; from as much as 2.5 percent of a person&#39;s income, up to as much as the average annual price of a &quot;bronze plan,&quot; the lowest-cost health plan available on the insurance exchange.</p><p>The Department of Health and Human Services, which runs HealthCare.gov, tried to make as many people aware of the fines last year as it could, without giving too much of a sting to those who didn&#39;t buy plans. The agency allowed people who owed money because they didn&#39;t have insurance in 2014 to sign up for 2015 insurance during a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/blog/tax-penalty-special-enrollment-period-for-2015-health-coverage/">special enrollment period.</a></p><p>Counihan says people shouldn&#39;t plan on another such reprieve.</p><p>&quot;We&#39;re not offering that this year,&quot; he says. &quot;The deadline for enrollment is Jan. 1. That&#39;s a solid deadline.&quot;</p><p>If you want insurance that kicks in on Jan. 1, however, you have to enroll this week.</p><p>That means insurance navigators &mdash; the people who help consumers choose a health plan &mdash; are busy explaining the fees to consumers.</p><p><a href="https://www.whitman-walker.org/staff/katie-nicol/">Katie Nicol</a>&nbsp;is senior manager of public benefits and insurance navigation at Whitman-Walker Health, an LGBT-focused health center in Washington, D.C. She oversees 11 full-time navigators, and says many of the clinic&#39;s clients are shocked to hear how big the penalties are going to be for 2016.</p><p>&quot;People understand generally that there&#39;s a penalty,&quot; Nicol says. &quot;But the majority of the time they don&#39;t know what that means &mdash; definitely not the amount of money that it is. There is a bit of shock of realizing, &#39;Wow, if I don&#39;t do this, I will likely be responsible for over $600 in penalties.&quot;</p><p>Many of Whitman-Walker&#39;s patients qualify for Medicaid. But because the health center is located in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, it also has many clients who are young and single professionals. Doctors, nurses, and pharmacists at the clinic refer all of their patients without insurance to in-house navigators to help them pick a health plan and enroll.</p><p>These navigators try to explain&nbsp;all&nbsp;the costs a patient will face, depending on whether they choose insurance and what type.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s not just about the penalty,&quot; Nicol says. &quot;It&#39;s also [about whether] you need prescriptions, if you need medical care. It&#39;s almost doing a cost-benefit analysis.&quot;</p><p><a href="http://publichealth.gwu.edu/departments/health-policy-and-management/leighton-ku">Leighton Ku</a>, who directs the Center for Health Policy Research at George Washington University, says the stakes in 2016 go beyond any one individual&#39;s costs.</p><p>&quot;There&#39;s information that clearly shows that the creation of the insurance mandates and the tax penalties bring more people into the insurance market,&quot; Ku says. &quot;That helps bring insurance costs down.&quot;</p><p>Bringing down the overall costs of health plans will take time, however, he says. In the meantime, the monthly premiums for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/10/27/451993763/exchange-plans-may-have-higher-costs-no-out-of-network-coverage">health plans</a>&nbsp;that take effect on Jan. 1 have gone up &mdash; an average of about 7.5 percent over the monthly premiums in 2015.</p></div></div><p>&mdash;<em> <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/12/15/459735623/obamacare-sign-ups-could-get-a-bump-as-higher-penalties-kick-in?ft=nprml&amp;f=459735623">via NPR</a></em></p></p> Wed, 16 Dec 2015 13:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/obamacare-sign-ups-could-get-bump-higher-penalties-kick-114179 Chicago has a high school with 13 freshmen http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-has-high-school-13-freshmen-113524 <p><div><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/4853491803_a05b514aee_b.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="(flickr/KT King)" /></div><div>Chicago has a high school with just 13 ninth graders. That&rsquo;s the entire freshman class: 13.</div><div><p>This isn&rsquo;t a specialty school, or a school for expelled students, or an alternative school. It&rsquo;s a regular Chicago public high school. Just 13 freshmen signed up this year to attend Austin Business and Entrepreneurship Academy High School on the city&rsquo;s predominantly black West Side.</p><p>And Austin Business is not alone.</p><p>Two other high schools located inside the same building have enrolled just 20 and 24 freshmen each. Three separate principals oversee the three schools.</p><p>Then there&rsquo;s Hirsch Metropolitan High School on 79th and Ingleside: It has 22 ninth graders.</p><p>Chicago International Charter School&rsquo;s Larry Hawkins campus in Altgeld Gardens registered only 37 freshman.</p><p>In all, a dozen high schools across the city have 50 or fewer students in the freshman class. And<a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/marketplace/2015-10-16/surprising-power-ninth-grade-113374" target="_blank"> ninth grade is usually the largest in a high school</a>.</p><p>Since <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/future-uncertain-chicagos-neighborhood-high-schools-108834">WBEZ first wrote about dramatic underenrollment at high schools</a> in 2013, things have only gotten worse. Enrollment at many of the schools is so low, it raises questions of whether they can recover. &nbsp;</p><p>Official district enrollment numbers show Chicago now has 38 high schools with fewer than 400 high schoolers each. That&rsquo;s fewer students than even advocates of small schools say is needed to provide a solid education. Under the district&rsquo;s student-based budgeting, the numbers in some cases are not enough to pay for the principal and a full set of teachers.</p><p>And there&rsquo;s another fallout: running such small schools is tremendously inefficient, costing taxpayers and the district extra at a time when Chicago Public Schools is seeking help from Springfield just to get through the year without massive layoffs.</p><p><strong>Long-time neighborhood schools</strong></p><p>The city&rsquo;s withering high schools include institutions that have educated generations of Chicagoans and have been seen as community pillars: Bowen, Collins, Corliss, Fenger, Harper, Hirsch, Manley, Richards, Robeson, Tilden--all are teetering. But it isn&rsquo;t just neighborhood schools. Some charter schools and high schools that draw from the entire city find themselves in a similar bind, struggling to recruit students in an environment in which CPS has continued to rapidly open additional high schools in an effort to improve school quality--even though enrollment is not growing.</p><p>Nearly all schools with dramatically declining enrollment have one thing in common: they serve predominantly African American students on the city&rsquo;s South and West sides. Their students are some of the poorest, most vulnerable in the city.</p><p>The racial disparity raises questions about how school choice plays out in a segregated city, and whether neighborhood schools--particularly in low-income African American neighborhoods--are viable in Chicago&rsquo;s current school choice environment.</p><p>&ldquo;The fact that we have schools where they are only enrolling 13 freshmen is really part of this ideology of configuring public education in a kind of market model,&rdquo; said <a href="http://www.sociology.northwestern.edu/people/faculty/core/mary-pattillo.html">Mary Pattillo</a>, a sociologist at Northwestern University who authored a study on how families are participating in Chicago&rsquo;s system of school choice.</p><p>Pattillo says schools that don&rsquo;t capture parents, don&rsquo;t market themselves, or don&rsquo;t attract students-- &ldquo;they&rsquo;ll just die. But while those schools are dying, there are students in those schools dying with those schools,&rdquo; Pattillo said. &ldquo;And the inability of those schools to provide a high-quality education despite their high desire to do so is not acceptable.&rdquo;</p><p>Peter Cunningham sees benefits in a more market-driven system. Cunningham is the executive director of the national education reform group Education Post and was spokesman under Arne Duncan, who launched the city&rsquo;s Renaissance 2010 initiative--which opened more than 100 new schools --and closed others--in an effort to improve education in Chicago. &ldquo;There is a consequence to choice,&rdquo; says Cunningham. &ldquo;You&rsquo;re going to have schools that are losing enrollment either because kids don&rsquo;t want to go there or they&rsquo;re not providing the kind of education kids want.&rdquo;</p><p>Cunningham says that without Chicago&rsquo;s plethora of high school options, there might be better enrollment in the neighborhood high schools, but &ldquo;it&rsquo;s also possible that we would have lost a whole lot of families who would have chosen private schools or moved out of the city.&rdquo; Still, he admits, &ldquo;We can&rsquo;t afford to have more schools than we have students.&rdquo;</p><p>CPS spokeswoman Emily Bittner declined to answer questions about high school under-enrollment and would not say whether the city should brace for massive school closures at the high school level. She also would not authorize principals from under-enrolled schools to speak.</p><p><strong>High schools dying a slow death &nbsp;</strong></p><p>A massive expansion in the number of high schools in the city--opened in an effort to create high quality schools and expand options for students--has contributed to the under-enrollment crisis being faced &nbsp;today by many schools.</p><p>In 2004, Chicago had 88 high schools and 99,275 high schoolers. Today the city has 140 high schools (a 59 percent increase) for 100,670 students in grades 9-12 (a 1.5 percent increase). That&rsquo;s not counting alternative students or schools, which have also expanded exponentially.</p><p>With each new high school that opens, other schools in the system face enrollment declines. A dozen recently opened high schools added grades and students this year and are slated to continue expanding. In September, CPS agreed to re-open Dyett High School following a hunger strike protesting the its closure. And on Wednesday, the school board <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-gives-two-new-charters-green-light-puts-10-warning-113502">will vote on whether to green light another new charter high</a>, set to open in the fall.</p><p>At the same time, fully one-third of the city&rsquo;s high schools are withering.</p><p data-pym-src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-dailygraphics/dailygraphics/graphics/13freshmen/child.html">&nbsp;</p><script src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-dailygraphics/dailygraphics/graphics/13freshmen/js/lib/pym.js" type="text/javascript"></script><p>Under Chicago&rsquo;s school choice system&mdash;students can go to high school anywhere they&rsquo;re accepted, including other neighborhood schools. This year, 14 percent of Chicago&rsquo;s 100,670 high schoolers go to a selective enrollment school they test into, including&nbsp;<a href="http://interactive.wbez.org/schools/the-big-sort.html">nearly all the city&rsquo;s highest performing students</a>. Another 24 percent go to charter schools. Numbers from prior years suggest about 30 percent of students go to their attendance-area neighborhood school, and the rest go to&nbsp;magnet, military or other neighborhood schools&mdash;which might offer arts, IB, career-education or STEM programs. For low performers, neighborhood schools offer something that&rsquo;s increasingly difficult to find: a high school kids can enroll in without having to apply months in advance or meet a minimum threshold for grades or test scores.</p></div><p><strong>Varied reasons for declining enrollment</strong></p><p>CPS officials have frequently cited declining enrollment in the black community as a reason for the low enrollment numbers, but that is not always the case.</p><p>In Hirsch High School&rsquo;s attendance boundary, for instance, the number of CPS high school students living within the boundary has remained constant for the past eight years. But in Chicago&rsquo;s choice environment, 95 percent of Hirsch-area students go to selective, charter or other neighborhood schools; just 5 percent choose Hirsch.</p><p>At Tilden Career Academy at 48th and Union, the number of high school students living in the attendance area has actually increased, but enrollment at the school has tanked, despite new leadership that has brought in a digital media program and other partnerships. Tilden is even being featured as a <a href="https://ncs.uchicago.edu/sites/ncs.uchicago.edu/files/uploads/9.24%20Demonstration%20Schools%201-pager.pdf">demonstration school</a> by the University of Chicago&rsquo;s Network for College Success &nbsp;Still, every day, just 311 students arrive at a school built for 2,000. The percentage of in-area students who choose to attend Tilden has dropped to just 8 percent, from 28 percent a decade ago.</p><p>In other cases, the dying schools have no neighborhood attendance boundary at all and could draw students from anywhere in the city, but many are located in tough neighborhoods and have never attracted enough students to thrive. That&rsquo;s the case with Austin Business, the high school with 13 freshmen.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/austin%20high%20school%20building%20google_0.JPG" style="height: 225px; width: 400px; float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="Austin Business and Entrepreneurship Academy in Chicago. (Google Maps)" /></p><p>Now, the three schools located in what used to be Austin Community High School-- created just a decade ago and sold as improvements over the low-performing school they replaced--are considering a plan to merge into one again and re-establish their neighborhood boundary.</p><p>Declining enrollment can put schools in a downward spiral. Enrollment drops mean lower budgets and &nbsp;cuts. As programs disappear, fewer students want to enroll.</p><p>According to CPS Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson, CPS has had to prop up some schools with fewer than 270 students this year, giving them extra money so they can offer a complete set of courses. The district could not say how much it has spent on such support.</p><p>Paul Hill, a University of Washington professor who devised the portfolio school choice model Chicago is following, has said that if schools have so few students they need extra money to keep going, &quot;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/future-uncertain-chicagos-neighborhood-high-schools-108834">you&rsquo;ve got too many schools</a>.&quot;</p><p>Tilden principal Maurice Swinney says the small size absolutely affects what clubs and activities a school can offer. Tilden had no varsity football team this year. It disbanded mid-season last year after losing every game; the few boys on the roster played both offense and defense.</p><p>&ldquo;None of us at Tilden want to give kids any less of an experience than they would get&rdquo; at a bigger school with better funding, Swinney says. But, &ldquo;you have to have uniforms, you have to have equipment, you have to have Gatorade&mdash;you have to have all those things if you&rsquo;re going to have a program. I know if I were a kid I wouldn&rsquo;t want the old uniforms at some point.&rdquo;</p><p>But Swinney says the problem is not only that high schools are under-enrolled--it&rsquo;s that Chicago&rsquo;s small schools enroll kids who tend to be the most vulnerable in the system: &nbsp;&ldquo;students who&rsquo;ve dealt with lots of trauma, you have lots of struggles.&rdquo; At Tilden, 39.5 percent of kids are classified as special education students.</p><p>&ldquo;If we create selective enrollments and charter schools and other places that I feel like don&rsquo;t accept the most vulnerable children, I think the moral responsibility for any city is to support those that do--in a way that helps those schools flourish in terms of their academic, social, and behavioral outcomes,&rdquo; says Swinney. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s this level of neglect for the most vulnerable children, and it&rsquo;s offensive and it&rsquo;s insulting.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Small schools see gains</strong></p><p>Lisa Barrow, a senior economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago who has <a href="http://www.ipr.northwestern.edu/publications/docs/workingpapers/2013/IPR-WP-13-20.pdf">studied </a>the effect of school size, said high schools that are intentionally designed to be small improve academic outcomes for students. Recent studies have deemed New York City&rsquo;s small high schools a success. Many were created around the same time Chicago&rsquo;s were, as an effort to expand options for students and increase quality.</p><p>But Barrow says large high schools that see withering enrollment are not likely to have the same benefits as intentionally designed small schools that spend time carefully planning their curriculum, hiring, and programming for their particular size, usually 400-600 students.</p><p>John Horan, founder and executive director of North Lawndale College Prep, does not consider the two campuses he oversees as &ldquo;withering&rdquo;--even though both have enrollments that hover around 400 and the district would allow him to enroll at least 200 more students.</p><p>He says population loss in the black community on the West Side is making enrollment more difficult. But he feels his schools are about the right size.</p><p>&ldquo;Our budget office would like a higher number,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Our teachers would like a lower number.&rdquo;</p><p>Barrow says part of school size does come down to money.</p><p>&ldquo;If you have to hire five teachers to teach 25 kids five subjects, you can&rsquo;t afford to do that.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p><br /><em>Linda Lutton and Becky Vevea are WBEZ education reporters. Follow them <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZeducation" target="_blank">@WBEZeducation</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 27 Oct 2015 16:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-has-high-school-13-freshmen-113524 Chicago Public Schools will get money for no-show students, again http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-public-schools-will-get-money-no-show-students-again-110861 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/board of ed_2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Public Schools is making a surprising announcement that could cost the district millions of dollars.</p><p>In a letter being sent to principals today, CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett told schools they would <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/no-further-budget-cuts-schools-didnt-attract-enough-students-108748" target="_blank">again be held harmless</a> for students who didn&rsquo;t show up this year.</p><p>The district changed the way it funds schools last year. Instead of funding positions and programs from downtown, schools are now given about $5,000 per student on average, under a formula called &ldquo;student-based budgeting.&rdquo;</p><p>Last year, because the system was new, the district allowed schools that didn&rsquo;t meet enrollment targets to keep the money allocated to them anyway.</p><p>In a call with reporters about layoffs in June, Byrd-Bennett insisted that would not happen again.</p><p>&ldquo;No no no, that was last year, remember, and I preached that over and over that it was a one-time hold harmless,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>But now, she&rsquo;s changing her mind. In the letter to principals, Byrd-Bennett wrote that CPS plans to use &ldquo;student-based budgeting transition contingency funds and anticipated surplus from Tax-Increment-Financing funds&rdquo; to make sure schools get money based off their projections, not actual enrollment.</p><p>The letter also said any school that got more students on the first day would get additional money.</p><p>CPS used to take an official enrollment count on the 20th day of school and now takes both a 10th day and a 20th day count to calculate any potential budget adjustments. The 20th day count will take place on Monday.</p><p>District spokesman Bill McCaffrey did not say how many schools came in below and how many came in above their initial enrollment projection. He did not say how much it will cost to essentially pay twice for students or pay for students who are no longer in the district.</p><p>McCaffrey also would not say if overall enrollment is up or down. Enrollment in CPS had been steadily declining for the last decade. Last year, the school system lost about 3,000 students, dropping from 403,461 to 400,545.</p><p><em>Becky Vevea is a producer and reporter for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/WBEZeducation" target="_blank">@WBEZeducation</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 16:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-public-schools-will-get-money-no-show-students-again-110861 Only 60 percent of students from Chicago's closed schools turn up at 'welcoming schools' http://www.wbez.org/news/only-60-percent-students-chicagos-closed-schools-turn-welcoming-schools-108907 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/IMAG1874.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Far fewer students from Chicago&rsquo;s closed elementary schools are enrolled where the district thought they would be this fall.</p><p>Just 60 percent of <a href="#20th Day figures">10,542 students*</a> from Chicago&rsquo;s shuttered elementary schools ended up at so-called &ldquo;welcoming schools,&rdquo; despite efforts by the district to woo them with promises of improved education, safe passage to school, and sweeteners like iPads, <a href="http://www.cps.edu/qualityschools/Pages/WelcomingSchoolsMap.aspx" target="_blank">air conditioning and new science labs</a>.</p><p>The district<a href="http://www.cps.edu/News/Press_releases/Pages/PR1_08_02_2013.aspx" target="_blank"> insisted throughout the summer </a>that 80 percent of students from closing schools were enrolled at their designated welcoming schools. Even the first day of school, <a href="http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/sites/default/files/article/file-attachments/CPS%20First%20Day%20of%20School%20Fact%20Sheet-8.26.13_0.pdf" target="_blank">CPS said 78 percent </a>of impacted students were attending their welcoming schools. The district made $155.7 million in capital and technology investments at the schools, which <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/education/cps-will-go-further-debt-pay-upgrades-receiving-schools-106627">it will pay off for the next 30 years.</a></p><p>But enrollment figures obtained by WBEZ through an open records request show CPS overstated enrollment at the receiving schools by more than 2,000 students. The enrollment snapshot, taken on the 20th day of school, also shows:</p><ul><li>496 grammar-school children from shuttered schools do not seem to be enrolled anywhere at all, inside CPS or in other districts. They are listed on district spreadsheets as &ldquo;To be determined&rdquo; and are from nearly every closed school.</li></ul><ul><li>Students from closed schools have scattered throughout the system, attending 410 different schools&mdash;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/education/closing-schools-diaspora-108518" target="_blank">even more than initial counts indicated.</a></li></ul><p>One school in North Lawndale provides a telling example. Just 12 students out of 196 from shuttered Henson Elementary enrolled at Charles Evans Hughes, the designated welcoming school. The remaining students have scattered to 34 different schools. Nine students left the district, and 12 are completely unaccounted for.</p><p>At Johnson School of Excellence, a designated welcoming school for shuttered Pope Elementary, just 34 kids enrolled from Pope&mdash;77 percent of Pope students went elsewhere.</p><p><strong style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: lucida sans unicode,lucida grande,sans-serif;">Diaspora: Students from closed schools have scattered throughout the system</span></strong></p> <style type="text/css"> table.tableizer-table { border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif font-size: 12px; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; }</style> <table class="tableizer-table" height="856" width="266"><tbody><tr class="tableizer-firstrow"><th>Closed school</th><th>Number of different CPS schools where students are now enrolled</th></tr><tr><td>ROSS</td><td>57</td></tr><tr><td>ALTGELD</td><td>47</td></tr><tr><td>WOODS</td><td>47</td></tr><tr><td>LAFAYETTE</td><td>44</td></tr><tr><td>PARKMAN</td><td>44</td></tr><tr><td>TRUMBULL</td><td>44</td></tr><tr><td>KOHN</td><td>43</td></tr><tr><td>BONTEMPS</td><td>42</td></tr><tr><td>EMMET</td><td>42</td></tr><tr><td>OVERTON</td><td>41</td></tr><tr><td>MAY</td><td>40</td></tr><tr><td>LAWRENCE</td><td>39</td></tr><tr><td>BETHUNE</td><td>38</td></tr><tr><td>GOLDBLATT</td><td>38</td></tr><tr><td>MAYO</td><td>38</td></tr><tr><td>CALHOUN</td><td>37</td></tr><tr><td>POPE</td><td>36</td></tr><tr><td>HENSON</td><td>35</td></tr><tr><td>SEXTON</td><td>35</td></tr><tr><td>SONGHAI</td><td>35</td></tr><tr><td>STOCKTON</td><td>35</td></tr><tr><td>KEY</td><td>34</td></tr><tr><td>MARCONI</td><td>34</td></tr><tr><td>OWENS</td><td>34</td></tr><tr><td>DUMAS TECH ACAD</td><td>33</td></tr></tbody></table><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Johnson principal Alice Henry says she and her staff personally called every one of the Pope students. Many chose to go to schools closer to their homes, she says. And the school closings process took a toll too.</p><p>&ldquo;You know, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/full-audio-chicagoans-react-school-closings-proposals-scores-public-meetings-106670" target="_blank">during the hearings</a> and during that entire process, it&rsquo;s a pretty tumultuous, ugly process,&rdquo; said Henry. &ldquo;And feelings are developed, some problems kind of develop. It may take a year.&rdquo;</p><p>School board member Andrea Zopp is also taking a longer view, and says the capital and technology investments the district made will attract students eventually.</p><p>&ldquo;Over time, I think that will shake out. These schools are going to be community hubs. And I think they&rsquo;re going to draw&mdash;like good schools do&mdash;they&rsquo;re going to draw kids and families back into the neighborhood schools, and that&rsquo;s the goal.&rdquo;</p><p>Some schools not designated as welcoming schools took in more students from closed schools than designated welcoming schools. But the &ldquo;de facto&rdquo; welcoming schools didn&rsquo;t get technology or capital upgrades, and are not part of the district&rsquo;s $12 million Safe Passage program. And a number of them struggle academically, meaning children from closed schools are <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/few-chicago-school-closings-will-move-kids-top-performing-schools-107261" target="_blank">attending schools that may be performing worse</a> than the closed schools they left.</p><p><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: lucida sans unicode,lucida grande,sans-serif;">&ldquo;De facto&rdquo; welcoming schools, with the total number of students they have enrolled from closed schools</span></span></strong></p> <style type="text/css"> table.tableizer-table { border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif font-size: 12px; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; }</style> <table class="tableizer-table" height="382" width="536"><tbody><tr class="tableizer-firstrow"><th>School</th><th>Designated welcoming School?</th><th>Number of students from closed schools</th></tr><tr><td>KELLMAN</td><td>No</td><td>159</td></tr><tr><td>LANGFORD</td><td>No</td><td>86</td></tr><tr><td>METCALFE</td><td>No</td><td>76</td></tr><tr><td>CHALMERS</td><td>No</td><td>64</td></tr><tr><td>MOOS</td><td>No</td><td>53</td></tr><tr><td>CATALYST CHTR - HOWLAND</td><td>No</td><td>52</td></tr><tr><td>CROWN</td><td>No</td><td>49</td></tr><tr><td>CARTER</td><td>No</td><td>46</td></tr><tr><td>PENN</td><td>No</td><td>46</td></tr><tr><td>LOWELL</td><td>No</td><td>45</td></tr><tr><td>PARKER</td><td>No</td><td>44</td></tr><tr><td>IRVING</td><td>No</td><td>43</td></tr></tbody></table><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Some 375 students from closed schools now attend Chicago charter schools, the figures indicate; 239 left the school district.</p><p>Receiving schools that did best at enrolling students from closed schools were those where the building didn&rsquo;t close. For instance, Pershing Middle School closed, but the building itself remained open, and staff from Pershing Elementary moved in and took over, making it a K-8 school. Ninety percent of students from Pershing Middle stayed for the transition.</p><p>Asked about the fact that just 60 percent of students from closed schools enrolled in their designated welcoming school, spokeswoman Becky Carroll said CPS supports parents&rsquo; right to choose where to enroll their children.</p><p>&ldquo;Thousands of parents every year choose to enroll their child at a different school in our district &ndash;or even outside the district&mdash;and we support them in those choices,&rdquo; Carroll wrote in an email.&nbsp; She wrote that the &ldquo;far majority&rdquo; of parents from closed schools chose to send their children to their designated welcoming school, and those children &ldquo;are now receiving a higher-quality education with the resources they need to succeed and thrive in the classroom.&rdquo;</p><p>Regarding the nearly 500 students the district cannot account for, officials have said district employees have called, written and gone door to door looking for them.</p><p><strong style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: lucida sans unicode,lucida grande,sans-serif;">Percent of students from CPS closed schools attending their designated welcoming school</span></strong></p> <style type="text/css"> table.tableizer-table { border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif font-size: 12px; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; }</style> <table class="tableizer-table"><tbody><tr class="tableizer-firstrow"><th>Closed school</th><th>Total number of impacted students</th><th>Designated welcoming school</th><th>Number of students atending designated welcoming school</th><th>% attending designated welcoming school(s)</th><th>Did CPS name more than one receiving school?</th></tr><tr><td>ALTGELD</td><td>335</td><td>WENTWORTH</td><td>235</td><td>70.1%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>ARMSTRONG, L</td><td>92</td><td>LELAND</td><td>48</td><td>52.2%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>BANNEKER</td><td>261</td><td>MAYS</td><td>214</td><td>82%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>BETHUNE</td><td>315</td><td>GREGORY</td><td>23</td><td>7.3%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>BONTEMPS</td><td>239</td><td>NICHOLSON TECH ACAD</td><td>71</td><td>29.7%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>CALHOUN</td><td>234</td><td>CATHER</td><td>115</td><td>49.1%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>DELANO</td><td>259</td><td>MELODY</td><td>217</td><td>83.8%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>DUMAS TECH ACAD</td><td>241</td><td>WADSWORTH</td><td>183</td><td>75.9%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>DUPREY</td><td>92</td><td>DIEGO</td><td>46</td><td>50%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>EMMET</td><td>316</td><td>DE PRIEST</td><td>95</td><td>30.1%</td><td>yes</td></tr><tr><td>EMMET</td><td>316</td><td>ELLINGTON</td><td>111</td><td>35.1%</td><td>yes</td></tr><tr><td>FERMI</td><td>191</td><td>SOUTHSHORE</td><td>154</td><td>80.6%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>GARFIELD PARK</td><td>132</td><td>FARADAY</td><td>49</td><td>37.1%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>GOLDBLATT</td><td>213</td><td>HEFFERAN</td><td>100</td><td>46.9%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>GOODLOW</td><td>285</td><td>EARLE</td><td>198</td><td>69.5%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>HENSON</td><td>196</td><td>HUGHES, C</td><td>12</td><td>6.1%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>HERBERT</td><td>205</td><td>DETT</td><td>162</td><td>79%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>KEY</td><td>283</td><td>ELLINGTON</td><td>170</td><td>60.1%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>KING</td><td>204</td><td>JENSEN</td><td>84</td><td>41.2%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>KOHN</td><td>323</td><td>CULLEN</td><td>14</td><td>4.3%</td><td>yes</td></tr><tr><td>KOHN</td><td>323</td><td>LAVIZZO</td><td>47</td><td>14.6%</td><td>yes</td></tr><tr><td>KOHN</td><td>323</td><td>HUGHES, L</td><td>167</td><td>51.7%</td><td>yes</td></tr><tr><td>LAFAYETTE</td><td>306</td><td>CHOPIN</td><td>209</td><td>68.3%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>LAWRENCE</td><td>318</td><td>BURNHAM</td><td>240</td><td>75.5%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>MARCONI</td><td>177</td><td>TILTON</td><td>65</td><td>36.7%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>MAY</td><td>386</td><td>LELAND</td><td>285</td><td>73.8%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>MAYO</td><td>326</td><td>WELLS, I</td><td>242</td><td>74.2%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>MORGAN</td><td>157</td><td>RYDER</td><td>101</td><td>64.3%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>OVERTON</td><td>284</td><td>MOLLISON</td><td>146</td><td>51.4%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>OWENS</td><td>250</td><td>GOMPERS</td><td>175</td><td>70%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>PADEREWSKI</td><td>150</td><td>CARDENAS</td><td>24</td><td>16%</td><td>yes</td></tr><tr><td>PADEREWSKI</td><td>150</td><td>CASTELLANOS</td><td>38</td><td>25.3%</td><td>yes</td></tr><tr><td>PARKMAN</td><td>156</td><td>SHERWOOD</td><td>52</td><td>33.3%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>PEABODY</td><td>211</td><td>OTIS</td><td>162</td><td>76.8%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>PERSHING MIDDLE</td><td>175</td><td>PERSHING</td><td>158</td><td>90.3%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>POPE</td><td>145</td><td>JOHNSON</td><td>34</td><td>23.4%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>ROSS</td><td>272</td><td>DULLES</td><td>117</td><td>43%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>RYERSON</td><td>326</td><td>WARD, L</td><td>261</td><td>80.1%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>SEXTON</td><td>309</td><td>FISKE</td><td>218</td><td>70.6%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>SONGHAI</td><td>258</td><td>CURTIS</td><td>104</td><td>40.3%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>STEWART</td><td>196</td><td>BRENNEMANN</td><td>117</td><td>59.7%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>STOCKTON</td><td>299</td><td>COURTENAY</td><td>247</td><td>82.6%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>TRUMBULL</td><td>206</td><td>MCCUTCHEON</td><td>11</td><td>5.3%</td><td>yes</td></tr><tr><td>TRUMBULL</td><td>206</td><td>MCPHERSON</td><td>50</td><td>24.3%</td><td>yes</td></tr><tr><td>TRUMBULL</td><td>206</td><td>CHAPPELL</td><td>98</td><td>47.6%</td><td>yes</td></tr><tr><td>VON HUMBOLDT</td><td>264</td><td>DIEGO</td><td>169</td><td>64%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>WEST PULLMAN</td><td>233</td><td>HALEY</td><td>76</td><td>32.6%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>WILIAMS MIDDLE</td><td>80</td><td>DRAKE</td><td>58</td><td>72.5%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>WILLIAMS ES</td><td>211</td><td>DRAKE</td><td>169</td><td>80.1%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>WOODS</td><td>274</td><td>BASS</td><td>127</td><td>46.4%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>YALE</td><td>157</td><td>HARVARD</td><td>67</td><td>42.7%</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td>&nbsp;</td><td>&nbsp;</td><td>&nbsp;</td><td>&nbsp;</td><td>&nbsp;</td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td><strong>GRAND TOTAL</strong></td><td><strong>10,542</strong></td><td>&nbsp;</td><td><strong>6,335</strong></td><td><strong>60.1%</strong></td><td>&nbsp;</td></tr></tbody></table><p><span style="font-size:11px;"><a name="20th Day figures">Source: </a>CPS data, WBEZ analysis. This table excludes preschool students, all students from&nbsp; shuttered Buckingham and Near North special education schools, and special education &ldquo;cluster programs.&rdquo; CPS has also excluded these students from its calculations of enrollment rates at welcoming schools.</span><a name=" "></a></p><p><br /><a name="10,542">*The district&rsquo;s 20th Day figures</a> show a total of 11,126 students attended kindergarten through 7th grade last year at 47 schools that closed for good in June. Of those, 584 were enrolled in two special education schools or in special education &ldquo;cluster programs&rdquo;; 10,542 were in general education programs.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Original data from Chicago Public Schools is attached below.</em></p></p> Mon, 14 Oct 2013 05:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/only-60-percent-students-chicagos-closed-schools-turn-welcoming-schools-108907 Chicago enrollment dip doesn't cost principals http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-enrollment-dip-doesnt-cost-principals-108781 <p><p><em>Updated 9/27/13 11:50am</em></p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-115d00f0-5c6e-5eeb-1014-f4c3dadb8dd3">Principals at 308 Chicago schools are breathing a sigh of relief, even as the landscape of Chicago&rsquo;s public school system continues to shift.</p><p dir="ltr">New enrollment figures show 60 percent of all district-run schools got fewer students than CPS had projected. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Under a new per-pupil budgeting system the enrollment declines would have meant budget cuts at the school level this week.</p><p dir="ltr">But thanks to a decision by CPS to create a &ldquo;transition year&rdquo; to student-based budgeting, schools were &ldquo;held harmless&rdquo; and are being funded as if they had all the students they were projected to get.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I&rsquo;m ecstatic,&rdquo; said Alice Vera, principal at De Diego in Humboldt Park. De Diego, a designated &ldquo;welcoming school&rdquo; that got 163 fewer students from closed schools than the district had anticipated. &nbsp;That could have meant $720,000 in budget cuts.</p><p dir="ltr">Vera says she had made plans to cut as many as six teachers, but the continued funding allowed her to keep luxuries&mdash;like an art therapist who is helping with integration efforts between students from closed schools and longtime De Diego students.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know if people really understand what this means to a school,&rdquo; says Vera. &ldquo;We are able to keep our class sizes low. We will still be able to have a reading coach and a math coach here in the school.&rdquo;</p><h2 dir="ltr"><strong>Paying for it</strong></h2><p dir="ltr">Overall, the district will pay out $45.7 million to schools for students who are not there&mdash;and in most cases not even in the school district. Schools that gained in enrollment will be paid for each additional student&mdash;at a total cost of $18 million.</p><p dir="ltr">The district says the $45.7 million was originally in the budget. It says the $18 million is being covered through money in a contingency fund and further cuts to central office.</p><p dir="ltr">Laurence Msall, president of the budget watchdog Civic Federation, says it&rsquo;s reasonable in the first year of student-based budgeting to try to assist schools that were not able to meet enrollment goals.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;But this comes on the back of a budget that has almost no reserves for contingencies,&rdquo; says Msall. &ldquo;It is a challenge to figure out how the district could come up with this money&hellip;when it faces a billion dollar deficit.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">And, Msall says, the district&rsquo;s trend of declining enrollment has &ldquo;enormous financial implications for the district.&rdquo; Based on the school aid formulas at the federal and state levels, it will be a reduction in what&rsquo;s available to the district.&rdquo;</p><h2 dir="ltr"><strong>Enrollment shifts</strong></h2><p dir="ltr">In a surprise, the Chicago Public Schools got fewer children overall than it anticipated. District demographics officials had projected an enrollment of 405,519. But the final tally, taken Monday, the 20th day of school, was 400,545. District officials could not explain why they miscalculated how many students would show up overall, a figure they usually predict accurately.</p><p>Enrollment in the district&rsquo;s privately run, publicly funded charter schools saw an uptick. Nearly 58,000 students are enrolled in charters, over 14 percent of all Chicago Public Schools students.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/table%201.PNG" style="height: 95px; width: 550px;" title="" /></div><div><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-115d00f0-5c70-70bb-d4bf-c25f34b4403e">Like De Diego, other welcoming schools got fewer students than the district had counted on. Overall, 32 welcoming schools saw 1,658 fewer students than projected. (Seventeen others enrolled 327 more kids than projected.)</p><p>Neighborhood high schools saw the deepest enrollment declines. Hyde Park High School, for instance, only enrolled 1,001 students, 231 students shy of its projection, and 248 short of its enrollment last year. It would have had to cut $1.17 million from this year&rsquo;s budget.<o:p></o:p></p><p>Of the city&rsquo;s 50 neighborhood high schools, 70 percent did not meet their enrollment projections. Taken together, the neighborhood high schools account for 2,332 of district schools&rsquo; overall enrollment overprojection of 6,567 students. Enrollment-based budget cuts at the schools would have totaled $13.64 million.<o:p></o:p></p><p dir="ltr">In the 20 schools where the district was furthest off in its projections, all but two were either neighborhood high schools or schools affected by the latest round of school closings and shakeups.</p></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chartcorrected.PNG" style="height: 479px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div></div><div><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-115d00f0-5c70-f49b-3d6d-c4460fee69d2">At Roberto Clemente Community Academy High School, principal Marcey Sorensen says neighborhood school principals must adjust their budgets to their new enrollment reality.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I think people have to sit down and really look at their budget and ask themselves, &lsquo;How much of my money is really making it to kids, versus safety and security, versus clerical help?&rsquo; I think you have to kind of put it in a pie chart and say, &lsquo;If I have X number of dollars, how am I spending it?&rsquo;&rdquo; &nbsp;She doesn&rsquo;t pay for anyone at Clemente to work the copy room, for instance&mdash;something the school could afford when the school&mdash;and budget&mdash;was larger.</p><p dir="ltr">Sorensen says she was prepared to cut $500,000 from her budget&mdash;she has 700 students but was budgeted for 830. She didn&rsquo;t allocate additional money she had been given over the summer for fear she would lose it. Now, she says, &ldquo;I have to tell you&mdash;I feel like I won the lottery.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Sorensen says she won&rsquo;t hire any personnel, to avoid having to let people go in a year when schools will be required to live within their means. Instead, she&rsquo;ll pay for more lasting investments&mdash;technology upgrades and training for teachers.</p><p dir="ltr">Scroll down for Chicago Public Schools school-based budgeting &ldquo;held harmless&rdquo; and 20th Day enrollment data sets.</p><p><em>CORRECTION: A prior version of this story misstated the number of neighborhood high schools that met their enrollment projections, and an attached spreadsheet also misclassified some high schools. Both the text and the attached spreadsheet have been corrected. WBEZ regrets the error.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Linda Lutton is a WBEZ education reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/WBEZeducation" target="_blank">@WBEZeducation</a>. </em></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 26 Sep 2013 17:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-enrollment-dip-doesnt-cost-principals-108781 WBEZ tours 'half-empty' schools http://www.wbez.org/news/wbez-tours-half-empty-schools-105045 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/8402268243_dc137552f7.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><object height="450" width="620"><param name="flashvars" value="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157632580709754%2Fshow%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157632580709754%2F&amp;set_id=72157632580709754&amp;jump_to=" /><param name="movie" value="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><embed allowfullscreen="true" flashvars="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157632580709754%2Fshow%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157632580709754%2F&amp;set_id=72157632580709754&amp;jump_to=" height="450" src="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="620"></embed></object><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F75866008" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Chicago Public School leaders say 137 of their schools are sitting half-empty &ndash; with way too few students. When they talk about closing schools to make the district more efficient, these are the schools they&rsquo;re talking about. WBEZ went to see what it looks and feels like inside some of the district&rsquo;s &ldquo;underutilized&rdquo; elementary schools.&nbsp;</p><p>On a sunny, cold Thursday morning, Principal Keshia Warner showed me around Drake Elementary School in Bronzeville.</p><p>At first impression, the three-story, 1960s-era building felt almost empty, with bare white walls and un-scuffed floors.<br /><br />&ldquo;Now we&rsquo;re basically on the first level of the school building and at our entry, the first room is our art room,&rdquo; Warner said, opening the door to a colorful classroom. &ldquo;So, we have art as a half-time program so art is here on Monday, Tuesday and the morning Wednesday, so right now, that&rsquo;s why there&rsquo;s nobody in there.&rdquo;</p><p>The wide hallways are quiet and the first few classrooms we pass either have no students or are being used for small groups of special needs students.</p><p>On paper, Drake is eligible to be closed at the end of the school year. It&rsquo;s less than 40 percent full by the district&rsquo;s standards. It&rsquo;s on academic probation and the 52-year-old building is expensive to maintain.</p><p>The cash-strapped school district wants to close schools like Drake, not because it will save a lot of money, but because they won&rsquo;t have to spread resources &ndash;&nbsp;including teachers &ndash;&nbsp;across all these &ldquo;half-empty&rdquo; schools. School officials have said that for safety reasons, it will not close high schools if they can help it.</p><p>For these small schools, Warner and principals like her all across CPS are faced with a puzzle every year because funding is based on enrollment and &ldquo;it&rsquo;s not funded based off of one teacher per grade level anymore,&rdquo; Warner tells me.</p><p>Instead, the district uses a complicated formula to calculate how many teachers a school needs. And often, schools with smaller enrollments, like Drake, don&rsquo;t get a teacher for every grade.</p><p>&ldquo; As far as kindergarten, a half-time position from the board, and I use school funds to pay for the other half so it&rsquo;s a full-day kindergarten,&rdquo; Warner said.</p><p>For grades first, second and third, Drake gets just two teachers, so Warner had to decide whether to buy another teacher with her own funds, or combine grades in one classroom. This year, Drake has two classrooms with mixed grades.</p><p>The 2nd and 3rd grade room has 32 kids and it&rsquo;s packed &ndash;&nbsp;you can tell when you walk in.</p><p>Over the sound of students&#39; chatter, the teacher says, &ldquo;I like how the students at table one are continuing with their assignment.&rdquo;</p><p>Both of the split classes are taught by veteran teachers. Liliana Logli teaches the 1st-2nd grade split.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s definitely a challenge,&rdquo; Logli said. &ldquo;It fluctuates. At the beginning of the year, I think I had 38 and now I&rsquo;m down to 33 or 34. I&rsquo;ve gotten the hang of it, because I&rsquo;ve been doing it for several years now, but it definitely is a challenge because you have to teach two different curriculums in reading, in math.&rdquo;</p><p>This is partly why CPS officials say school closings are necessary. If Drake had twice as many students it wouldn&rsquo;t have to combine grades, especially in the early years when research shows small class sizes are more important.</p><p>District officials say schools that are under enrolled are also more likely to have crowded classrooms &ndash;&nbsp;and not just by a few kids. They&rsquo;re more likely to be over the district&rsquo;s class size limit by more than a few students.</p><p>In many ways, Drake is a good example why the district wants to close and consolidate schools &ndash;&nbsp;there simply aren&rsquo;t as many school-aged children in Bronzeville anymore.</p><p>Drake used to be surrounded by public housing &ndash; the Robert Taylor homes to the south, the Dearborn Homes to the west. Most of them have been torn down or turned into mixed income developments.</p><p>&ldquo;The housing projects gone now, people moving to different places in the city, our enrollment has definitely been affected,&rdquo; said Logli. &ldquo;I think we had 700, close to 800 kids when I first started here, and now maybe, what? 250 if we&rsquo;re lucky.&rdquo;</p><p>But Principal Warner says closing schools could be short-sighted in communities like Bronzeville, where gentrification is still a goal, in spite of recession and the loss of the 2016 Olympics that could have boosted the neighborhood.</p><p>&ldquo;What are the big plans?&rdquo; Warner said. &ldquo;Because I heard plans 5-6 years ago about plans to put in more businesses, and have the first floor be businesses and above be residential and if that&rsquo;s the case, I think there will be a population that will need this school.&rdquo;</p><p>Even though Drake is rated in the lowest performance category at CPS, it has been improving in recent years and Warner says the school&rsquo;s balance of space and kids contributes to that.</p><p>&ldquo;I really do enjoy having a school under 300 students, our being a family. I can know students by name, know their parents when they walk in the building, I think that establishes really good relationships with parents and students,&rdquo; Warner said.&nbsp; &ldquo;I can actually keep up with them when I&rsquo;m looking at data, I know who that number, that&rsquo;s just a percentage on paper, but I know who that child is, to speak to them the next day.&rdquo;</p><p>Of course, having a list of 137 under-used schools doesn&rsquo;t mean they&rsquo;re interchangeable.&nbsp;</p><p>On paper, Drake looks a lot like Till Elementary School in the south side Woodlawn neighborhood.</p><p>Till is about 40 percent utilized, it&rsquo;s rated in the lowest category for performance and costs a lot of money to maintain.<br />But when I visited Till felt completely different than Drake. Every grade had two classrooms of about 25 students. There was both a full-time gym teacher and a full-time librarian.</p><p>Principal Charles Asiyanbi said he had to purchase four teachers with his discretionary budget in order to keep his classrooms under 25 students.</p><p>&ldquo;I will mortgage the farm to do that,&rdquo; Asiyanbi said.</p><p>The day I was at Till, four new students enrolled. Asiyanbi said it happens a lot; given how much people move around in the community, he never really knows how many kids he&rsquo;ll have.</p><p>Till has two buildings and both use only a few rooms on their top floors.&nbsp;</p><p>But Asiyanbi says combining the two wouldn&rsquo;t be ideal.</p><p>&ldquo;I think with the older kids and the younger kids, it needs to be a clear delineation,&rdquo; Asiyanbi said. &ldquo;The development process for older kids is totally different.&rdquo;</p><p>Both Warner and Asiyanbi know their schools are on the list of those that could be closed.</p><p>Both say they would like to take on more students, but not too many. Both actually use most of what&rsquo;s considered &ldquo;extra space&rdquo; in one way or another &ndash;&nbsp;a special education room here, a counselor&rsquo;s office there.</p><p>Both say they hope people at CPS headquarters scrutinize more than what&rsquo;s on paper.</p><p>&ldquo;Your hope is that when decisions are made, all the criteria is looked at, not just that you&rsquo;re underutilized, because the adults in the building haven&rsquo;t been able to control,&rdquo; Warner said. &ldquo;If there were more children to get in, we would.&rdquo;</p><p>Meanwhile, Chicago Public Schools is up against a $1 billion deficit.</p><p>So even if schools are merged, there&rsquo;s no guarantee the remaining schools wouldn&rsquo;t also face budget cuts.</p></p> Tue, 22 Jan 2013 05:20:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/wbez-tours-half-empty-schools-105045 Report: Chicago State let failing students stay http://www.wbez.org/story/report-chicago-state-let-failing-students-stay-89651 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-26/RS394_graduation.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A published report says <a href="http://www.csu.edu/">Chicago State University</a>&nbsp;allowed failing students to continue registering for classes while&nbsp;it was at risk of losing accreditation because of poor enrollment&nbsp;and retention figures.</p><p>The college has a policy saying students with a grade-point&nbsp;average below 1.8 are dismissed. But the Chicago Tribune reports&nbsp;that students with GPAs as low as 0.0 were allowed to stay to boost&nbsp;enrollment.</p><p>The newspaper cites records it obtained.&nbsp;</p><p>CSU president Wayne Watson acknowledges the university made a&nbsp;mistake. He says the practice started before he came to the&nbsp;university in 2009 and continued without his knowledge. He says&nbsp;it's ended.&nbsp;</p><p>About 7,200 students are enrolled at the public university on&nbsp;the city's South Side.&nbsp;</p><p>The school has faced widespread financial mismanagement and a&nbsp;failure to graduate students.</p></p> Tue, 26 Jul 2011 14:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/report-chicago-state-let-failing-students-stay-89651