LSC Members Request Transparency and Engagement in Critical School Funding Decisions

Members of more than 30 Local School Councils send urgent letter to Chicago Board of Education asking for engagement around school budgets for SY2024-25.

By Local School Council Members | July 9, 2024 |
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MEMORANDUM

To: Chicago Board of Education

From: Citywide LSC Leaders (Various)

Date: July 9, 2024

Subject: Request for Transparency and Engagement in School Funding Decisions

Dear Members of the Chicago Board of Education,

On June 12, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced that it was delaying the release of its full operating budget for SY2024-25 until July to allow for further engagement with CPS stakeholders. We are reaching out on behalf of our school communities to make ourselves available to the Board and CPS in the coming weeks to engage in meaningful dialogue about school budgets for next year.

As members of 30+ Local School Councils, we have expressed our concerns regarding the recent overhaul of the district’s approach to funding schools.

The decision to move away from student-based budgeting was made without the consultation of Local School Council members. This exclusion has resulted in a significant lack of transparency and has left our school communities with numerous unanswered questions.

We seek clarity on several critical aspects of the new funding approach:

  • Is this new funding approach intended to be temporary, and if so, what are the long-term implications for schools?

  • How is the Opportunity Index calculated, and what formula is used?

  • What are the justifications for the proposed student-to-teacher ratios, and how were these ratios determined?

  • How will funding adjustments be made in response to mid-year student enrollment changes?

  • Are there specific budget provisions for supporting migrant students and those with special education needs?

  • What level of discretion will principals and Local School Councils have over the use of school funds and positions? How will the issue of unfilled positions be addressed?

  • What resources will be made available to enhance school safety?

We ask that the Chicago Board of Education address these questions in meetings with Local School Council members like us. Additionally, we ask that all responses be provided in writing to ensure that our school communities have access to the information.

The need for openness in how our schools are funded cannot be overstated. Transparent communication is essential for building trust and ensuring that all students receive the education they deserve.

We look forward to your prompt response and working more closely with you all to address these concerns and communicate these decisions more widely.

Sincerely,

Mykela Collins, George Manierre Elementary School, Co-Chair

Jason Emeott, LaSalle Language Academy, Parent Representative

Baltazar Enriquez, Farragut Career Academy, Community Representative

Daniel Faulkner, LaSalle Language Academy, Non-Teacher Representative

Hermelinda Flores, Luther Burbank Elementary School, Chair

Luz Maria Flores, Back of the Yards College Prep High School, Chair

Agnos Fong, LaSalle Language Academy, Parent Representative

Corey Garcia, Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy, Parent Representative

Margarita García
, Irene C. Hernández Middle School, Parent Representative

Martha R. Garcia de Godinez, Eric Solorio Academy High School, Community Representative

Socorro Gaytan, Eric Solorio Academy High School, Community Representative

Carrie Glaspie, John Hay Community Academy, Parent Representative

Juanita Guerra, Zapata Elementary School, Parent Representative

Joann Hardeman, Hirsch Metropolitan High School, Parent Representative

Colum Lavelle, LaSalle Language Academy, Community Representative

Clent Lewis, Bernhard Moos Elementary School, Parent Representative

Karonda Locust, Willa Cather Elementary School, Chair

Lorena López, Back of the Yards College Prep High School, Parent Representative

Norma Lopez-Murillo, Steinmetz College Prep, Chair; Belmont-Cragin Elementary, Parent Representative; and Dr. Jorge Prieto Math and Science Academy, Community Representative

Consuelo Martinez, Ray Graham Training Center High School, Parent Representative; and Back of the Yards College Prep High School, Community Representative

Steven McClellan, LaSalle Language Academy, Community Representative

Uriah Muhammad, LaSalle Language Academy, Chair

Lourdes Neris, LaSalle Language Academy, Parent Representative

Darlene O'Banner, Earle STEM Elementary School, Community Representative

Gabriela Oria, McCormick Elementary, Co-Chair; and Madero Middle School, Community Representative

Maria R. Owens, Hirsch Metropolitan High School, Co-Chair

Renye Owens, Air Force Academy High School, Chair

Michele Polkowski, LaSalle Language Academy, Teacher Representative

José Quiles, Steinmetz College Prep, Co-Chair; Belmont-Cragin Elementary, Community Representative; and Mary Lyon Elementary, Community Representative

Edgardo Ramirez, Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy, Parent Representative

Yadira Ramirez, Lara Elementary Academy, Parent Representative

Eva M. Rodriguez, Sor Juana Elementary School, Community Representative

Rachael Russ, LaSalle Language Academy, Parent Representative

Elvia Sandoval, Peter Cooper Dual Language Academy, Community Representative

Rachinda Smallwood, Bernhard Moos Elementary School, Parent Representative

Silvia Torres, Seward Community Art Academy Elementary, Community Representative

Jaqueline Vargas, Eric Solorio Academy High School, Chair; and Socorro Sandoval, Elementary School, Parent Representative

Julia Vega, Kanoon Magnet Elementary School, Chair

Abigail Vences, Mather High School, Parent Representative

Maida Wallen, LaSalle Language Academy, Parent Representative

Yolanda Williams, Michele Clark Academic Prep Magnet High School, Parent Representative

Zoe Zaranko, LaSalle Language Academy, Teacher Representative

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The need for openness in how our schools are funded cannot be overstated. Transparent communication is essential for building trust and ensuring that all students receive the education they deserve.

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