All Articles Tagged "education funding"
(AJC) — Between 1996 and 2001, Atlanta Public Schools raked in more than $82 million from a federal program designed to help schools and libraries get Internet access and maintain their electronic and telecommunications infrastructure. But a damning investigation nearly a decade ago, which revealed that APS squandered millions of dollars in the program and led to a three-year jail term on bribery charges for a school official, stopped Atlanta’s money flow from the program. Now, APS officials want the pipeline re-opened. Since 2001, APS has submitted more than $50 million worth of expenses they believe qualify for “E-rate” reimbursement, to the Universal Services Administrative Company, which administers a $2.25 billion fund to reimburse school and library districts for expenditures associated with Internet infrastructure.
(Wall Street Journal) — Middle-class public schools educate the majority of U.S. students but pay lower teacher salaries, have larger class sizes and spend less per pupil than low-income and wealthy schools, according to a report to be issued Monday. The report, “Incomplete: How Middle-Class Schools Aren’t Making the Grade,” also found middle-class schools are underachieving. It pointed to their national and international test scores and noted that 28% of their graduates earn a college degree by age 26, compared to 17% for lower-income students and 47% for upper-income students. Third Way, a Democratic think tank that claims to “advocate for private sector economic growth,” based its report on data from the Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Education, and national and international testing programs. The report doesn’t include parochial or private-school students.
(Chicago Sun Times) — Chicago School Board members Wednesday unanimously approved a budget packing a $150 million property tax increase as school officials offered elementary teachers raises totaling $15 million to work a longer day. Meanwhile, parents, clergy and others turned up the heat on all parties involved to find a way to achieve a longer school day and year. Scores of protestors lined the sidewalk outside the Board of Education, wearing stickers reading “90 more minutes now.’’ “We can no longer stand for the under-education and the mis-education of our children,’’ Rev. David Popel, pastor of Brotherly Love Baptist Church in Lawndale, told the throng. “I’m asking our mayor, our [Schools] CEO to find a way to make sure our children are properly educated.’’
(Chicago News Cooperative) — Chicago’s public schools face “fiscal calamity” unless administrators take steps to shore up the district’s underfunded teacher pensions and get spending under control, the Civic Federation said in its annual budget analysis released Monday. While the Federation said it supports the district’s $5.9 billion budget for fiscal year 2011, the report noted other threats to the district’s long-term financial position, including its repeated reliance on a reserve fund to deal with budget deficits. CPS managers also “must continue to emphasize cutting costs if they are going to head off an enormous fiscal crisis in just two years,” Federation President Laurence Msall said.
(Chicago News Cooperative) — When Chicago Public Schools officials started talking about the district’s 2012 budget, they repeatedly directed the public eye to one number: a $712 million deficit. Officials cited the number when denying teachers a 4 percent contractual raise, making unpopular cuts to programming and, just last week, when announcing plans to increase property taxes to the maximum amount allowed by state law. But a number that went unadvertised until the final budget details became public last Friday was the $470 million reserve fund that the district recently built up through the arrival of unanticipated state payments and other sources. The district plans to use a portion of the reserve to plug the budget gap. CPS officials say the $712 million deficit figure was based on numbers known at the time, and that the district received unexpected money as recently as July, allowing it to start the fiscal year with the $470 million in reserve.
(Chicago News Cooperative) — For the first time since 2007, Chicago Public Schools will seek to increase the amount of money it collects from property taxes to raise an estimated $150 million over the next fiscal year–and likely add to Chicago residents’ property tax bills. School district officials said the tax increase–to the maximum allowed by state law–is needed to help reduce a $712 million deficit. The tax increase is part of the district’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2012 that was released Friday. Asked if Mayor Rahm Emanuel had signed off on the politically sensitive decision, school district officials said the Board of Education, not Emanuel, decides whether to raise property taxes. But while the school system does develop its budget and has taxing authority, it has been intertwined with the mayor’s office since Mayor Richard M. Daley took control of public schools in 1995. The current CPS leadership and school board were hand-picked by Emanuel.
(AJC) — In February 2010, some of Atlanta’s top business leaders realized they had a problem. For a decade, they had aligned themselves with Beverly Hall, the superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools. They willingly accepted Hall’s story line of rebirth in an urban school system. They promoted and sometimes exaggerated Hall’s achievements — for her benefit and for their own. State officials, though, were suggesting gains by Atlanta schools resulted from widespread cheating. Suddenly, the deal between Hall and the business community took on Faustian overtones. The way business leaders responded underscores their complicity in creating the façade of success that hid a decade of alleged wrongdoing, an examination by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows. Their reaction also hints at the role business executives might take in rebuilding the school district’s reputation amid Hall’s departure and a still-unfolding cheating scandal.
(Chicago Tribune) – Illinois lawmakers got rave reviews nationally for major education reforms aimed at improving teacher performance, but the state schools chief is warning they didn’t provide enough money to put the plan in place. The result is that it could take longer than advertised for the much-heralded changes to kick in, and education officials are scrambling to find cash to plug the gaps. ”In many ways, we are making the most aggressive reforms in the history of the state here for education, and we keep doing it for less and less money, and there’s a point, there’s a breaking point for all that, where things will fall through the cracks,” said Chris Koch, the state’s school superintendent. The new law, signed last month by Gov. Pat Quinnand supported by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, garnered significant attention because it will make it easier to lengthen school days, simpler to fire incompetent teachers and harder for Chicago Public Schoolsteachers to strike.
(Chicago News Cooperative) — The state budget Gov. Pat Quinn signed June 30 is missing a key component for education advocates: money. Lawmakers stripped more than $500,000 from Quinn’s proposed budget that would have helped implement Senate Bill 7, a sweeping education reform bill lauded as a national model, partly because it eases the process of dumping poorly rated teachers. The money would have paid for a contract with a private firm to handle training to revamp teacher and principal evaluations. Now the bill’s supporters, which include Mayor Rahm Emanuel, are turning to Race to the Top, a federal grant program that rewards states for innovative education policies.
(AJC) — With backing from top state leaders, a committee of lawmakers and educators on Thursday launched a months-long study that could lead to some of the biggest changes in public school financing in Georgia in almost 25 years. Officials acknowledged that some are skeptical about significant reforms resulting from the committee’s work. The Quality Basic Education Act, which set up the current state funding formula for schools, has largely gone unchanged since its creation in 1985, despite the work of five previous committees. ”Expectations are relatively low,” John Brown, director of the House Budget Office, told the latest committee at its kick-off meeting. “I wouldn’t call them [the previous committees] failures. It’s just that we didn’t get recommendations that translated into change.”