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Access Living's November 2009 critique of CPS budget has been ignored for too long... Critical review of how Chicago budgets for special education

Susan Notes:

Ignored by the mainstream media, this report is important. And this is one more reason to support Substance with your subscription and your donation.

[Substance editor's note. The following study was originally published by Access Living Chicago in November 2009. It was released to Chicago's corporate press and school officials at that time. Except for a brief mention in the Chicago Tribune, the findings of this study, many of which are scandalous, have been ignored. Substance is publishing the entire report in the January 2010 print edition and offers it to our on-line readers here as well.

by Rodney Estvan
Because of charts and graphs, you need to read this article over at Substance. Here's just a snippet to get you started:

. . . Based on statements appearing in the budget it appears that that some costs for elementary and high school services for Chicago’s students with disabilities have been transferred to charter, and contract schools. In the FY 2010 budget it is noted that: "An additional $65.8M is budgeted in a Citywide unit (12670) for special education charter payments and tuition for private and non-traditional placements." (20). The CPS stated at the FY 2010 budget hearings that it does not know what the school based budgets are for charter schools (21). In a response to a request for information from Catalyst magazine, CPS provided data indicating it projected a 2% decline in tuition for private special education schools in its cluster program (22). CPS Unit 12670 has the following listed in relation to tuition in FY2010 budget: account 54305 "tuition $61,346,788," account 54320 "student tuition - charter schools $270,000,000." (23). Account 54320 is a newly created account which did not exist in FY09, prior to this year per student payments made to charter schools came from account 54305 which also included most of the private school placements for disabled students with a smaller amount coming from Unit 11670. The changing of accounts and merging of different tuition expenditures makes tracking year to year changes very difficult. Issues relating to charter school funding and special education are discussed in greater detail below. . . .

— Rodney Estvan


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