Two of the main adversaries in the battle over last year’s legislation the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association and Designs for Change reached an early compromise this year, and the Chicago Board of Education made no objections, according to the bill’s sponsor,
DOUBLE-WHAMMY Chicago stands to gain about $40 million under a change to existing laws that currently cost Chicago (and other districts under tax caps) both local and state revenues: Under one whammy, property tax caps impose a 5-percent ceiling on increases to a school district’s tax collections, cutting off some access to new revenue from a growing tax base. Under the other whammy, state officials calculate general state aid as if the district could access all the revenue from its tax base, which makes the district look “richer” than it is and eligible for less state aid.
$10 million for the reading block grant, which is aimed at ensuring all children can read at “grade level” by 3rd grade, plus $8 million for a new governor’s summer bridge initiative, modeled after Chicago’s summer Bridge Program for low-scoring students.
Chicago’s Chapter 1 funds, which are distributed on the basis of the number of low-income children a school enrolls, have been frozen at $261 million since 1995 even though the number of low-income students in the system has grown by 27,500. The funds constitute the major discretionary money available to principals and LSCs.