CPS sees another $45M budget hit after agreeing to return $87.5M to state over 8 years after funding blunder

Chicago Public Schools has agreed to pay the state $10.9 million a year for the next eight years to pay back $87.5 million that was accidentally funded to the district — and the district expects to make up the mistake this year. The cause will lose another $45 million in funding.

The payment plan comes after months of negotiations between CPS officials and the Illinois State Board of Education, which asked the district to return the money in April when it discovered the error.

A contractor working with the state during former Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration made a coding error that inflated student enrollment at public charter schools in similar multi-school districts, officials said in the spring. CPS is the only district with more than one state-authorized charter school, so it was the only system to receive money that it shouldn’t have.

The error caused CPS to receive $87.5 million from the 2018-19 school year through this past year that should have gone to other districts. ISBE said the amount represents 0.3% of total state funding — more than $28 billion — distributed during that time.

CPS refunds will be distributed to a total of 762 of the state’s 922 school systems that owe at least $10 — including 14 that owe between $1 million and $5 million, 15 and six that owe between $500,000 and $1 million. The remaining 168 in numbers are due. .

CPS spokeswoman Mary Fergus said the eight-year payment plan “will provide minimal impact to our students.” But “the biggest concern for CPS is the fact” that the state’s revisions to its funding formula also mean CPS could lose an additional $45 million this year from its previous estimates. will

CPS did not say how the new projection would affect schools.

The state introduced evidence-based funding in August 2017, implementing a formula that calculates districts’ allocations based on the needs of their students, with the goal of equalizing more resources in under-resourced school systems. To be distributed evenly.

But based on the state’s own calculations, CPS is only 68 percent funded. That means the district needs about $1.8 billion more each year than it currently receives from the state to adequately serve its students in all schools.

Given the shortfall, some members of the Chicago Board of Education have expressed frustration with the requested payment. CPS is asking the school board to approve the payment plan at its monthly meeting Wednesday.

ISBE spokeswoman Jackie Matthews said that “each year the payment represents one-tenth of one percent of CPS’s total operating budget” and thus should have a minimal impact on classrooms, while “the contract Ensures that evidence-based funding formulas are faithfully implemented.”

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