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Robert Winner

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Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is closing 54 schools

Barbara Byrd Bennett Chief Executive of CPS announced that 54 schools will be closed at the end of the school year because the system has a 1 billion dollar deficit in a story carried by NBC News. Ms Bennett stated " the district is 20 percent under capacity — almost 100,000 students — leaving many schools half-empty. The district will save $500 million to $800 million for each school that is closed, she has said in community forums and news interviews leading up to Thursday's announcement."

I am no math genius but if I multiply 500 Million by 54 schools I get 27 Billion and if by the high estimate of 800 Million I get 43 billion. That would suggest a over kill to me. Further I could not find a decrease in Chicago population ...

Where did these kids go to? Is closing 54 schools really the answer? What are the options?

Since this is happening in many large cities .... In order to be better informed and better prepared what would you suggest to fix the existing problems?

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    Mar 24 2013: Has there been a drop in the birth rate? You can have static poulation but a drop in school age children.
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      Mar 25 2013: I found the following statement which may serve as an explaination:

      The decline came as new condominium towers have risen along Chicago’s skyline. Those buildings often are filled by singles and retirement-age couples who no longer have children at home, resulting in smaller households than the families who move out of the city to find cheaper housing and jobs,

      I do, however, have a problem in the article. School budgets are submitted yearly. So did 100,000 kids move out of town last year in order to cause a one billion dollar deficit and a 20% capacity rate drop?

      I tend to think there is a lot more to this story and the politics of both sides are seeking favorable public opinion which is common with political issues.

      My opinion .... it is a wonder that anything is ever resolved when the facts are seldom evident or available.

      Thanks for the reply. Bob.
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        Mar 25 2013: It does seem like a degree of mismanagement. The public school system I work in has the schools funded per student down to the point where we can lose a teacher mid-year if the student numbers drop.
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          Mar 26 2013: We fund schools based on seat time. If a student skips, transfers, or is out on sick leave then money is subtracted by the number of hours the student was not there in the seat. As you say if the funding reaches a specific level then a "non" core course may be dropped. As an example say the first on the drop priority list was Art then all Art classes would be rescheduled to other courses and the teacher would be laid off in accordance with the terms set forth in their contract. Each teacher is told where they are on the "bubble".

          I am certain that mismanagement is a part of most "business" issues ... however I also believe that the budget cuts at the federal level are political and that they are designed for blame in future elections. It would be easy to select thousands of ineffective programs for elimination prior to reducing education funding. Even programs that have not went into effect could lose funding until funds become available. Why education?

          Thanks for the response. Bob.

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