Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Get Schooled!

In his "city of Chicago" address earlier this week, the Mayor called for a state bailout of the CPS, saying,"We're asking that the General Assembly accept its responsibility to fund education under the state constitution." Fact is, the constitution says little about the state's role in education, only that "The State shall provide for an efficient system of high quality public educational institutions and services...The State has the primary responsibility for financing the system of public education." After this vaguely worded clause in Article 10, they do not elaborate.

The Chicago Public Schools expect a deficit of over three hundred million.According to an annual report(which can be read here) they received over 1.5 billion in state aid over the last fiscal year,a slight increase from 2004. This year, the city expects about 1.6. In his budget, the Governor is likely to add as much as one hundred million to the district's current line item.

Though this proposal smacks of the CTA bailout of sessions past, there is ample evidence that the CPS, at least, is trying to make ends meet. Their overall budget has decreased slightly in the past two years. Classroom expenditures have gone up, while administrative expenses have declined by four percent. Increased state funding for the CPS is a worthy cause. But, reform in the way education dollars are disbursed is an even worthier one.

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