CPS Neighborhood School News – August 2015

By Daniel E Varanauski, Schools Chair
This summer has brought CPS local schools some good news, some bad and some really bad news. Less than a week after the Chicago Board of Education voted to borrow as much as $1.16 billion by selling bonds, another financial ratings agency has lowered its credit rating for the nation’s third-largest school system to “junk” status.
In a news release, Fitch Ratings Agency cited CPS’ $1.1 billion budget deficit for the 2015-16 school year, its reliance on borrowing money to pay for operations and its acrimonious relationship with the Chicago Teachers Union for the downgrade. Upcoming labor negotiations are likely to be extremely challenging! Due to these budgetary changes, CPS schools are seeing budget cuts that could force layoffs, increased class sizes and more reductions to specialty programs, like art and music.


Agassiz – Overall funding increased by $92,121 or 3.3% from fiscal year 2015. Enrollment should increase by 17 students during the same time period. 
 – Overall funding increased by $70,948 or 1.5% from fiscal year 2015. Student enrollment will increase by 34 students.


Mayer – Overall funding decreased by $119,850 or 2.2% from fiscal year 2015. However, student enrollment increased by 17 students during the same time period!
Lincoln Park HS – Overall funding decreased by $295,995 or 2.1% from fiscal year 2015. Student enrollment decreased by 30 students during the same time period.


There has also been a major change for some schools.

Agassiz will now start at 7:45 am and release will be at 2:45 pm.
Alcott from 7:30 am – 2:30 pm.
Lincoln Park HS will now be 9:00 am – 4:15 pm.
Mayer will remain the same time from 8:30 am – 3:30 pm.

HIGHLIGHTING LINCOLN PARK HS: Lincoln Park High School is proud to recognize a number of major accomplishments for the 2014-2015 school year. The school was recognized yet again this year by both the Washington Post and US News and World Report as one of the top high schools in Illinois! Congrats LPHS!
The graduating class set a new standard for Lincoln Park seniors in attendance rates, grades, and college acceptance. Collectively, the students earned more than $16 million in scholarships, including multiple winners of the prestigious Gates Millennium, Posse, and Wentcher scholarships. The school excelled in the Arts, earning a #4 ranking in the IHSA Class AA Music Sweepstakes. The chamber choir performed at All State and in NYC.  The school performed joint concerts with the DePaul Wind Symphony, North Shore Band, and Northeastern Illinois. Overall, nearly 1,000 students participate in Drama, Instrumental Music, or Vocal Music.
The school’s visual artists won design contests, exhibited their work in local art shows, and put on school art shows. Multiple students medaled in the All City Exhibitions, and several earned scholarships from the School of the Art Institute. Finally, the entire Social Studies department was honored by the Chicago Metro History Fair organization as the recipient of the SPARK Teaching Award. The school welcomes ANY AND ALL community involvement – this is your neighborhood high school!
If you are interested in contributing to the school due to the large funding loss, please contact folphs@gmail.com for more information.