With the district cutting per-pupil allocation by 4 percent last year and deciding to keep it flat this coming year, charter advocates say they'll be operating at 2008 funding levels. And while they understand the district is facing a $612 million deficit, they want CPS to increase charters' share of the budget.
CPS' funding shortages has led to some charters freezing and cutting teacher salaries and others shelving expansion plans, says Andrew Broy , president of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools .
"The district funds certain priorities at a higher per-pupil allocation," said Broy. "We're asking them to treat us accordingly and provide an enhanced charter school allocation."
The charter school network sent a letter to schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard and Board of Education president David Vitale Tuesday requesting that CPS reconsider its plans to keep funding flat in the coming year. Network officials planned to speak to board members today.
Broy says unlike neighborhood schools, which receive 100 percent per-pupil funds from the district, charter schools get 70 to 76 percent funding for each student. Charter school teachers now pay their teachers 10 percent less than neighborhood schools, which will hurt in hiring good teachers, charter supporters say.
"It's meant larger class sizes within schools and elimination of certain programs," Broy said. "It's hurting charters' ability to be competitive around teacher salaries. If we can't attract and retain high quality teachers in charters, the enterprise is threatened."