Budgets to increase at Austin schools

Eleven of 17 Austin schools to get small funding boosts

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By ANALISA TROFIMUK

AustinTalks

Fewer Austin schools will see funding cuts next year compared to this year.

Six of Austin's 17 schools will see cuts ranging from -0.17 percent to -6.5 percent, while the remaining 11 schools will see increases ranging from 0.06 percent to 3.97 percent.

George Leland Elementary School is facing the largest budget cut at -6.5 percent, leaving the school with $3,683,437 for the year, while John Hay Community Academy will receive a 3.97 percent increase, with $2,434,529.

Last year, school budgets were not available this early. Chicago Teachers Union Communications Director Chris Geovanis said the earlier release makes it slightly easier for principals to staff the schools before the start of the school year.

"Without additional funds to hire in more teachers, paraprofessionals, counselors, social workers, school nurses and other vital staff, we can expect that the hardships that students and CPS members experience because of the mayor's constant shortchanging of educational needs will, in fact, persist," Geovanis said.

Jennie Biggs, communications director of the parent advocacy group Raise Your Hand, said the last five years of budgeting delays has been a nightmare.

"There is a general lack of trust in those who have the fiduciary responsibility for our public school system and the hundreds of thousands of children in it," Biggs said.

CPS did not get respond to requests for comment.

"We're glad schools received budgets in April. We're glad that schools are not facing more huge cuts, but the public needs to remember: This is how it should be. This is what we should expect. Schools should get their budgets in April, and we should not face cuts every year," Biggs said.

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