Chicago Public Schools Must Repay $87 Million From ‘Coding Error’

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The state of Illinois will distribute $87.5 million to hundreds of school districts that were underpaid due to a ‘coding error’ – while seeking reimbursement from Chicago Public Schools, which have obtained the funds by mistake.

The credit is part of the $46.5 billion spending plan passed by lawmakers on Saturday. The Illinois State Board of Education said a contractor made a “coding error” in the spring of 2018 during the initial implementation of a new public school funding formula.

As a result, 14 school systems owe between $1 million and $5 million, while 565 owe up to $100,000 according to the IBSE. A total of 762 school districts have been underpaid over the past four years.

Meanwhile, the state is trying to recover the $87 million it mistakenly paid to CPS, its largest school district. The ISBE said another 52 school systems were overpaid by a total of $3,396 during the affected period, and it will try to recover funds from districts that received at least $10 more than they did. ‘should have.

“The error represents less than a half percentage point of the total funding that was allocated statewide” through Illinois’ funding formula during this period, the Illinois superintendent said Wednesday. state education Carmen Ayala in a letter. “All affected organizational units will soon receive a letter from the ISBE advising them of the amount owed to them by the state.”

In her letter, Ayala said the ISBE is “in communication with CPS regarding an extended reimbursement period, so that classrooms are not affected.” CPS is in the process of formulating its overall budget for the upcoming school year; that of this year was 9.3 billion dollars.

A CPS spokesperson said in a statement Friday that the district was “in discussion with the ISBE and the General Assembly regarding impacts to CPS and the state budget.”

ISBE spokeswoman Jackie Matthews said the coding error overstated the enrollment of students attending state-licensed charter schools in districts with more than one such school. . The error only affected CPS enrollment data, as no other district has multiple state-licensed charter schools, according to the ISBE. The problem has continued for years because the state’s formula takes into account the previous year’s calculations.

There are approximately 58,000 CPS students enrolled in over 100 charter schools. CPS has 330,000 students across the district.

Matthews said the ISBE identified the discrepancy when preparing a report commissioned in December by a group to review the implementation of the state funding formula, which was enacted by the former Governor Bruce Rauner in 2017.

Ayala said the ISBE had “additional protocols in place to ensure accuracy going forward” and started the process of pursuing an external audit of the formula, which is supposed to prioritize districts to low real estate assets.

The miscalculation of the formula was raised Wednesday during an executive committee hearing at Illinois House.

“I heard about it one day last week and I was like, ‘What the hell is this? said House Majority Leader Greg Harris, a Chicago Democrat and chief budget negotiator.

Rep. Avery Bourne, R-Morrisonville, wanted to know how the CPS would return the money and how the error would affect the funding formula going forward.

Harris said, “it’s a big, complicated question that has big, complicated answers that … we’re going to have to figure out to figure out.”

Bourne suggested addressing the issue in an education credits committee.

“I think it has major implications that warrant a longer discussion, and I know it’s probably not the right place, but I think it could be a big deal now and in the future,” he said. she declared.

During the House budget debate early Saturday, Harris noted that the miscalculation occurred on Rauner’s watch.

“I just wish that when the Rauner administration made that mistake, they corrected it so we don’t find ourselves in that position today,” he said.

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