The School District’s $3.2 billion spending plan for 2010-11 includes more than $200 million in spending increases but also $76 million in cuts and savings, mostly achieved through a 6 percent across-the-board reduction to administrative budgets. The net effect is a $138 million increase, or growth of more than 4 percent.
Much of that change is eaten up by a few major cost drivers: negotiated wage increases, increased charter school expenses, anticipated increases in electric rates, rising pension contributions, and increased borrowing costs for the District’s capital budget.
But District officials plan to devote more than $60 million to new Imagine 2014 initiatives, in addition to continuing “Phase One,” which was put in place this year. Phase One initiatives include expanded counseling services in middle and high schools and reduced class sizes in early grades.
Here are some big-ticket items for the coming year:
- An expanded, full-day summer program at 117 schools, serving 50,000 students, will cost $47 million, up from $20 million last year.
- A new peer review program for teachers at 45 schools will cost $15 million to pay for consulting teachers.
- The District is buying new literacy texts for its Empowerment Schools, switching to a series produced by McGraw-Hill at a cost of $10 million; Superintendent Ackerman wants “a much more structured, more teacher-directed” approach in these schools.
- At least six schools converted to Promise Academies will offer a longer school day and year.
Other initiatives include an inschool suspension program, 16 new ESOL teachers and three “Newcomer Centers” for immigrant families, a second Re-engagement Center in Hunting Park, and a second, arts-focused Regional Talent Center located at Audenried High School.