Monday, May 9, 2011

Culture of Calm Is Threatened by Budget Cuts

Culture of Calm funds were used by Harlan High School to send some of their students to Detroit on a trip. I found out about this when I went to one of their LSC meetings. Via Chicago News Coop:
Derrion’s death in 2009 shocked the city and the nation. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and top Justice Department officials flew to Chicago to announce a $500,000 federal grant to help Fenger restore a peaceful learning environment.

Shortly afterward, Ron Huberman, then the C.P.S. chief, announced the Culture of Calm initiative to reduce violence in some of the city’s most troubled high schools. Chosen as one of six focus schools, [Roberto Clemente High School] received $1.1 million to put the program into effect.

Over all, the district received $260 million in stimulus money under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Of that sum, Culture of Calm received $40 million for the 2010-11 school year, the second-largest amount distributed to district programs, behind early childhood programming.

C.P.S. officials announced in March that stimulus aid would end in the next budget cycle, placing Culture of Calm on the chopping block.

With federal financing gone, Ms. Pacione-Zayas and others face an uncertain future. Joshua Gray, the district official who oversees the violence-prevention initiative, said each of the schools participating in the program had been allocated different amounts and used the money differently. Many hired new staff members, while others had an existing staff member absorb the duties of carrying out the program.

“Until we know what all of our budgets are, we won’t really have an answer,” Mr. Gray said, “and that’s concerning for everybody.”

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