Principal Edwina Thompson and LSC finalize and approve 2023-24 budget at special meeting

By Kailee Melendez and Jocelyn Mora

Of the Local School Council’s many tasks, one of the most important is the annual approval of school budgets. 

During a special meeting on May 2, Lane Principal Edwina Thompson presented the Lane Local School Council (LSC) with the proposed 2023-24 school budget. Later in the meeting, the budget got approved. Next school year, Lane’s budget will increase by approximately $1 million; this is due to the increase in the cost of living, a 3.5% increase according to Thompson. 

A possible fluctuation in enrollment could cause this number to change slightly next spring. This year, Lane Tech’s enrollment was 4,386 students and according to Principal Thompson, that number is projected to drop even more. 

”On our 20th day next year, we will more than likely not be at 4,480 students, which will then affect how many dollars we get in the spring of 2024,” Thompson said.

An additional $2,000 was added to Lane’s budget to help better fund the cluster and English Language Learners programs. Although the district pays for diverse learner teachers’ salaries and special education classroom assistants, they also give some dollars in the budget to cover other expenses to better support those students. 

The supplemental aid section of the budget also increased with Lane’s poverty index rising by .01%, totaling 35.52%. Although CPS already provides free lunch, the poverty index is still used to help calculate funding. This year, Lane will receive $1.69 million based on that index compared to $1.59 million last year. The effect of an increased amount of students submitting waivers has been a rise of eligibility. 

After paying teachers and setting aside funds to fix the school, the total budget will be left with $306,332.81, according to Thompson. She had several ideas on how to spend this remaining sum, including the additions of several staff positions. 

The proposed plan for these funds includes hiring an extra counselor, a physics teacher, a social science teacher for juniors and a Spanish teacher. 

Lane’s class of 2024 is currently the smallest class at Lane, with under 900 students. Since the class of 2025, Lane’s current largest class, will be taking junior classes next year, the school sees a need for more junior level social science and physics courses. 

Within the available funding, Principal Thompson also wants to improve Lane’s counseling department. 

“I do think that it’s vital that we look at the numbers of students per counselor. Their caseload is over 400,” Thompson said.

Thompson also said that the district recommends Lane has additional counselors to meet the district suggestions.

The reason for an additional Spanish teacher being included in the funding is due to the fact that the district was funding a part-time bilingual instructor, an English Learners (EL) support person. In the past, CPS funded a part-time position. Now, the Lane staff member that was in the part-time position, will need to be funded fully by the school. 

Thompson had secondary plans with the remainder of the funds after the addition of the necessary staff positions. Another priority is minimizing class sizes by adding sections, which would total out to approximately $180,000.

“And then the third choice that the staff selected was social and emotional activities to support students,” Thompson said.

Thompson also said she wants to increase social and emotional wellbeing with the introduction of guest speakers, agencies with free support and counseling groups.