Steve Rhodes tries to understand how
the Chicago Public Schools claims $600 million in cuts to “central office.”

Rhodes says the claims defy both mathematics and physics.

In fact, the cuts are not cuts, and “central office” does not mean central office.

He writes:

“But this is CPS make-believe land, which is a quasi-quantum place where the rules of earthbound mathematics do not apply.

“[T]he entire central office budget for the current 2012-2013 fiscal year is just $233 million, up from about $200 million in 2010,” Karp reports.

“How do you cut $600 million from $200 million? Just make the claim 400 million times!

“But it turns out Central Office spending is actually up $33 million since 2010.

“Now, CPS claims it has cut $600 million from the Central Office since 2011, so maybe in between 2010 and 2011 the budget went up by $633 million. That’s the only way CPS’s claim can be true.

“But the story gets even more extraordinary.

“The biggest addition since that time was the Office of Portfolio, created in 2011 to authorize and manage new schools.

“The portfolio office went from an initial budget of $5 million to $88 million in 2013, and has now been incorporated into a new Office of Innovation.”

“How is an increase in Central Office spending a cut in Central Office spending? By redefining the terms!”