Quick Ref
 
To: Faculty, Other Academic Appointees, and Benefits Eligible Staff
From: Daniel Diermeier, Provost
Subject: Recommendations of the K-12 Education Working Group
Date: April 16, 2019
 
The message below details new resources and benefits for faculty, other academic appointees, and benefits eligible staff related to K-12 education for dependent children. As you will see, some resources and benefits will be available for the 2019-2020 academic year; others, including a revision to the tuition remission benefit at the Laboratory Schools, will be in effect for the 2020-2021 academic year.
 
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In October 2017, following a petition focused on tuition and other associated costs of the Laboratory Schools, I convened a faculty working group to review the affordability and accessibility of K-12 education in and around Hyde Park. The concerns identified by the working group extended beyond the costs of the Laboratory Schools. In response to these concerns, I established a Phase 2 working group – comprised of faculty and staff – who have now made recommendations in a variety of areas.
 
I would like to thank those involved in both working groups who dedicated valuable time and careful thought to these issues, always keeping in mind our ultimate goal of attracting and retaining the highest quality scholars and staff and cultivating an environment that is supportive of them and their families.
 
Based on the recommendations of the working group, we are implementing several changes for the 2019-2020 academic year, including:
 
  • Developing a K-12 resource guide for current and prospective members of the University community. The Office of the Provost will: (a) identify a point person with deep knowledge of the Chicago Public Schools; (b) work with deans, department chairs and Human Resources to ensure that faculty appointment letters highlight available resources; and (c) implement an annual survey to help inform our K-12 resources and support.
 
  • Deepening the University’s relationship with the Chicago Public Schools in our neighborhoods, through the collective efforts of the Office of Civic Engagement, the Urban Education Institute, the School of Social Service Administration and others.
 
  • Developing a housing resource guide and implementing a survey so we can more fully understand the housing needs of our community.
 
Importantly, the working group also recommended substantial changes to the Lab Schools tuition remission benefit. I will be reviewing and considering the working group’s detailed recommendations, with an eye towards improving the benefit for both academic appointees and staff. It is essential that this is done in a way that is sustainable for the University, which is a complicated task given the budgetary interplay between the Lab Schools and the University. Working in partnership with the Lab Schools, we will address this matter thoughtfully so that the solution will be meaningful to Lab parents, viable for the University, and will not require annual adjustments. We will announce changes to the benefit later this calendar year, with those changes taking effect by the 2020-2021 school year.
 
For the 2019-2020 school year, I again strongly encourage any Lab families experiencing financial hardship to apply for financial aid by May 3, 2019. Please note that, for all members of the University community, the historic application fee of $35 will be waived, and it will be refunded to anyone who has already paid for this admission cycle. For questions about Lab Schools financial aid, please contact financialaid@ucls.uchicago.edu.
 
In addition, for those employees who are eligible for the Faculty Children Scholarship Plan and also live in one of the nine mid-south neighborhoods around the University, we are launching a diverse learner benefit pilot program.  Under this three-year pilot, the University will provide a tuition benefit that can be applied towards tuition at Hyde Park Day School and City Elementary. For more information and important details about this benefit please visit: https://humanresources.uchicago.edu/benefits/tuition/employees/facoap.shtml.
 
The Office of the Provost will continue to keep you informed about this work; however, should you have any questions in the interim, please contact Darren Reisberg, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Deputy Provost, at reisberg@uchicago.edu or 773-702-7618.