Now to keep filling up those slots… (and the usual ranting)

May 25, 2010 at 11:49 pm 92 comments

I see people are asking about the next round for gifted/classical/magnet, etc.  I guess we’re on 3rd round now?  I pretty much think that at this point they kind of stop with the official “rounds” and just keep filling spots as they come open.  Typically people might get a call and have a few days to make a decision… then they keep working their way down from there.

Of course CPS funding is still a wildcard here.  I’m really curious to see if they’ll suddenly announce that gifted/classical classes can go to 35 (or something higher than 28 for lower grades) and whether they’ll fill these up.  Yikes. 

I’m still puzzled by what’s happening at the different schools, even within the gifted program alone.  I’ve been told that my son is losing French, but have heard other schools will keep it.  Was some deal made behind the scenes?  Are we keeping something they’re losing?  I’m still totally uncertain about the decisions on half day K.  It seems to vary a lot.  Some principals seem to find money, some don’t.  Or maybe it’s a matter of priority.  It’s aggravating that within our city there seems to be disparity between the schools.

I know I should be doing more to lead the protest against the ridiculous situation we find ourselves in with funding.  I don’t get how Illinois comes off as one of the worst states in terms of education funding.  We don’t have low taxes (do we?) so what is the money being spent on? 

And finally, a comment on Catholic schools.  These are funding in part by the parish (and or deep pockets of the Catholic church,) no?  It’s a way to keep themselves in business by “creating new customers.”  My boss is sending her son to a great-sounding Catholic school in the suburbs.  Sounds amazing (other than the religion part.)  $4,500 a year.  There is NO WAY that is covering their expenses.  No way.  I asked her about it and she said that it’s funded by the parish (and they told her that plenty of people complain about the $4,500 tuition.)  Cry babies.  Someone send them a British School brochure!  Seriously though, I wondered once again if I should bail from the city.  I have no complaints.  None.  My son has had 2 fantastic teachers, the school is great, but I keep telling him “you should try out for the musical next year.”  And have to follow it with “if there is one.”   Our music teacher was cut.  I really don’t want it to be the schools that drive me out of the city.  Sure the crime, the pigeons, the tourists carrying American Girl dolls.  But please, not the schools!

Entry filed under: Applying to schools.

The cuts Whose credit card is education funding going on?

92 Comments Add your own

  • 1. a dad  |  May 26, 2010 at 9:21 am

    I was told by someone associated with the Options program that if the final budgets from CPS determine 35 kids to a class that this would apply to all programs including gifted. However, the gifted programs would not be accepting more students, they would instead be combining classes to end up with the 35 kids to one teacher ratio. How the individual schools do this is up to them I guess. If your school has a really strong parent and fundraising committee then it is likely they can raise the funds to save some teachers or programs. I think though that with the proposed cuts there are also mandates from CPS so some positions cannot be saved and must be cut across the board.
    While I applaud the parent efforts to fundraise and save programs, I think it sets a dangerous precedent. If CPS sees that they can get away with this they will never retake responsibility for funding these programs (language, art, music, etc.) again. I find it interesting that they did not come out and cut bussing. While it would be very inconvenient for some families it seems like an obvious choice. But, parents can’t get together and fundraise to hire a bus for their students, so it appears CPS is expecting to be able to cut thiungs that the parents can cover. Besides, I’m sure someone’s relative owns that bus company and would never lose their contract. Have I become totally jaded with Chicago politics or do other people feel the same?

  • 2. klem  |  May 26, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Relatively speaking, our personal taxes are not that high in Chicago. Certainly our property taxes, much of which go to fund schools, are not high compared to some of the suburbs. And I know that other cities have higher taxes in total.

    Our county sales tax is one of the highest in the country, but we don’t have a city income tax and the state taxes are relatively low.

  • 3. Hawthorne mom  |  May 26, 2010 at 9:26 am

    Just my opinion, but I think bus service hasn’t been cut (yet) because it would kill any diversity in oea schools. So many lower income families would not be able to sent their kids to oea schools without buses. And no, I don’t think you are jaded and I would not be surprised to find out the bus companies that are used are owned by people with “contacts”.

  • 4. Edison parent  |  May 26, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Bus contracts are often for 3 or 4 years. My guess is it would be more expensive to break the contract than to finish it.

  • 5. catholic school mom  |  May 26, 2010 at 10:33 am

    I’ve had kids in catholic school for years. I now have one in public school and one is going to a SE high school next year. Yes, tuition is around 4500 (more if you are not a parishioner and less if you have more than one child). The teachers are paid a lot less. The fundraising responsibility was around 500 per family. The parish has dramatically cut back on subsidies so it it is getting very close to cost–I think we just have an excellent administrator who uses creative scheduling and is not bound by union rules. Your comment about the deep pockets of the catholic church made me laugh–no way–there is no $$ anymore.

  • 6. cpsobsessed  |  May 26, 2010 at 11:30 am

    @Catholic School Mom, I was sort of wondering that as i typed it – about the deep pockets. I think they’ve used it all to settle lawsuits. What a sad waste.
    But really, the Jewish private schools are like $24K per year, while good Catholic schols are like one fourth the price. The money is coming from somewhere!
    I know class sizes in the Catholic schools are really good now, but I know back in the baby boom days they crammed like 50 kids in a class (and the classes were taught by nuns, right? Who probably weren’t even paid!) Man, they must have made a killing on the schools in those days!

  • 7. anonymous  |  May 26, 2010 at 11:32 am

    CPSOBSESSEd — it is that uncertainty that gets me, too. We chose to be in a district with a school that had wonderful programs … but now wonder which programs it will still have. And I am concerned that I will be going through this same stress year after year, instead of just at Kindergarten.

    I don’t know how much better (or worse) it is in the suburbs as I haven’t explored them.

    As for busing, I live very near a magnet school. I walk out my door and see EMPTY buses taking kids to school. A lot of them! The buses will pull up with (I’m not kidding) one child on it.

    I know. They have made their rounds to other schools first. But that is the point. Children are riding around for hours and at some point, one child is all that’s left, traveling around on a giant school bus.

    I agree that killing busing would kill diversity (and then why should we even have magnet schools at all?). However, they really need to re-think the busing. We need some smart, creative minds on that, because it quite an insane and quite costly proposition as it stands now.

    Meanwhile, I can’t get out of my driveway because of the line of cars dropping their kids off for the magnet school, yet, I, too have to get in a car, because my “neighborhood” school is over a mile away. Yes. I applied. In the 70’s on the waitlist … and I live next door.


  • 8. cpsobsessed  |  May 26, 2010 at 11:36 am

    @anonymous, yeah sometimes I feel like CPS should just say “hey, you people care about diversity — then don’t live in such a segregated way!” Ultimately THAT is the problem in Chicago. It’s such a segregated city and CPS has to compensate for that.
    I mean I know it can’t just be fixed (like half the city has to trade homes with the other half?!) But sometimes I feel like it’s crazy for CPS to have to shell out so much money for it. Honestly, I’d rather they just use the money to beef up the schools in the areas that are disadvantaged instead of just bussing kids out.
    Again, easier said than done….

  • 9. LR  |  May 26, 2010 at 11:40 am

    A comment on property taxes – I’ve noticed large fluctuations based on area in which you live in the city. If you have a nice big house in Lincoln Park, you might pay $12K or more per year. I’ve seen some in North Center that are $10K per year. Other areas, like Jefferson Park are much lower, generally. Suburbs seem to work the same. In Glenview (where I’m from) it all depends on the size of house/lot you have. If you have a 1400 sq. ft. house, you might pay $6K, but other people with mansions pay $20K or more.

    Believe me…I have contemplated moving back to Glenview. What holds me back? Having grown up and gone through the public school system, there was such an emphasis on money. The popular kids were the ones who came from rich families. They had the nicest clothes, nicest cars, etc. I felt as though it was the basis for a lot of bullying. Can this happen in Chicago? Sure…but I feel like kids get a better dose of reality in the city. I grew up thinking we were poor because we lived in a house that only had one bathroom. Everyone else had two, now some houses up there have 5 or more! I just think the message for kids of material things or possessions = worthiness of a human being, is way out of control. Personally, I didn’t gain any perspective on wealth until college, and maybe afterwards living in the city.

    Still love Glenview and go there often, but not sure it’s better for kids. Yeah, you won’t worry about art, gym, and music getting cut, but your child may grow up in a social environment that in my opinion, does not give a whole lot of perspective on reality. Oh yeah…and if we moved up there, my kids would be the “poor” kids. I think that would be rough for them.

  • 10. anonymous  |  May 26, 2010 at 11:50 am

    OMG, cpsobsessed. That is what I always say. The city is completely segregated, yet CPS somehow has sole responsibility for addressing that situation. Yep. Make the organization with no budget at all address the biggest, most glaring, and most unfortunate social situation in Chicago.

    I live in a homogeneous neighborhood. I would love for our neighborhood to be more diverse. But, I chose it for its good neighborhood school. I looked at schools first. We have no yard. No privacy. But, hey. We have a great neighborhood school.

    So, I can’t exactly complain when my neighborhood school is homogeneous. What’s more, I can’t lie and say I applied to the magnet school for its diversity.

    No. I wanted it for its incredible convenience AND high test scores. : )

  • 11. catholic school mom  |  May 26, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Catholic schools have never “made a killing.” Nuns worked for free basically to fulfill the catholic school mission of education everyone. Families paid nominal amounts. The jewish schools probably pay their teachers a LOT more. Here’s an introductory article for anyone who is interested:

  • 12. klem  |  May 26, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Property taxes will vary by neighborhood because housing in some neighborhoods is more expensive than others. However, everyone in the city pays the same rate. So a $300,000 home in Jefferson Park will pay the same amount of property tax as a $300,000 home in Lincoln Park. (Though some neighborhoods may levy special property taxes, etc.)

    However, take that 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home in Jeff Park and put it in Lincoln Park, it is will be worth a lot more. And the property tax will be higher.

  • 13. sfw  |  May 26, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    RE Catholic schools, my hunch is that the parishes have very generous, elderly donors, who grew up poor and recall their parochial educations with fondness. My uncle was a monsignor pre-Vatican II, and I think he still had to hustle up donations every year, even with a school completely run by nuns.
    And amen to staying in the city. God bless them, but I don’t want to become one of the tourists wandering aimlessly down Michigan Avenue, carrying American Girl bags!

  • 14. Paul  |  May 27, 2010 at 8:56 am

    The CPS system gives a lot of budget flexibility to local schools, so I think you’ll see disparity between schools (French gets cut at one school, Music at another school, full-day K at another) because each school is setting its own priorities. Another alternative is for CPS to make all budget decisions centrally, but I think that would be worse. If your school has a fantastic Music teacher and the families value music education, then you might want to cut something else rather than lose the music.

  • 15. observers  |  May 27, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Catholic schools do not have special education, which costs a fortune. They do no have a huge administration which costs a fortune. Teachers and personnel can wear many hats, which would cause the CTU to start screaming. Most parishes have cut subsidies to their schools dramatically and most parish priests would love to get out of the school business.

  • 16. a dad  |  May 27, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Actually, the Catholic school which my child attended offers special ed in conjunction with the Belle Center, a developing enrichment program and gets barely any help from the parish aside from volunteers. But, their teachers have agreed to a pay freeze for the past two years, even though they are not paid like CPS teachers and have no pension plan. At the end of the year there is a bonus program for all staff and teachers which consists purely of family donations. The main reason the school thrives is because of its huge parental support group,the teachers love of the children and the sense of community. They fundraise all the time and their main auction this year raised over 110K for the school. Oddly enough this description sounds just like the successful public schools in this city (aside from CTU differences) especially since many are now asking for “tuition” for full day K – voluntarily, of course. Free public education isn’t so free after all.

  • 17. RL Julia  |  May 28, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Hate to break to you, but we do have low taxes. Both my parents (one in Connecticut and one in Ohio) pay much, much, MUCH higher taxes than we do on properties that are worth less or equal market value (don’t know about the assessed value). For what its worth, when they come to Chicago, they always comment on how clean it is, how beautiful the parks are (and then how everyone is pretty fat and that the traffic is terrible but you can’t win them all) – and what a great value Chicago is for the money.

  • 18. RL Julia  |  May 28, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Oh yeah – one more thing – having just completed a project for work that concerned bus companies, I think can assure you the following:

    You have to be made of stronger stuff than I, to want to be in that industry. Its crazy!

    I don’t think anyone’s relatives is making big bucks over bus contracts. Their margins are pretty tight – and the work is really dreadful.

  • 19. chitownmama  |  May 29, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    illinois ranks 30 out of 50 in terms of state and local tax burden as percentage of state income, but we’re 13 out of 50 in terms of income per capita. so, we’re a pretty rich state where taxes aren’t that high. (these and more tax burden comparisons by state here.) we should definitely be doing better than 49 out of 50 in terms of state (vs local) school funding.

  • 20. Mike  |  May 29, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    Re Catholic schools: Some of the other commenters have cleared up the misconceptions about the financial condition of the Catholic schools but my two cents… I am intimately familiar with the finances of our city Catholic school. They operate on a shoestring budget and although in theory receive a subsidy from the parish in reality receive no subsidy except for the rent-free use of the school facilities (they do pay for maintenance and upgrades). (and I agree most parish priests would be glad to see the schools closed – they are a headache for them). The days of material parish subsidies are mostly long gone for city schools. They still have the “parishoner discount” but in reality that is funded not by Sunday offerings as was originally intended but instead reflects virtually the full cost of educating the child. Most of the remainder is made up via fund raising and special appeals to parents for extra donations. I also concur with Catholic School Mom that these schools have never made a killing. Like many things in life the cost of attending a Catholic school has increased with the price of labor (and health care) and has gone from affordable to a stretch for the average family. Elderly donors? Maybe once in a while to replace windows or help fund asbestos removal but not really. In terms of help from the broader Church (i.e. the Archdiocese) there is no funding provided and the Arch in fact charges a “tax” on each student (like a franchise fee). They do, however, provide economies of scale for the provision of things like employee health care and provide financial, (as lender of last resort), administrative and legal expertise if needed. There are several reasons Catholic schools cost less to run than CPS schools but I feel the primary and overriding one is teacher salaries, especially including pension costs. Catholic schools operate in a competitive labor market and compete for students. CPS schools are overwhelmed by the market power of the teacher’s union. Like it or not a teacher with a given talent and experience level will cost CPS more than that teacher would cost a Catholic school. We all pay for that difference through higher taxes and, lately, larger (and getting even larger) class sizes.

  • 21. LR  |  June 1, 2010 at 10:25 am

    Ditto what Mike said above about savings at Catholic Schools are from teacher/admin salaries. Our teachers generally make half of what CPS teachers make with no pension. And yes, this year was the first time our teachers got a raise in 3 years.

    What is the point? Imagine for a second that CPS cut teachers salaries in half and cut pensions entirely. It is an impossible scenario, but there would be a lot more money to work with. I don’t necessarily want to see either of those things happen, but something has got to give.

    I’m just surprised that in all this there has been talk of cutting services, cutting “extras” like music/art/gym, increasing class sizes…etc. But never any talk of touching teacher/admin compensation (salaries or pensions). Maybe it’s just easier to borrow money or raise taxes, but that is not viable long-term. I think it is going to be a long and painful process, but eventually I think the teachers are going to take a hit. And while I don’t feel good about that, I don’t feel too badly about it , either. Almost everyone (including our family) has taken sizable pay cuts in this economy. Why should public school teachers/administrators go completely unscathed?

  • 22. klem  |  June 1, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Wow–I am surprised by how many people want to cut teacher salaries. While they may make more than Catholic school teachers, they aren’t all that well paid, esp. when you consider that they have to stay in the city.

    If you start cutting teacher salaries, what will happen is that the good teachers will eventually leave for another school or another career. And pretty soon we will be left with all the bad ones who can’t go elsewhere. Not a scenario I want to see play out.

    One of the issues is that teachers are due for a raise (4 percent?) this year–that’s by contract. Is this the best year to be getting that raise? Probably not, and perhaps the teachers may choose to delay it. But I would like to see good CPS teachers getting paid better–most suburbs pay a lot better anyway.

    By the way, they aren’t going unscathed. It’s a leap of faith to remain with a system that has consistently underfunded their pensions. If I were a CPS teacher, I would seriously consider a job or another line of work where I could get the retirement promised to me.

  • 23. SEN  |  June 1, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    I don’t believe that CPS teachers get paid too much. It’s more like Catholic school teachers do not get paid enough.

  • 24. LR  |  June 1, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    I don’t necessarily want to cut teacher salaries, but as I said, I don’t see the problem going away long-term if something doesn’t happen on the teacher’s end, whether it be pensions or salaries or whatever. The solution is one-sided right now.

    And I find it hard to believe that good teachers are going to move to the suburbs or change careers because of a 5% pay cut or drop in pension or whatever the solution would end up being. There aren’t a whole lot of other options out there right now, so that just seems unlikely.

  • 25. govt worker  |  June 2, 2010 at 6:49 am

    I agree 100% with LR about the teachers and their salaries of paycuts. I work for the City and for the past year have had ALL of my holidays unpaid and an additional 12 unpaid furlough days annually. There have been no cost of living raises since 2009 and there is no talk of any in site.

    I fully support the teachers but not necessarily the union. The rally downtown a few weeks ago was sponsored by the teachers union and I specifically didn’t go for this reason. While I don’t think it would be beneficial for teachers to take furlough days as it is too disruptive for the kids, simply foregoing raises or taking unpaid holidays would help. In fact at an LSC meeting at my child’s school it was mentioned that if the teachers gave up their raises, that along would be enough to restore class sizes to the way they are today.

    Basically its a game of chicken between CTU, Huberman, and the state legislature, and our kids are stuck in the middle.

  • 26. anonymoose  |  June 2, 2010 at 9:00 am

    on the third round – we got a call on the 26th offering a spot at a classical school – we had until Friday 28th to decide.

  • 27. Mayfair Dad  |  June 2, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Any responsible, comprehensive, long-term solution to Illinois’ budget woes includes increasing tax revenue. The problem is the culture of sleaze in our state government. We good citizens of Illinois are not against funding education or teachers earning a fair wage, but we are loathe to have our taxes increased in the current environment of graft, waste and out-of-whack pension plans. Reform, reform, reform ! — then maybe we can talk about raising our state income tax (which is low compared to other states). Reminder: November 2 is quickly approaching. Let’s vote the bums out!

  • 28. Miasmom  |  June 2, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Does anyone have an update on filling slots?

  • 29. solutions  |  June 2, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    @govt. worker IYou commented that the children stuck in the middle with the cuts, agreed. However as you stated if teachers didn’t take their 4% raise, as agreed on in their contract, that would solve the problem alone. It seems teachers are stuck in the middle too.

    If teachers giving up their raise alone can solve this huge shortfall teachers will look very selfish to want their raise, right? Looks more like problem will be solved at cost of teacher pay. Also wouldn’t be surprised if teachers do not get raise, classes remain large, programs cut and the system will still not have enough money.

  • 30. Mom  |  June 2, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    Personally, the notion that anyone would get a 4% raise in this economy, no matter what you do and how good you are at it, is just utterly shocking. Especially, when the alternative is to make the children suffer by large class sizes, no specials (like what seem to be basics — art, music, PE, etc.), no recess, no foreign language, etc. Just disgusting that anyone would feel entitled to a RAISE in these circumstances. Sorry, but no one is getting raises these days. In fact most of us are getting fired or taking pay cuts. Not sure why teachers should be any different when the alternative is to hurt the (already poor) education that the kids receive.

  • 31. parent  |  June 2, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    @mom Exactly…teachers will look greedy, however look back over the years when the economy was booming and compare pay rates and raises of what teachers were getting compared to others. The point is this is not the only solution. Should teachers get a lower raise or none? Many probably think so, and it is almost certain to happen.

    However as stated above this alone will not fix the problem of a poorly run system. Even when teachers do not get their raise class sizes will probably increase, programs cut, recess?! majority of schools don’t have this anyway, and there will still probably be a lack of funds.

    Also many teachers have been losing their jobs for years now due to closings, phase outs, turnarounds etc. With the cuts this year, due to class size increase, in addition to all the other reasons for closing schools there will be thousands of teachers losing their jobs. As far as pay cuts as schools close and become charters that results in a pay cut for many teachers.

    It is amazing so many schools in recent years have had multi million dollar renovations while the economy is so weak. It seems some magnet and charter schools enjoy these benefits. Where is the common sense, equity, and quality education for all of our children?!

  • 32. South Loop Mom  |  June 3, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    I just called CPS and the person I spoke to said that the fourth round of GEAP calls is going to be starting tomorrow.

  • 33. twocents  |  June 3, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Just wondering … do parents of kids accepted in 3rd, 4th rounds have concerns about their child being able to keep up? Not one person in my DCs class has ever admitted to being accepted in a round other than first.

  • 34. Mom  |  June 3, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    @twocents — I doubt it is much of a concern because of the weird way slots are being filled. They are not necessarily taking the kids who score the best. They are taking the kids who score the best for their tier. As a result, there are Tier 4 kids with 99%+ scores who still have not been offered a slot. Meanwhile, at Coonley at least, someone admitted on NPN their child got a first-round slot with a score of 122 (a 93rd percentile score), and no doubt that family lives in Tier 1 or 2. I would think the 99th percentile Tier 4 kid won’t have any problem keeping up if finally offered a slot in round 4. However, if I were the mom of the 93rd percentile Tier 1 kid, well, I would be a bit worried.

  • 35. carm  |  June 3, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Mom @33: I don’t think the mother of the student who scored a 122 has much to worry about. First, they won’t be the first kid at Coonley with that score. And CPS feels confident that kids who test as far down as the upper 80s can be successful at an SE school.

    And second, there’s nothing that says the 122 student wouldn’t score higher if given the test another day. Or that some of the 99th percentile students wouldn’t score lower on another day.

    It’s true that there are students who don’t do well at the SE schools, but you would be surprised by the test scores of some of those kids. It’s just a test given on a particular day. It isn’t a life sentence.

  • 36. NO worries keeping up  |  June 3, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Please. There is so little actual difference b/w a 93rd and 99th percent. I have a friend whose daughter got into Decatur in 2nd grade with a 91% and she is doing just fine. In fact, she’s thriving.

  • 37. Miasmom  |  June 3, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Thanks for the update south loop mom! In response to the above question, my dd has a 140/tier 3 with no offers so far. That’s in the 99th percentile. So no I’m not worried about her keeping up. I’m much more worried about her boredom should nothing pan out with GEAP. And I’m losing hope at this point.

  • 38. Mom of two  |  June 3, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Both my kids got in on round 3 with scores that weren’t anywhere near the greatest. (The second just got in this year to the same school as the first – we must have had some kind of luck). So far I haven’t seen any problems keeping up with the kids who obviously had 1st and 2nd round scores. So I agree – it’s just a test on a single day.

  • 39. factuallyaccurate  |  June 3, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    To Mom: You stated “Sorry, but no one is getting raises these days. In fact most of us are getting fired or taking pay cuts.”

    Several of the most respected compensation experts disagree with you. Perhaps you would like to enlighten us with your sophisticated analysis.

    Here are projections for 2010 salary increase budgets, according to several sources:

    According to the Conference Board (medians):

    •Executives … 3.0%
    •Exempt Salaried … 3.0%
    •Nonexempt Salaried … 3.0%
    •Nonexempt hourly … 3.0%

    According to Hewitt Associates:

    •Executives … 2.6%
    •Exempt Salaried … 2.7%
    •Nonexempt Salaried … 2.6%
    •Nonunion hourly … 2.7%
    •Union … 2.7%

    According to WorldatWork:

    Including 0% salary increases:

    •Officers/Executives … 2.8%
    •Exempt Salaried … 2.8%
    •Nonexempt Salaried … 2.8%
    •Nonexempt Hourly Nonunion … 2.8%
    Excluding 0% salary increases:

    •Officers/Executives … 3.3%
    •Exempt Salaried … 3.2%
    •Nonexempt Salaried … 3.2%
    •Nonexempt Hourly Nonunion … 3.2%

    According to Watson Wyatt Data Services:

    Including 0% salary increases:

    •Executives … 2.8%
    •Management … 2.8%
    •Exempt nonmanagement … 2.8%
    •Nonexempt salaried … 2.8%
    •Nonexempt hourly … 2.7%
    Excluding 0% salary increases:

    •Executives … 3.2%
    •Management … 3.1%
    •Exempt nonmanagement … 3.1%
    •Nonexempt salaried … 3.1%
    •Nonexempt hourly … 3.0%

    According to Mercer:

    Excluding 0% salary increases:

    •Executives … 3.0%
    •Management … 3.0%
    •Professional (Sales & Non-sales) … 2.9%
    •Office/Clerical/Technician … 2.9%
    •Trades/Production/Service … 2.9%
    •All Employees … 3.0%

    Including 0% salary increases:

    •Executives … 2.7%
    •Management … 2.7%
    •Professional (Sales & Non-sales) … 2.7%
    •Office/Clerical/Technician … 2.7%
    •Trades/Production/Service … 2.7%
    •All Employees … 2.7%

  • 40. KCK  |  June 3, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    I guess busing is still available this September as I got a call from Skinner West earlier, must stop by before 4pm today or 9am tomorrow for the application.

  • 41. Hawthorne mom  |  June 4, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Bus service is still available, though, it could be cut at the last minute. My guess is that they won’t cut it because it would disrupt the current meager attempts at desegregation of ethnic groups and socioeconomic groups. Put it this way, while I wouldn’t totally count on it being there this fall, it appears as if we just might keep it one more year.

  • 42. Preschool Mom  |  June 4, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    Does anyone know anything about Pritzker’s gifted program? I got a fourth round call today for my daughter who will start kindergarten in the fall. We need to let them know by Wednesday.

  • 43. K dad  |  June 4, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Just accepted a kindergarten spot at Pritzker for my daughter. We are Tier 4, her gifted score was 139.

    To twocents: Not at all, and I don’t think there is any reason to not admit to being accepted initially.

    To Mia’s mom: Don’t give up yet. There is more shuffling to come. People are giving up GEAP school spots.

    Good luck to all of you who are waiting.

  • 44. South Loop Mom  |  June 4, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Just got a message on our answering machine with an offer for South Loop. We will be accepting. For those who are still waiting and looking for stats, we are Tier 4, our daughter’s score was 141.

  • 45. Amy  |  June 4, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    what are tier’s?
    I have not done my research on this.
    What i gather from all the blog is that its better to be living in tier1 to get yr child in gifted school, right:?

  • 46. Dad  |  June 4, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    @preschool mom-
    Our son will be in the gifted kindergarten at Pritzker.
    We like the gifted program’s integration with the fine arts program. We have heard great things about the gifted K teacher too. There seems to be a lot of parent involvement, both neighborhood and gifted. The gifted program coordinator helped a group of incoming K parents coalesce to voice our concerns about keeping kindergarten full-day, and the school has responded well.
    I encourage you to contact the gifted coordinator with specific questions. She’s pretty quick to reply. Contact info is on the school website ( They do tours on Friday- bad timing with your notification!

    @factuallyaccurate- thanks, I had a similar response but didn’t have the numbers! Sure the economy sucks, but to say “most of us are getting fired or taking paycuts” is just not true. While eliminating the teacher raise might alleviate the situation, this is a huge sacrifice to be asking of the people educating our children.

  • 47. Preschool Mom  |  June 5, 2010 at 12:40 am

    @Dad (#45)-

    Thanks so much for the feedback- I found it all to be extremely helpful. I actually put in a call to the gifted coordinator late this afternoon, and I am anxiously waiting to hear back from her. One of my biggest concerns was whether or not kindergarten would be full-day, so your news is very encouraging!

  • 48. cps mom 5  |  June 10, 2010 at 5:59 am

    We are on several wait lists for magnet schools. I have been told that alot of parents are hoarding slots on the magnet level while they are holding out for se/gifted slots. I think most of the movement there will not occur until the end of the summer or first day of school when the kids don’t show up. Are there parents out there that are doing this?

  • 49. klem  |  June 10, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    How can they “hoard” spots? Hoarding suggests one child is holding spots to several magnets schools, when the system only allows a child to hold one.

    It’s possible that some families will relinquish their magnet school spot if they get an se spot. But it is also possible that they won’t get any se spot. And there are some who will be offered an se spot and turn it down. I am not sure what is wrong with any of this.

  • 50. cps mom 5  |  June 10, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    I know of one parent who has accepted a magnet spot but is still enrolled in another magnet, waiting to see if a sibling will get a spot. Also, I know of 2 others who have accepted more than 1 magnet spot but are waiting to find out if bus transportation or full-day K will be cut to determine whether they will take it. The paperwork is not forwarded to the current school until sometime over the summer which allows many to buy time.

  • 51. klem  |  June 10, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    They aren’t officially enrolled until they get inputted into the computer system, and I believe that will not allow a child to have more than spot. So if someone has more than one spot, some school is letting them do that by not entering them into the system.

  • 52. waiting  |  June 11, 2010 at 6:54 am

    I am done waiting and got our spot for 1st grade one week ago. We released the magnet spot that we initially enrolled (registered and computer projected) all in a few days. We took the magnet spot months ago and registered as we didn’t know if we would get the se spot at all. I had to go to the school to present paperwork (proof of address, birth certificate, dental/medical forms, etc) to register and contact the current home school to project the child by computer to be officially enrolled. I believe this is for any cps school (se or magnet). I don’t see it possible to be officially enrolled in more than one magnet school by computer. I was told the paperwork will be sent over from our home school to the new school at the end of the school year which to me is next week or like someone said over the summer months.

  • 53. @ waiting  |  June 11, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Good for you waiting! Where will your child be going for 1st grade?

  • 54. cpsobsessed  |  June 11, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Yeah, I can’t say that I’d consider keeping a magnet spot “hoarding” when people have no idea what else they’ll get. It’s just the nature of the game in CPS!

  • 55. Miasmom  |  June 11, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Just got our call from OAE about an hour ago. We accepted at Pritzker with a 140/tier 3. I am very very relieved. Thank you cpsobsessed for being a small sliver of sanity in this whole crazy process!

  • 56. No Dice  |  June 11, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    We got a call from Coonley today, 144 tier 4.

  • 57. waiting  |  June 11, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    Our call was for Decatur 1st grade. Yes, I was very much excited and relieved. Yes, thanks for this board. It’s been a grueling process….

  • 58. Amy  |  June 12, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    @cps obssessed…first of all..thanks for creating this is very informative especially for parents who know nothing about the schools in chicago!
    I am little ocnfused about classical and gifted schools….even though I have one child in classical school..I am not clear how are these two schools comparable?
    Pls clarify for me. Thanks.

  • 59. cpsobsessed  |  June 13, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Amy, CPS says that the gifted programs let the kids study things more in depth, while the classical programs may cover the basics faster. The classical programs seem to be a bit more traditional in teaching style (huge grain of salt, I’m sure that varies by teacher).
    But the reality is that each works a year ahead in the younger grades and 2 years ahead in the older grades.
    And I think after that, it’s really up to the principal as to how they implement things.
    Decatur kids get Latin, which I suppose is a more “classical” language. Not sure about the other classical schools.
    I think one problem I’ve heard is that the only “rule” that is really adhered to is the advanced curriculum. Not sure all gifted classes are really doing things to get kids thinking super in-depth in creative ways. I’m sure some good teachers are, but others probably are not and CPS doesn’t “make” them do it.

  • 60. cpsobsessed  |  June 13, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Hey, glad to hear all the updates. I know people still get called through June… I believe it slows down during the summer.
    I still can’t believe the Tier 4 Coonley scores are so high. Ay yay yay.

  • 61. Tim  |  June 13, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    Congrats, No Dice.

    We’re still waiting with 142, Tier 4–either Coonley or Edison.

    Have to be pretty close, but close doesn’t count for anything, does it?

  • 62. Amy  |  June 14, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    @cps obsessed thanks for explaining.

  • 63. twocents  |  June 14, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    Tim, I am very hopeful for you for Edison. I’ve heard socres in the low 130s. Who knows why, but many are turning down spots. I PREDICT your DC will get in soon with those numbers.

  • 64. Mom in south loop  |  June 14, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    Does anyone have any advice about Skinner West versus the neighborhood program at South Loop? My daughter was just offered a kindergarten spot today at Skinner but we live in the South Loop. I know SL is trying to raise funds for full day K, but don’t know what’s happening at Skinner.

  • 65. K Dad  |  June 15, 2010 at 12:55 am

    To Mia’s mom: Congratulations! Hope to see you there in the fall.

  • 66. Tim  |  June 15, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    Thanks, twocents. I’m not so sure, but I appreciate the prediction!

  • 67. miasmom  |  June 15, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Thanks K Dad! We went in to register today, and they told me there would be an orientation for the kids in August and that we should all be getting more information about that soon, so hopefully we’ll see you then!

  • 68. twocents  |  June 17, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Last year we were called TWO DAYS before school started. Stay flexible. Don’t get your DC set on attending a specific school if there is potential for a change (believe me there is). Heck, if they raise class size to 35 there will be tons of movement from people pulling their kids out to go to privates and to fill the additional spots.

  • 69. SkinnerWestMom  |  June 17, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    Mom in south loop-

    Skinner West Classical Program for Kindergarten will remain full day this fall. My son tested in and will be there. My daughter will be in the second grade there next year. We love Skinner West. Both my kids went to South Loop Pre-K and we loved the pre-k there since they prepared both my kids to test into Skinner.

    In my opinion and from what I have heard (and seen), the South Loop gifted program is awesome, but the neighborhood program is not so great. If you plan on attending Skinner West, be prepared for daily homework and other projects. I think it’s a great program. My daughter has learned so much in so little time.

    My kids take the bus at South Loop School (and they are still offering transportation next year) and there are many other kids from the South Loop area that attend Skinner West.

    Good Luck with your decision!

  • 70. Tim  |  June 17, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    twocents, absolutely, we’re nothing if not flexible. We have turned down two privates and Pritzker RGC to go all-in on Edison or Coonley.

    I heard Edison started last year short a few kids b/c of last-minute movement. That did feed our reasoning in doing things this way.

    I’m relatively comfortable with our kid going to Ravenswood–it’s an impressive neighborhood school. But we’ll switch her to either Ed or Coonley in a heartbeat.

  • 71. twocents  |  June 17, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Tim, I’m fairly certain there are still spots and several undecideds for the fall. Which was your first choice? I wonder if they would pick a someone with a 135, but #1 rank first or a 145 with a #2 rank. Anyone know?

  • 72. Tim  |  June 17, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    twocents, I imagine there are some spots. There were 3 Tier 4 spots at Edison and 5 (!) Tier 4 spots at Coonley for Rnd Two, as I recall (it’s so nice to get the right person on the phone at OAE).

    We were Ed 1, Coonley 2. I don’t think ranking impacts your placement.

    I think the scores go out a few decimal places, making exact matches unlikely.

    I know way too much about this.

  • 73. wondering  |  June 23, 2010 at 11:48 am

    @68 SkinnerWestMom: I’m happt for your dd…how do like skinner west we will be at skinner north for kg and were wondering is the cirriculum the same….my dd is already reading and can do math… will they enhance her skills you think….or stay at the same pace with the class she is and older 1 sept baby thanks

  • 74. SkinnerWestMom  |  June 24, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    @ wondering

    We love Skinner West! Cirriculum is probably similar, but not exactly the same. All the Skinner North teachers are new to the school. I’ve been hearing that all the North parents have been really happy with the staff including the principal. Last year when my daughter was in Kdg, they split them up for reading and math. They tested them at the beginning of the year and then split them up according to their reading level and math skills. I’m assuming they would still be doing this at North, but am not sure. I know they still do this at West. Congratulations and Good Luck at Skinner North!

  • 75. cps mom 5  |  June 26, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Yay! We received a call from Hawthorne. Could anyone advise me on the after school options available in the neighborhood?

  • 76. Hawthorne mom  |  June 26, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    I only know of RAP, which is the after care program through Resurrection Church next door (while housed in the church, it is not religious by nature). It is expensive, imo, but people like it. Google the church and you should find info or call the school itself. The other option is if you are being bussed in, you can usually have your child dropped off via bus at your local park district’s after care program. Those take 6-8 weeks into the school year to start, I believe, but they are cheap. (quality of care can vary widely).
    Welcome to Hawthorne, you’ll love the school!

  • 77. two cents  |  June 27, 2010 at 7:56 am

    Once of the comments from Mr. Huberman was that bussing to the afterschool programs may be eliminated…so don’t count on it.

  • 78. Hawthorne mom  |  June 27, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Two cents, do you know if Huberman was referring only to the after school park district stops or ALL bussing? Also, were these recent comments he made or old?

  • 79. two cents  |  June 27, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    At the surprise visit to the Nettlehorst fundraising workshop last week he said that bussing would continue this year but with some cutbacks, includiing decreaseing number of stop locations and no longer servicing the park programs. At least that’s what I heard him say.

  • 80. wondering  |  June 30, 2010 at 11:46 am

    @ cps mom 5:
    wow thats awsome if i may ask what was you wait list number for hawthorne? were still waiting.

  • 81. cps mom 5  |  June 30, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Thanks @ Hawthorne Mom for the after school information!

    @wondering – We were #7 on the waiting list for 3rd grade. What grade were you applying to?

  • 82. coonleymom  |  July 4, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    They are still calling with spots to Skinner West. We turned down a K spot this last week, good luck everyone!

  • 83. Tim  |  July 5, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Edison and Coonley were full finally as of last Wed or so.

    We’ll see what happens–still kind of hoping something opens up, but we’re pretty sick of the whole thing by now and ready to concentrate on our backup.

  • 84. KCK  |  July 5, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    @ coonleymom – do you mind telling us your tier + the classical score for your DC? Thanks.

  • 85. dave4118  |  July 6, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    we just turned down thorpe academy, we were no. 42 or 44 on their waitlist for the lottery…..hope someone gets it…

  • 86. coonleymom  |  July 6, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    #83-our son got a 135, tier 4.

  • 87. Miasmom  |  July 10, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    K dad, preschool mom, or anyone who accepted at Pritzker for k, not sure if anyone is still active on this thread or not but we would love to get our daughter together with some of the other kids in class before school starts….

  • 88. Waiting  |  July 21, 2010 at 11:32 am

    After classes are full, what’s the chance of someone changing their mind so a spot opens? I assume these are the calls that happen in Sept after school starts. How many spots usually open after school starts: one per class, less or more? Perhaps I’m practicing wishful thinking.

  • 89. Waiting  |  July 21, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Is it possible that future changes in bussing will effect people who have already accepted spots?

  • 90. Preschool Mom  |  July 21, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    @ Miasmom, we would love to get our daughter together for a playgroup with your daughter and anyone else going to Pritzker for K in the fall! Are you on NPN at all? There was a similar thread about getting a group of kids together before school starts that I am hoping to hear back from as well. If that does not pan out, and you are still checking this thread, please feel free to email me at

  • 91. cps mom 5  |  August 30, 2010 at 10:19 am

    My heart just broke. I just received a call from Jackson saying they had one slot available for my child who was waitlisted. Problem is I have twins and the other child’s number was in the triple digits. With no principal discretion I had to wave goodbye to our number one magnet choice. At least it shows that there is a lot of last minute movement happeneing a week before school begins. We’ll try again next year.

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