Found some money… so what does this mean?

June 28, 2010 at 1:10 pm 30 comments

CPS says it won’t lay off elementary teachers

June 28, 2010 11:55 AM | No Comments

After months of hand-wringing over what began as an estimated billion dollar deficit, Chicago Public Schools announced this morning that it will not lay off elementary school teachers and will restore full day kindergarten.

Last-minute changes to state funding were not enough to take all teacher layoffs off the table, however, and schools chief Ron Huberman said high school class sizes could still go up to 33 students from about 31 now.

The district took the opportunity to hammer the teachers union, calling on it and other union workers at the school district to take concessions to their contractually mandated raises.***

OK, so they’re not firing a TON of teachers, but some may still get axed (I assume some would in any standard year?  And restoring full day K?  Where?  I thought CPS didn’t actually pay for full day? 
I guess it’s good, but as usual, still so vague…..   Let me know if you hear anything.
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Entry filed under: Budget.

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30 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Curious  |  June 28, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    So if CPS is funding full day kindergarten- what happens to all the money schools like Blaine raised to fund it? Does it get returned?

  • 2. sd  |  June 28, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    at our school, the principal defines “full day” kindergarten as 4 hr.

  • 3. sfw  |  June 28, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    What happens to the schools that originally had half day k, like Armstrong?

  • 4. cpsobsessed  |  June 28, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    I just don’t think CPS *EVER* funded full day, so maybe this a mis-statement of fact. The funding for full day at all neighborhood schools has come from discretionary funds. Gifted/classical/magnet schools have gotten K funded full day in the past though.

  • 5. not out of the woods yet  |  June 28, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    from cps press release:
    CPS Able to Restore Some Projected Program Cuts,

    Difficult Financial Picture Still Looms

    Restoration of a limited amount of state funds will allow Chicago Public Schools to save enough teaching positions to restore board-funded full-day kindergarten programs throughout the District and avoid elementary school class size increases.

    The announcement by CPS Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman follows action by the Illinois State Board of Education and the Governor to restore approximately $57 million in categorical funds. Those funds combined with the District’s continuing efforts at reducing expenses, finding efficiencies and drastically reducing programs will lower CPS’s expected FY 2011 deficit from a projected $427 million to a projected $370 million, Huberman said during a press conference at Nicholson Math and Science Elementary School, 6006 S. Peoria.

    Officials repeated, however, that the District’s financial situation remains fluid because the Governor has not yet acted on a final state budget. And, they added, none of the funds restored by last week’s action include the more than $352 million the state still owes CPS in state aid payments for the current fiscal year.

    “I am making this announcement today – before we have a final budget from Springfield – because some Chicago children go back to school in a handful of communities next week,” Huberman said. About a half-dozen of the District’s “multi-track” schools begin classes after the Independence Day weekend.

    “As teachers report to those schools, they – along with principals and administrators – need to be able to plan accordingly.”

    Along with restoration of board-funded kindergarten programs and maintaining elementary school class sizes, the ripple effect of the additional funds will also allow CPS to limit high school class sizes to no more than 33 students, Huberman said.
    Still, the District’s budget shortfall likely will remain a significant burden that will require additional painful actions, Huberman said.

    District officials originally forecast up to a billion dollar budget for FY 11. That amount was reduced to $600 million following state-approved pension relief. Meanwhile, CPS joined with parents, unions, community and faith leaders, elected officials and students in a statewide campaign to restore level education funding.

    “I have said all along that the District will do whatever it takes to avoid laying off teachers and staff which will lead to increases in class size,” Huberman said. “And while I believe that announcement today does much to answer the concerns of parents and teachers, we will not be able to avoid all layoffs and cuts to CPS programs.”

    The $57 million restored by the state is not by itself enough to keep class sizes down, he said. Program and staff cuts in addition to those that have already taken place will still be necessary.

    “This week, we will fulfill our commitment to reduce the number of Central Office and Citywide positions by a net of 1,000,” Huberman said. “This includes the 200 layoffs that have occurred over the past two weeks. These are incredibly difficult decisions involving individuals whose commitment to our students was second to none.”

    Huberman also noted that non-union Central Office and citywide employees have received no merit pay raises for the last two years. Every Central Office CPS employee making over $50,000 has taken 15 unpaid days, equating to a six percent pay cut. This is in addition to the six unpaid days taken last year. Further, CPS has been re-negotiating vendor and consultant contracts to trim costs and has also eliminated CEO and CPS board discretionary accounts.

    Huberman further cautioned that closing the remaining deficit will have a painful impact at the local school level. The District is still facing cuts in magnet, gifted, enrichment and bilingual programs, and after-school activities. Funding for charter schools, transportation and maintenance, among other areas, will be affected as well.

    Teacher layoffs could exceed 1,200 under current the current projected deficit, Huberman said. Yet some of these layoffs could be avoided if the Chicago Teachers Union and other bargaining units which represent CPS employees agree to concessions, actions which have become the norm in school districts all over the U.S.

    “By simply eliminating these scheduled salary hikes, including the CTU’s 4 percent pay increase, we could save the District $135 million – more than one-third of our expected FY 11 deficit.

    “Teachers are the heart and soul of our schools. They are our front line of contact with our children, and the key to improving their futures. Yet we have to be realistic about our current financial situation.”
    “We remain hopeful we will be able to work with the CTU and other bargaining units to do what it takes to avoid harming out kids,” Huberman said. “We at CPS are doing everything we can to get through this challenging time. We are calling on our partners to do the same.”

    Chicago Public Schools serves approximately 409,000 students in more than 670 schools. It is the third-largest school district in the nation.

  • 6. RL Julia  |  June 28, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    Seems a prudent political move to “restore” full day kindergarten since not every school (or every kindergarten classroom in a given school) has full day kindergarten.

    Sounds like from the press release, that the schedule E (school year round) schools might avoid lay-offs because school re-opens next week but that everyone else is still in limbo until the state figures itself out and the CTU votes.

    Since the state will most likely only ratify a sort of placeholder budget this summer waiting until after the November elections to really make the hard decisions (or not), CPS can then play the clock, public sympathies etc… and legitimately sort of leave the state holding the ball. If there is no “real” budget for when school starts, Huberman has the the opportunity to force his hand, not lay off teachers and accumulate more state debt on the City coffers. This is just my speculation. I only hope he knows what he is doing here.

  • 7. NWDad  |  June 29, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Given all of the chaos surrounding the budget, I’m going to vote that our school retain the donated Full-day K funds for the next CPS budgetary fiasco.

    -M

  • 8. nrrwestmom  |  June 29, 2010 at 11:46 am

    I think that the July return schools are not on a track e schedule. We are on track e and we don’t go back until the second week of August. I’m really curious about what happens to all the money schools raised to keep their full day kindergarten.

  • 9. Christine  |  June 29, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Well is does seem unfair that the K parents have ponied up money the school can now keep and use at their discretion for programs other than K when the parents of other grades haven’t contributed as much, my assumption not fact as I know they do give to the school but I don’t know in what amount. I too wonder what will become of all those funds contributed. Maybe they can use it to offer smaller classrooms for K since they have the money to fund additional teachers now in K. Or maybe they’ll do away with that ridiculously enormous school supply list for K.

  • 10. Hawthorne mom  |  June 29, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    As I have understood it, most schools had some sort of caveat to return the funds raised by parents for full day K. I highly doubt any principal who wants to be retained past their contract, 4 years or otherwise, would try and keep it without the express permission of parents.

  • 11. park_mom  |  June 29, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    The request for donation from our school came with the promise that our checks would be returned if full-day kindegarten would be restored by CPS. They also promised to return the donations to parents if they failed to raise the full amount needed to restore full-day K on their own.

  • 12. Oh no - - -  |  June 29, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    I got this article off of the District 299 blog. Not good news for Magnet and gifted schools AT ALL ! !
    ————————————————————-
    CPS’ Regional Magnet, Gifted Schools May Lose Teachers in Unannounced Cuts
    Updated: Monday, 28 Jun 2010, 9:26 PM CDT
    Published : Monday, 28 Jun 2010, 6:48 PM CDT

    By Mike Flannery, FOX Chicago News Political Editor

    Chicago – Chicago’s most competitive and coveted public schools could soon lose some of their academic luster.

    FOX Chicago News has learned that regional magnet and gifted schools — which each typically have three extra teachers–may lose one or two of them.

    It’s one of the unannounced cuts included in a painful budget-balancing plan unveiled Monday by Chicago Schools CEO Ron Huberman. He said many of the 1,200 teacher job cuts could be avoided .if union members agree to forgo a 4 percent raise that takes effect when class resumes.

    Huberman said average high school class size would jump from 31 to 33.

    Newly-elected Teachers Union president Karen Lewis told us she “did not want to talk” about rolling back the pay raise. She did note that teachers will soon face higher health insurance costs, effectively cutting their take home pay.

  • 13. cpsobsessed  |  June 29, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    What I don’t get is the “re-instituting full day K” since CPS board money doesn’t pay for full day K in the neighborhood schools. The funding for that comes from the discretionary funds that each school gets (based a lot on the # of low income kids.)
    So this statement would have to mean that more discretionary funding is going back to those schools, but I don’t see that happening in areas that aren’t low income.
    I’m just confused, generally. It seems like the decision for full/half day comes at the individual school level, so this blanket funding statement isn’t making sense to me.

  • 14. RL Julia  |  June 29, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Personally I found it disappointing that somehow the select schools weren’t really included in the cuts in the first place.It seems to me that all programs and schools should be cut equally. The kids at Peyton or Bell are just as special as the kids at Orr or Jahn.

  • 15. To RL julia  |  June 29, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    It still is not good to be Track E under this scenario because you might start with a certain amount of teachers then get cut after school starts causing a scramble to see how to mitigate cuts.

  • 16. RL Julia  |  June 29, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    Entropy is a powerful force in government and CPS is no exception. While I can see your point, I would be surprised if CPS actually got its act together enough to go through with actually cutting after school starts.

  • 17. also obsessed  |  June 29, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    For our neighborhood school, we had to pay for full day LAST year. So either way, we were going to have to pay for full day this year, anyway. The “restoration” does not affect us.
    I too am perplexed by how full day was going to be cut for schools that already have the discretionary funds to pay for them….??

  • 18. Mayfair Dad  |  June 30, 2010 at 9:32 am

    1.) CPS will still start the school year with a sizeable budget shortfall, with or without the teachers giving up their 4% raise.
    2.) Many teachers – even good ones – will still lose their jobs.
    3.) State of Illinois still financially underwater. Money promised to CPS may never materialize.
    4.) King Richie will never relinquish his hold on TIF money.
    5.) Say hello to a state income tax increase, announced right after elections are held.

    And we keep electing these dunces…

  • 19. to also obsessed#17  |  June 30, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    No need to be perplexed the principal decides how discretionary funds are to be spent and brings it to the LSC for approval. The LSCs need to stand up to the principal and insist the other half of K is funded or vote no then the principal more than likely would agree because they need to spend the funds.

  • 20. Clay Boggess  |  July 1, 2010 at 7:02 am

    Everyone needs to tighten their belts including the teacher’s union. They need to step up and consider concessions.

  • 21. 4% raise?  |  July 1, 2010 at 11:20 am

    I don’t know about you, but our wages have been frozen for 2 years now. According to most sources, it seems to be across the board in most professions (if you have not lost your job). How can they be so different and get FOUR PERCENT!

  • 22. Mayfair Dad  |  July 1, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Great teachers are underpaid and deserve a 4% raise. Under-performing teachers should pursue a different career path. A targeted reduction in force at CPS, based on performance not tenure, would be a healthy thing. Companies go through this all the time in tough years. Get lean. Painful but necessary.

    To preserve a 4% raise, would CTU consider a longer school day? The public opinion value of this action would go a long way to win the support of parents.

  • 23. Teacher  |  July 1, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    The willingness to give up the 4% raise will undoubtedly vary across elementary and high school teachers. With the latest news, high school teachers will teach 18% more students (140 to 165) across their day. This is understandably not a good time to ask them to give up compensation given the increased workload. I know many HS teachers who feel like the high schools are being asked to carry the burden here.

  • 24. CPS principal  |  July 3, 2010 at 9:12 am

    Let me clarify the kindergarten restoration. I am a prinicpal at a Northside neighborhood school. About 5 years ago, CPS won a federal grant that allowed SOME schools to be included on a list that would have their kindergarten paid for, at no cost to the school. 2 years ago, the grant ran out but CPS chose to use their own funds to continue to fund this specific list of schools. This is the funding that AGAIN is going to be restored.

    My school was never funded in this grant and like most other schools, we have had to CHOOSE to allocate money for it through disgressionary funds to have full-day kindergarten.

  • 25. also obsessed  |  July 3, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Thank you CPS Principal! Now I DO rememebr that too….
    But yes that clarifies much of this confusion. Wish reporters had talked to you!
    I rememebr asking Early Childhood (who received teh grant) if our school coudl be on that listif it ever came up again…haha

  • 26. KS  |  July 3, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Any ideas what will have happen with the geap elementaries and full day kindergarten? Does Huberman’s announcement mean that they will keep full day? Or is this diffferent than what CPS Principal is talking about? TIA!

  • 27. to KS  |  July 3, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    GEAP was never in danger of losing half of K. The OAE pays for the other half of K. Some GEAP schools with a neighborhood component did not think it was fair so some principals took an all or nothing attitute.

  • 28. teacher  |  July 7, 2010 at 1:35 am

    @RLJulia cuts are frequently made once school has begun. Enrollment on the 20th day can cause cuts and major rearranging within a school, have been at schools several times over the years experiencing this. Yes it is a scramble and harms students more than anyone.

    Do not remember the years however there was one contract that staffing was determined on the projected enrollment at the end of the previous year, now we are back to the possibility of cuts on the 20th day of school.

    There were several posts on this blog about the differences in cuts between neighborhood, magnet, gifted, and classical schools. It is true. Agree, very disappointing and extremely unfair. The children who need the most seem to recieve the least.

  • 29. Hawthorne mom  |  July 21, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    I just talked to a teacher at a far northside elementary school and she is going to have 42 kids in her class this fall. I can’t figure out if funding has just not been released to her school to hire back all the teachers they laid off or if so many peripheral teachers were lost that class sizes had to increase anyways…..I am sure many schools will be calling back teachers from now until into September. CPS is so disorganized!

  • 30. to teacher  |  August 12, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    The problem with the students that have the least no matter what race is the that the parents are least likely to be vocal about issues and tend not to organize protests well. For instance, with Track E. There is a heat advisory and children, elderly and those with breathing problems (i.e asthma) should not be in the heat. Many of the Track E schools do not have air conditioners. One of my children’s SE schools does not have air conditioning and if CPS ever tries to make the school go TRack E I and I think many of the parents will raise such a stink that it won’t happen! I can’t understand why more of the Track E parents didn’t ask CPS to close the schools this week!

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