Unethical behavior in CPS

January 8, 2013 at 12:36 pm 195 comments

Since we need something to discuss, I’m offering SutherlandParent’s post as an unofficial guestpost. Thanks! I also copies from the report the portion about the free lunch fraud.  Is it possible that the low-income % in CPS is over-represented?  If school capacity is off, isn’t it possible that we’ve believe the 87% number without anything to back that up?  Does it matter as long as kids are being fed?

The Sun Times reports that the food vendors are too big to ban.  Does anyone here want to start a food services company?  If I can pack 1 lunch a day, surely I can pack 300,000, right? This article also has some examples of fraud that’s happened in CPS.


From SutherlandParent: Did anyone have any thoughts on the CPS Inspector General’s report about free and reduced lunch fraud? I’ve always heard that the vast majority of kids in CPS were low-income or living in poverty–and while the majority are, Sullivan’s 2012 Annual Report claims it’s much closer to two-thirds than 90%:


The possibility of system-wide fraud is crystallized by the fact that reliable census data suggests that CPS student eligibility for free or reduced-price meals should be around 67%— approximately 20% lower than reported by CPS.


3. Fraudulent Free and Reduced-Price Meals Applications
Once again, the OIG reports on a cohort of employees who falsified lunch forms for their
children who attend CPS. (Pages 19-26) This year, the OIG proactively reviewed free lunch
eligibility of children of principals and assistant principals and found numerous falsified
lunch forms. Since data from lunch forms is utilized in formulas to determine National
School Lunch Program funding, Federal Title 1 allocations, Supplemental General State Aid
and federally funded E-Rate reimbursements, the OIG continues to review these issues in
hopes that CPS will one day provide accurate poverty information to its critical funding
sources. Including this latest group of employees, the OIG in the last four years, has
reported on approximately fifty-one cases of meal application fraud involving fifty-five CPS
employees. The cases reported this year are especially important because the results show
that fraud is being committed by high-level and highly-paid CPS administrators and that the
lucrative federal and state benefits tied to the forms drives the fraud. In addition, some of
those investigated told the OIG that they were coached or encouraged by their supervisors
to falsify lunch forms. Cumulatively, the issues the OIG has reported on suggest widespread,
systemic fraud.
The possibility of system-wide fraud is crystallized by the fact that reliable census data
suggests that CPS student eligibility for free or reduced-price meals should be around 67%
— approximately 20% lower than reported by CPS. In addition, prior to the 2012-13
school year, CPS opted out of the Community Eligibility Option (CEO) program offered by
the U.S. Department of Agriculture which would have based free or reduced-price meal
eligibility on the percentage of community students who qualified for the Supplemental
Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
(TANF) program rather than self-reported information. Presumably, the CEO would have
critically diminished CPS federal and state funding. In short, a comprehensive solution,
involving federal and state authorities is necessary.

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195 Comments Add your own

  • 1. HereWeGo  |  January 8, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Although the article is correct in stating that free and reduced lunch should be at about 67% and not 87%. The problem isn’t just corrupt CPS employees it’s also the parents who fill these forms out in the beginning of the school year. I see some nice cars that students get dropped off in at school and the kids get free lunch.

  • 2. EK  |  January 8, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    It’s time to break up cps. smaller local districts which can be managed by each community.

  • 3. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 8, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Let’s turn it inside out: What would happen if the Feds funded at a 67% level rather than an 87% level? Would kids have to pay full price for lunch? I’m not certain, but it seems to me that the worst thing that would happen is that students who could afford to do so would be given more lunch money by their folks, or come to school with a brown bag. Thoughts?

  • 4. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 8, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Worst thing that could happen TO THE KIDS that is…

  • 5. HereWeGo  |  January 8, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Southside Daddi-o – Even if you turn it inside out, you still have over 340,000 families reporting that they qualify for some subsidy. Not until you prove that you need the subsidy is this going to get closer to the 67%.

  • 6. local  |  January 8, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    @ 2. EK | January 8, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Rod Estvan has an interesting take on this in a comment at the District 299 blog:

    Rodestvan said 2 days, 5 hours ago

    While we can speculate on the various machinations of the CPS central administration, possibly a more important question is to what extent will it be needed at all in the future? It seems fairly clear that the CPS Board and its outside consultants simply want the central office to be reduced to a computerized menu of materials and services supposedly to be made available to schools. There is no reason that virtually all of the service functions of Clark Street can’t be farmed out to non-CPS employees. Even compliance monitoring for special education can be and is being done in some other districts by consultants, not district employees. There are numerous school districts that no longer have their own law departments for example and farm out everything.

    How small could the central administration get? Very small, basically a chief officer and two or three staff in each unit. The exception may be in procurements that may slightly expand. Even functions like evaluating the academic performance of schools and determining closures and turn around projects could be fully handed off to outside consulting organizations which will simply had over reports to what is left at CPS central. The public relations office currently is bloated and is perfect for massive privatizing. Really the district only needs one or two people in this area and all the rest of the work could be handed off to consultants.

    We are moving towards a system where every school will have to function like a charter school, many of the business functions carried out by CPS central will and are being placed in the laps of schools. The schools will get no extra money and will be expected just to function like little businesses do in a larger economy. This is where we are going I think and there isn’t a lot of reason to worry about the central office anymore because its actual role will continue to decline. It doesn’t mean that administrative costs will necessarily decline dramatically, but as more and more work is done by outside consultants and chiefs who come and go clearly costs for things like pensions and health care will decline.

    If major corporations can farm out many service functions to call centers in India why can’t CPS do this? What we know of today as the CPS central administration in ten years will likely look very different than it does even today. There will likely be no need even for the space that exists at Clark Street, and in fact today much of the space in no longer being used.

    Rod Estvan (see source: http://www.chicagonow.com/district-299-chicago-public-schools-blog/2013/01/and-then-there-were-three/#image/1)

  • 7. HS Mom  |  January 8, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Very important to remember that the lunch forms are tied to state and federal school funding. A 67% rate could make a huge difference in money allocated to CPS schools. It seems like departments such as OIG who complain about overworked and underfunded are magically able to find resources when it comes to policing areas that find state monies. Could be a win/lose situation.

  • 8. cpsobsessed  |  January 8, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    That’s a good point HSmom. Ethics aside, that’s kind of a boneheaded place to make a stink, given the funding implications.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 9. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 8, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    @7 Federal and State dollars don’t just magically appear in the CPS coffers, they’re coming out of yours and mine pockets. I seriously doubt there will be any reform, as there would be a “PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!” outcry that would protect this fraudulent practice.

  • 10. Paul  |  January 8, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    It’s wrong for CPS families to get free lunches when they don’t qualify for the benefit, and it’s wrong for CPS to receive additional federal and state funding based on fraudulent applications. While those of us with kids in CPS want more funding for our schools, we also want our tax dollars spent wisely and for recipients of government benefits to qualify for them.

  • 11. Smadness  |  January 8, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    As since absolutely no proof us required this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. The schools don’t validate because they get more funding the higher their percentages are. Parents not only get reduced lunch but free or reduced school fees , etc which can be substantial especially at the High school level.

  • 12. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 8, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Just curious, but does anyone know how much of the total CPS budget makes it to the classroom? For example, is it $.50 of the dollar? $.60? Anyone know?

  • 13. helenkeller  |  January 8, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    One of the problems in CPS is that we have unethical administrators. These are the people who are supposed to be role models for staff. I have seen married administrators assign coveted jobs ($$$$-summer school, after school coordinators etc.) to their paramours. This causes morale in a school to sink not to mention that this is not what a leader is supposed to do. CPS higher ups do nothing when teachers exit these schools in droves.

  • 14. HS Mom  |  January 8, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    I’m kind of torn about this. The Income cut off is so low and the cost of food has sky rocketed. I don’t understand how families and single parents earning close to those cut-offs but not quite “poverty” make it. Especially with multiple kids. Perhaps school lunch can be tied into other forms of public aid for verification.

    Of course it would be the same fight – the schools that would need it the most would suffer the most. I won’t even go into how different schools get different quality of food. Ours had a salad bar! The process, application and all the resulting ramifications need to be considered, scrapped and re-designed.

  • 15. RL Julia  |  January 8, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Since no proof of income is required, free/reduced school lunch subscription more accurately reflects what people feel that they can afford than what a third party judges what can be afforded -as it has been noted, many kids who don’t have to eat school lunch opt not to because they don’t like it – many parents think school lunch is gross etc…

    I personally don’t have an issue with this relatively half-a**ed way of determining free/reduced school lunch eligibility. I’d rather err on the side of kids getting fed than not. There are plenty of people who would send their children to school without adequate lunch etc… if their gaming the system means their kid gets fed, well, which is the worse crime?

    However, as has been pointed out, this inaccurately collected measure does determine the amount of Title I money a school/school system gets and that seems wrong to me. Given the tier system and etc… It might be time for CPS to actually invest in developing some way of measuring income more accurately… or determining a way to fund the CPS system in such a way that all needs are met adequately. Oh, I forgot CPS/Chicago/Illinois is flat broke and no one seems to care about funding education here anyway…

    Anyone besides me see the piece in today’s New York Times about CPS and disabilities? One more disappointment!

  • 16. Paul  |  January 8, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    @15 RL Julia, the school meals program definitely errs on the side of kids getting fed. As others have noted, there are few checks on whether students are truly eligible for the program. In addition to being a program to feed needy children, it’s really a program to subsidize the farm industry. The program is designed to feed as many kids as possible, and even those paying “full price” don’t pay for the full cost of the meal. Taxpayers subsidize all the meals.

  • 17. SutherlandParent  |  January 8, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Thanks, CPSO–I’m honored! 🙂

    I threw out the details about the free and reduced lunches because, like HSMom, Paul and others point out above, I believe the implications go beyond CPS’s too-big-to-fail food service vendors–and could affect Title 1 funding, too. Check out #2 from Wikipedia (couldn’t quickly find the information directly from the US Department of Education) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elementary_and_Secondary_Education_Act

    Under NCLB, Title I funding is given to schools where at least 35% of the children in the school attendance area come from low-income families or to schools where 35% of the student population is low-income.[13] To determine the percentage of low-income families, school districts may select a poverty measure from among the following data sources: (1) the number of children ages 5–17 in poverty counted in the most recent census; (2) the number of children eligible for free and reduced price lunches under the National School Lunch Program; (3) the number of children in families receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; (4) the number of children eligible to receive Medicaid assistance; or (5) a composite of these data sources. The district must use the same measure to rank all its school attendance areas. The funds are appropriated for the use of improving academic achievement for students in low-income households.[13]

    I’m with Paul on this one. What’s right is right–and to paraphrase Nancy Sinatra, “CPS ain’t been right yet.” While I hate to see CPS lose money if Title 1 funding is reduced, it’s not the job of taxpayers in other states to fund CPS schools that don’t deserve it.

    But beyond the ethical and financial implications, such a dramatic change in low-income and poverty levels (if true) kind of changes my viewpoint a little bit. I’m so used to considering our family and neighborhood school an outlier within CPS–maybe we’re not? I’m still trying to figure out how and why that would matter.

    And as CPSO points out above, if CPS can’t get the 87% figure even close to being right, how can we believe anything else they say?

    I’ve gotten about halfway through the IG’s report–it’s very interesting, if incredibly disheartening. Good to know my one-time State Rep Monique Davis still hasn’t settled up on her rent to CPS, but thanks to redistricting I can’t not vote for her now 🙂

  • 18. EdgewaterMom  |  January 8, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    In addition to questioning the ethics of the CPS principals that signed their kids up for free lunch, I would have to question their parenting skills as well. 🙂 From what I have seen and smelled, the lunches are not very nice and I feel badly for the kids that have no other choice but to eat them!

    All kidding aside, I would rather see the money going to provide fewer children with better quality lunches. I realize that is not actually an option though.

  • 19. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 8, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    @17 Kellogg is 45.4% low income. This is the neighborhood school for North Beverly, where homes aint cheap.

  • 20. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 8, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    I’m reading the OIG Report, and here’s something new to me:


    In FY 11, the OIG reported on a central office manager who engaged in a scheme through which he stole money from CPS by purchasing items for programs run by his department from a “big-box” retailer and subsequently converting much of the money used for the purchases to personal use. In the scheme, the manager either returned items that he purchased in exchange for cash or exchanged the items for personal items, including champagne, condoms, flowers, chocolate, a king size mattress, linens, expensive watches, a $300 coffee maker and clothing. In one part of the scheme, the manager stole at least $8,729 in cash and merchandise. Following the investigation, the OIG referred the matter to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. In FY 12, the central office manager was charged.”

    It’s funny, until you realize that these are OUR tax dollars and this is likely the tip of the iceberg. $8,729 could be used to buy 4 new computers for the neighborhood school’s computer lab, but instead it’s going to buy rubbers and Cristal for a CPS administrator.

  • 21. Mayfair Dad  |  January 8, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    At a neighborhood school that will remain nameless, all parents were encouraged to apply for free and reduced lunch, regardless of household income. Fibbing was encouraged. This is tied directly to the formula for Title 1 (fed) money a school receives. It was strongly implied that all CPS schools do this, and families who didn’t play along got the hairy eyeball from the now-retired principal. Also the reason why low-income students were allowed to lie about their addresses east of Pulaski (out of enrollment boundaries) because they brought more fed money to the school. That’s how you end up with 975 kids that don’t look a thing like the families surrounding the school – imported poor kids to scam Title 1 money.

  • 22. anonymouse teacher  |  January 8, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    @20, yeah that little stunt (crime) has resulted in tons and tons of extra paperwork now on the part of all the honest CPS employees who now have to jump through even more hoops to order needed items. I want to choke the person who caused that, because it makes my life and the life of my excellent admins that much harder.

    For me, the even bigger question is what to do about the large amounts of food that is thrown away each day. For breakfast, kids don’t order ahead of time, so we have to guess high. (or our lunch manager has to) Some days, 18 of my kids eat breakfast and some days only 3 or 4 do. All the food they don’t eat, all the milk, all the fruit, it all gets tossed and has to be according to meal preparation regulations. It drives me crazy. We have people starving in this city and we aren’t allowed to let a local food pantry to come and pick up all our uneaten apples?

    @21, my current principal would never encourage a family to lie about their income for free lunch, but the principal at my old neighborhood did this blatantly. I also will never understand why a family with 100K in income without a sped child is allowed to attend preschool for all. In my mind, this is totally wrong. Of course, I am also of the belief that all families who use CPS bussing, who earn more than the federal poverty limits should have to pay for bus service. But, that’s just me.

  • 23. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 8, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    @22 Is that how it works? I thought the process was being scammed to “qualify for more dollars for food preparation then have it go in to the food prep bucket”, not actually “qualify for more dollars, get the cash, then spend it on meals for each qualifying kid”.

  • 24. local  |  January 8, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    FYI SSD-O: Rod Estvan of Access Living seems to have one of the firmest grips on CPS budget and expenditures. So does George Schmidt of Substance News, but his screeds about CPS can be barbed.

  • 25. local  |  January 8, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    @ 15. RL Julia | January 8, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    The CPS refusal to evaluate children/students who might have education-impairing disabilities is standard M.O. in CPS. Parents almost have to file for due process to even get an evaluation. And, those are the parents who are savvy enough to request it.

  • 26. anonymouse teacher  |  January 8, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    @23, I am sorry, I don’t understand your question. Can you rephrase? The money is going somewhere, and some of it goes to schools based on low income which is based on free lunch apps. But a separate and even bigger issue is all the food that gets tossed each day for no good reason. I can see why milk has to be thrown out since once it has sat out for an hour or so, it might go bad, but apples? Cereal? Cookies? Bagels?

  • 27. anonymouse teacher  |  January 8, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    @25, at risk of getting fired, I’ve started telling all my parents point blank how to get an evaluation when it is denied. (write a letter and date it, which they have a legal right to do but no one will tell them that)
    I’ve often wondered if I will have any legal recourse if I am ever fired over this.

  • 28. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 8, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    @26 Sure, here are the 2 scenarios:

    Scenario 1: a. CPS says to the Fed/State Ed Dept. “We have 100,000 low income kids.”
    b. Fed/State says, “Ok, CPS, because you have 100K low-income kids, we’re going to give you $250M to feed them.”
    c. CPS: “Great, we now have the Fed/State giving us $250M to spend on food prep, so that reduces CPS’ contributions to the food prep costs”.

    Scenario 2: a. CPS says to the Fed/State Ed Dept. “We have 100,000 low income kids.”
    b. Fed/State says, “Ok, CPS, because you have 100K low-income kids, we’re going to give you $250M to feed them. You need to prepare 100K breakfasts and lunches every school day.”
    c. CPS: “OK, we now have the Fed/State giving us $250M to spend on food prep, but we still have to chip in our contributions to the food prep costs on a per meal basis”.

    Scenario 1 seems to me to be more likely and beneficial to CPS.

  • 29. cpsobsessed  |  January 8, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    From CPS – their official statement on the report:

    “CPS employees have an obligation to the students, families and taxpayers of this District to hold themselves to the highest ethical standards. We do not tolerate violations of these ethics standards and will not allow any CPS employee to break the trust that parents and children of this District place in us every day. We continue to work cooperatively with the OIG on these matters and have been aggressive in communicating and training to staff CPS expectations on abiding by this mandate.

    In the case of the food vendors, following a complete investigation, we took immediate action on CPS employees who were involved in wrongdoing and they are no longer working with the District. CPS also conducted ethics training with all our vendors and CPS Procurement enacted a gift ban.”

  • 30. HSObsessed  |  January 8, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    I was going to write exactly what @21 MD wrote. The incentive for principals is to have as many kids as possible apply for free/reduced lunches, because that brings in the most $$ to their schools; not just for food, as I understand it, but also funds for staff members like reading specialists and whatever else to provide extra help for kids who truly need it (when they are truly from impoverished backgrounds). So CPS money that goes to the schools with principals who actively encourage lying is not available for schools/students whose principals are more ethical, or for those schools that truly do have high poverty levels and could use more resources. In addition, there are certain measures of how “successful” a school is that also factor the school’s poverty level in quite heavily; for example, the Value Added scores. When some schools’ poverty levels are highly accurate and other highly inaccurate, it skews lots of other data down the line.

  • 31. Falconergrad  |  January 8, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    HS Mom, I see your point, but I think the problem is all of the people who are *far above* the cutoff point who are lying on these forms.

    I find the low income rate cited on the CPS website for our school hard to believe. This is based on my observations. Most kids seem to have all the nice toys, clothes, etc. A lot of nice cars dropping off and picking up kids. My perception and that number just don’t seem to add up.

    Anonymouse, I do not understand the PFA either. And my kids both got in. And I did not lie. Our income was different the second time though. I find the name preschool for all extremely misleading. Its a blagoviech (sp?) program that actually was meant for people who did not qualify for say head start but probably could not afford private preschool. and there was never enough money for it to be provided for all and that is a shame because I do think it is a good program. I actually tried to find another nearby preschool program for my kids and did not like any of the other options and it was not just because of the cost. I wonder if some PFA programs admit some higher income students because they believe it is socially good for the classroom to have that mix. I feel Iike every PFA program in CPS just does whatever the hell they want in regards to admission.

  • 32. Jill  |  January 8, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    @15 @25 Thanks for noticing the article in today’s New York Times. Here’s a link to the press release: http://beforeitsnews.com/press-releases/2013/01/health-disability-advocates-challenges-the-chicago-public-schools-for-failures-to-provide-early-childhood-special-education-services-2710416.html

  • 33. West Rogers park mom  |  January 9, 2013 at 7:47 am

    I agree with what everyone has said about principals encouraging parents to under estimate income. For us it was just “remember its your entire household- so if your parents live above you in a 2 flat you can count them”. Even without the self reporting issues I see a huge discrepancy in how income is calculated for certain families. Small business owners, cash base business owners, families that receive child support etc have very low ‘income ‘ and extremely high end life styles. I’m talking kids who get floor seats to every concert, all the new gadgets etc but get free braces. I’m talking kids in high end expensive extracurriculars. Many people drive high end cars for their ‘business’ but draw small salaries from their business. There are also families that don’t report both spouses income . Many times people have told me how they got their kid $ for school or college but it was because they were business owners and their reporting income is less than 50k a year. Don’t get me wrong . There are many people that truly fall into these categories and need these services and I don’t mind forking out 7k for braces , but think those who can afford it should .

    The way to save waste is to find another way than free lunch to determine income for federal funds.

    As for PreSchoolforAll even though it is free it was never an option for two working full time parents – it only worked for stay at home moms and families who could afford Nannys the other 5 hours a day.

  • 34. Paul  |  January 9, 2013 at 10:07 am

    There’s a difference between a principal encouraging everyone to apply (i.e. fill out the form) and a principal encouraging everyone to lie on the form. My understanding is that everyone is supposed to fill out the form, even if they don’t think they can qualify. One of the main goals of the program is to get as many kids as possible eating school meals, so they want everybody filling out the forms. This might catch some people who think they don’t qualify for free or reduced lunch but actually do. So, principals should be encouraging everyone to fill out the forms correctly and truthfully.

  • 35. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 9, 2013 at 10:24 am

    @34 Then there’s a bigger problem. If you think you can afford to give your kids lunch, and the principal of the school says “Hey, don’t be a sap! The taxpayers might be able to pick it up for your kid and it helps out our school!”, what incentive do you have for buying food for *your* kids?

  • 36. SutherlandParent  |  January 9, 2013 at 10:24 am

    I’m not surprised that some principals are gaming the system or actively encouraging fraud–the sheer numbers are what’s staggering to me. We’re talking thousands and thousands of cases, if the IG’s numbers are reasonably accurate.

    This kind of systemic abuse bothers me more than a few cheating, lying admninistrators, even if those make for the splashier headlines. As HSObssessed points out, it skews all the data and punishes those who are honest. The idea that some schools are getting screwed by playing by the rules makes me angry, as a parent and a taxpayer.

    And as RL Julia also pointed out above, what sort of implications does this have for the Tier sytem CPS has in place?

  • 37. klm  |  January 9, 2013 at 10:29 am

    I guess this is one thing Richard Nixon was really right about:

    “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

  • 38. anotherchicagoparent  |  January 9, 2013 at 10:31 am

    If parents do not qualify for free or reduced lunch at the schools my children attend they are told to turn in an application with Does Not Qualify written on it and a signature, the rest of the application is left blank. A few years ago I was told CPS requires a free lunch form from all.

  • 39. Paul  |  January 9, 2013 at 10:42 am

    @35 Southside Daddi-o, that’s not a problem. If your household qualifies for free or reduced meals, you should fill out the form so the school and CPS knows that you qualify. That triggers additional money from the feds (Title 1) and state to the district and school.

    But your kids can still pack a lunch if they want to. They don’t have to eat the school meals.

    The problem happens if parents decide not to fill out the form even when they qualify. If that happens, then the district and the school are missing out on additional money that they’re entitled to. And that’s why CPS and the principal want everyone to fill out the form even if they think they don’t qualify.

  • 40. SutherlandParent  |  January 9, 2013 at 10:43 am

    It completely makes sense that everyone should have to fill one out, but I’m trying to remember if I’ve ever even seen a free lunch form…It could be that I just never paid attention, since I know we don’t qualify. Even if we did, my kids would never stop complaining about the awful brown bagged lunches that school without cafeterias get!

  • 41. Paul  |  January 9, 2013 at 10:58 am

    I’m pretty sure that CPS makes sure that every CPS family gets a form. It’s usually sent home at the beginning of the school year along with a dozen other forms. It’s a long form with small type and there’s usually an English and Spanish version. The principal and office staff usually send reminders about filling out the form because of the aforementioned funding.

  • 42. anotherchicagoparent  |  January 9, 2013 at 10:59 am

    @SutherlandParent don’t feel left out, schools with cafeterias get green hot dogs and not on Dr Suess’ birthday. Thanks so much for sharing that CPS document very interesting reading, especially the one administrators office decor.:O

  • 43. Mayfair Dad  |  January 9, 2013 at 11:10 am

    @ 30. Thank you for illuminating the point I was trying to make. Systemic fraud on the free/reduced forms has far greater financial implications than wasted cafeteria food (which is bad enough). It triggers other Title 1 funding for the school, gaming the system for extra teaching positions, etc. Our now-retired-ethically-challenged principal believed this was an instrument to get more federal support for our school, sort of like Rosty bringing home the bacon to Illinois on the Ways and Means Committee. We were ENTITLED to it.

    Other principals who weren’t savvy enough to play the game were chumps.

    Any time unverified information is used to secure financial gain, people will cheat. Financial gain also includes admission to SE High Schools in lieu of spending $60K on tuition at St. Ignatius.

    The loosey-goosey, anything goes, up to principal’s discretion, no one is watching, everybody else does it, too overworked/understaffed to check or care attitude that permeates CPS invites fraud.

  • 44. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 9, 2013 at 11:12 am

    @39 I’m a little confused. All kids get the form, and if the parents fill it out THEY’RE the ones entering in bogus info? Hmmm…

  • 45. Paul  |  January 9, 2013 at 11:22 am

    @44 Southside Daddi-o, No, all parents should fill out the form and enter in correct information. Then, the school officials will determine if you qualify for free or reduced-price meals. The parents shouldn’t lie or enter in bogus information, and the principal shouldn’t encourage them to.

  • 46. HS Mom  |  January 9, 2013 at 11:38 am

    @36 – not that I’m a fan of the current tier system but aren’t they based on census data not lunch forms?

  • 47. SutherlandParent  |  January 9, 2013 at 11:56 am

    @46, you may be right–I thought Tiers were based at least in part on the income levels within local schools, but according to this post from an earlier discussion on tiers here, it’s based on test scores, not income:

    We look at five socio-economic characteristics for each census tract: (1) median family income, (2) percentage of single-family homes, (3) percentage of homes where English is not the first language, (4) percentage of homes occupied by the homeowner, and (5) level of adult education attainment. We also look at a sixth characteristic, the achievement scores from attendance area schools in each census tract.”

  • 48. Mayfair Dad  |  January 9, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    @ 47 SutherlandParent: What that last sentence refers to is making adjustments to reflect just how crappy the neighborhood schools are, to justify further tilting of the game board in favor of low-income minority applicants. Where test scores come into play is the total aggregate points a student can accrue, with includes 300 points max for the entrance exam score, 300 points max for ISAT scores and 300 points max for core subject grades.

    The threat of fraud in SEHS applications is the prevalent practice of lying about your address, i.e. listing your kid’s official address at grandma’s house because she lives in a tier 3 neighborhood, not tier 4. Common practice and CPS does not have the resources to challenge address fraud on this scale.

  • 49. anonymouse teacher  |  January 9, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    @44 and 45, yes, parents should enter correct info whether they qualify or not. But, parents are sometimes encouraged to enter misinformation. I highly doubt there is much changing of info once it is entered. More low income lunch apps means more $$ for the school.
    Personally, as much as I detest fraud, it is a sad state of affairs when principals, who are trying to get something like the basics for their schools, are in a position where they don’t have anything close to that and they feel so much pressure to get funds that they lie to get them or encourage others to do so.
    Rod Estvan made a good point the other day on the D299 website. He said that Chicago parents ARE getting exactly the education they are paying for. I agree with him. If we want smaller class sizes, basic appropriate sped services, etc, we need to pay a whole lot more. As a city, it seems we can’t afford it. So the reality is we have to live within our means, which means on some level we accept attending CPS means a less than stellar education. (I’d define 30+ in a room, lack of space, lack of libraries, lack of psychologists, lack of books, etc…as less than stellar)

  • 50. HS Mom  |  January 9, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    @48 MD – exactly. The process essentially relies upon the honor system. Horrible, considering the stakes.

  • 51. Teacher9  |  January 9, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    2 things. A friend who is working for CPS and has to go through and check lunch forms said that people put additional family members like pets on their forms!

    At my school, we are constantly reminded to encourage parents to fill the forms out. We were specifically told to not ever fill out the form for someone but to offer help if parents had difficulty with the forms. Admin also told us what percent of our class had filled the form out- goal being 100%. No matter how many times I sent home copies, some families never turned them in. And these weren’t families with nice cars or clothes. These are the kids who come to school in unwashed clothes and ask for leftovers to bring home. Same families that are out of medical compliance. Same ones we have no emergency phone numbers for when something happens. I am not sure what happens when these forms are NEVER turned in. Is someone else forging them? Or are we serving them food anyway?

    Neglect. It is awful when the only food these kids get is the animal crackers for and apple juice and whatever other sugary substance we serve at breakfast and lunch.

  • 52. HSObsessed  |  January 9, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    OK, so the worst part of it is that they would routinely provide the income grid to the parents, on the form, so you could determine exactly what the threshold income was, under which your child would qualify for reduced prices, or would qualify for free meals. So, there was no need to guess, if you were determined to get the free meals. If your kid didn’t qualify IRL, then you only needed to add imaginary members of the household, or lower your income enough to hit the magic number.

  • 53. HSObsessed  |  January 9, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    For those of you not geeky enough to read the Office of Inspector General’s report linked above, I’ll highlight two parts:

    A CPS principal and assistant principal were married and earning more than $230K combined. It was found that they had Grandma fill out the forms so their kids could get free lunches. It was also found that the family lived out in the suburbs but two of their kids attended CPS, so they were in violation of the residency requirement for four people. The couple resigned from CPS. The report doesn’t say whether the kids were sent back to the harsh realities of suburban schools. Also, no word whether Grandma’s still in the slammer. 🙂

    The report focuses on income reporting fraud by high-level CPS staff but acknowledges that this is a system-wide problem. They randomly chose 1000 applications and asked for supporting documentation. 125 people did not respond at all, and their benefits were reduced. 582 people who produced documentation had made “errors” in their claims, and the benefits were reduced or rescinded. So this means 71% of the 1000 randomly selected applications were found or presumed to be erroneous or fraudulent.

  • 54. cps sad teacher  |  January 10, 2013 at 12:23 am

    I’m still perplexed, maybe naive, but when are all those state senators who by 99 percent put special restrictions on cps teachers not pass some laws to oversee cps. Maybe we teachers are a little overpaid but we are in nooo way the criminals at cps. Why is cps allowed to be self governing when they have proven time and time again to be soooo shady. When is Illinois going to call them down to a state investigation. In fact , why doesn’t Duncan and Obama call them out. Imagine what goes on …..and teachers needed a new evaluation…..what about principals and Clark street. I know i am dreaming butttttt

  • 55. cps sad teacher  |  January 10, 2013 at 12:31 am

    I really think 95 percent of parents can afford to pay a dime a day for lunch and books etc. I pay about 1000 a year out of my pocket at cps on top of property and income taxes. While, you beloved BBB gets 30k moving expenses. Come on. 10cents a day x 300 students would be 30k per day and multiply that times 200 days…that’s 6 million dollars. Kids have ipads, escalades,……..im very liberal but a dime a day….Rahm. can you donate a dime a day…..

  • 56. anonymouse teacher  |  January 10, 2013 at 12:39 am

    @53, you mean, the couple who were both CPS admins, CHOSE to send their children to CPS instead of the suburb they were living in??? Why? I know there are some suburbs with lower performing student populations than CPS (Waukegan, Harvey, Maywood all come to mind), but not that many. I’d love to know what suburb they were from and which schools in CPS they admin’d at and where their kids went.

  • 57. HSObsessed  |  January 10, 2013 at 8:29 am

    @56, the report doesn’t give any specifics, but my guess is that the kids went to CPS schools with very high test scores (which the masses equate with educational quality), i.e. some of the elementary magnets, classical schools or gifted centers, or to selective enrollment high schools.

  • 58. Retired Sped Administrator  |  January 10, 2013 at 9:40 am

    How can I read the A.G.’s report? What is the link?

  • 59. HSObsessed  |  January 10, 2013 at 9:54 am

    @58 – It’s the second link in CPSO/Sutherland Parent’s original post at the very top. Not the Sun Times link, but the next one. Goes directly to the PDF.

  • 60. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 10, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    @49 This is the same CPS that found $30M for 10,000 students that Ron Huberman deemed “at risk”. Thirty million bucks could add a brand new elementary school. Who the hell knows what ever happened to it.

    My point is that there is SOOOOOOOO much waste in CPS. I wonder what percentage of every dollar spent at CPS actually makes it to the classroom. Anyone know?

  • 61. Cassandra  |  January 10, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    why is nobody commenting on the IG’s objection to a “high ranking” official getting a residency waiver for no good reason? pages 28-31 of report. Same high ranker who also has a charter conflict of interest?

  • 62. Retired Special Ed. Administrator  |  January 10, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    How do I find the A.G.’s report?

  • 63. Northside Teacher  |  January 10, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    Oh i have been wondering if he was forced to move to the city for many years? Sounds like he is still enjoying the north burbs as the office of accountability is coming the post office for teachers not honoring residency….hypocritical once again

  • 64. Sped Mom  |  January 10, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    @ 61.

    I always thought Crawley shouldn’t have received the waiver to the residency rule. Nice to see the IG agrees.

  • 65. Sped Mom  |  January 10, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    @ 56.

    “@53, you mean, the couple who were both CPS admins, CHOSE to send their children to CPS instead of the suburb they were living in??? Why?”

    Check out the southern suburbs where these admins lived. NOT very good school systems, for the most part.

  • 66. anotherchicagoparent  |  January 10, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    @62 http://www.cps.edu/About_CPS/Departments/Documents/OIG_FY_2012_AnnualReport.pdf

  • 67. falconergrad  |  January 10, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    so interesting that CPS must think the lunch form data so unreliable that they don’t use it for even part of their tiers.

    71% blows my mind. the OIG is speculating 20%. big difference, there.

  • 68. falconergrad  |  January 10, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    just saw this, love the dec 21 date, the last day of school before holiday break. did they really want parents to apply?

    maybe it’s not full and someone can still apply? Did anyone get this info in an email, note home, anything? just wondering.


    December 21, 2012
    Chicago Parents: Support Healthy School Meals as Part of the New CPS School Food Advisory Group

    Calling all Chicago parents!

    Would you like to help improve the Chicago Public Schools school lunch program? Would you like to help shape what food is available for lunch at your child’s school? Have you wondered who decides what is on the menu and how school lunches are prepared? Are you concerned about the amount of waste generated during the lunch period?

    If so, this opportunity is for you.

    Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is forming a Parent School Food Advisory Group and is seeking thoughtful parents and guardians to join the group. A key goal for this group is to involve parents in efforts to provide nutritious and appealing meals in all schools each day.

    At Healthy Schools Campaign, we believe it is critical for parents who care about school wellness and healthy school food to lend their voices to the dialogue about the CPS school food program.

    We encourage you to apply today to be a part of the CPS Parent School Food Advisory Group. In terms of time commitment, participants are asked to attend one to three meetings during the school year, and will need to be available to attend the first meeting on Wednesday, January 23 from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon.

    If you are interested in participating, please complete the application online at http://bit.ly/CPS-parent-application. The application deadline is January 9, 2013. For more information, please contact Nadia Sulayman, CPS School Wellness Specialist, at studentwellness@cps.edu.

    Email this • Digg This! • Share on Facebook

    Posted by Admin at 09:28 AM in Chicago Public Schools, School Nutrition | Permalink | Comments (0)

  • 69. cps sad teacher  |  January 10, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    only difference I’ve seen in cps lunch is whole grain pizza…which tastes like flour dyed tan…….universal breakfast is not the miracle it was cracked up to be……they claimed it would raise tes scores and even reduce waste. Poor workers put a bag of breakfast out and it gets all thrown away ten minutes later……waste

  • 70. cps sad teacher  |  January 10, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    I really wonder if universal breakfast was a product of a bribe…….by chartwell

  • 71. CarolA  |  January 11, 2013 at 7:37 am

    cps sad teacher: I owe you an apology. I think it was you who I had a conversation with a while back about the REACH teacher assessment. I had my first formal pre-conference yesterday. I have to tell you, it sucked the life out of a fantastic idea for a lesson. I went in all excited to share the upcoming lesson which involved many hands-on activities and reflection with another teacher. I was told on more than one occasion……”I need to stop you right there. We have to stick to the form.” I am now cps sad teacher #2. I apologize for doubting you.

  • 72. Chris  |  January 11, 2013 at 6:24 pm


    “71% blows my mind. the OIG is speculating 20%. big difference, there.”

    The 71% included many who were moved from ‘free’ to ‘reduced’. the 67% estimate includes both ‘free’ AND ‘reduced’, so they aren’t as disparate as first appears.

  • 73. King Ph.D.  |  January 11, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    1) Each school gets approximately $750 per student for programming for each student that qualifies for free and reduced lunch (It is called the SGSA Allocation). CPS Charters get this money as well as CPS schools. Not sure if it is paid for by the Feds and/or the State of IL. This is in addition to the free and reduced lunches. The cost of the fraud is mind boggling.

    2) Why do families get money for free and reduced lunch if they get TANF cards (food stamps)? Are we buying lunch twice for these kids, since lunch could be packed by a parent using food bought via TANF? Can’t CPS use TANF eligibility to determine Free and Reduced Lunch eligibility? Make the parent bring in their TANF card to get free lunch at school.

    3) Why does CPS lack internal controls and financial controls to prevent widespread fraud? Where were the audits? Mr. Vitale ran a bank, and Ms. Pritzker owns part of a multibillion dollar enterprise: surely they know better. Why have they not used their experience to institute proper auditing and controls? They are failing in their fiduciary responsibility as board members.

    4) How can Chartwells be too large to have their contract terminated for fraud? How is it in the public interest that this behavior not be punished? There is no point of having an inspector general, auditing or financial controls if people and contracts are not terminated and the guilty prosecuted when fraud occurs. If teachers can be terminated for poor performance, surely intentional fraud should be severely punished.

    5) Why are parents that committed fraud by lying about their residency to get preferred admissions to selective enrollment schools only asked to pay back imputed tuition expense instead of being prosecuted?

    6) Why is the selective enrollment process not conducted/supervised/certified/audited by an independent accounting firm (like the Illinois Lottery) to eliminate all doubts that the process is conducted according to policy?

    All these policy changes could be done if the CPS Board wanted to improve the district. They have chosen not to do the right thing? Why?

  • 74. smadness  |  January 11, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    @73..re 5) there would be no tuition to repay as even selective enrollmetnt schools are tuition free. I can’t believe there is no auditing doen re addresses, etc!!

  • 75. cpsobsessed  |  January 11, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    @King phd — um….money?
    ie lack of.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 76. King Ph.D.  |  January 12, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Cpsobsessed @King Ph.d. –

    Of course the instant case centers around money. My point is that our society has lost our moral compass. The leaders of our institutions are willing to let fraud occur on a wholesale systemic basis, and not raise a finger. We as citizens of Chicago seem willing to allow the charade to continue instead of throwing the bums out, or worse, we lack the ability to objectively judge the behavior as a misdeed.

    This problem has also led to schools without libraries, teachers without books, elementary schools without recess and gym etc.

    Are you willing to let them lie to your face, and carry out wholesale fraud for some extra money?

  • 77. cpsobsessed  |  January 12, 2013 at 9:29 am

    I don’t know why you say CPS “isn’t raising a finger.”? They have a department dedicated to investigating fraud. Granted, the dept needs to be bigger but how many other employers have something like this? And according to CPS, it’s not tolerated and people are fired for breaking the rules. I don’t know if it feels fair to say that CPS/leader of instituations are the bad guy here when it’s all the idiots trying to scam the system who are the bad apples. I would *love* to be able to police the entire system, but with limited funds at least having the possibility of investigation can minimize some of the fraud.

    For Chartwells, I don’t know enough about it to understand what is going on exactly. But sadly to CPS’ point, if they fire them, how do they feed 300,000+ kids a day? Anyone want to start a food service company with me?

  • 78. SE Teacher  |  January 12, 2013 at 9:40 am

    @71 CarolA…This is probably not the right board to do so, but could you explain further about your lesson and what happened? I personally liked the pre-conference and preferred to see what was going to be observed in my classroom. The lesson portion was only a part of the entire evaluation. I felt like I was able to be much more focused on my lesson because the other items they were evaluating were things that I have been developing all year.

  • 79. Northside Teacher  |  January 12, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    #71 Thank you Carol ! I appreciate it …I am upset to see that they are doing it to you too…#78 again Reach assesments are like any other tool…it depends who has the tool in their hand…Carol and I have had bad experiences with the procedure….you may have a good a respectful principal……it unfortnately can be used to make you a better teacher or nit pick you into losing your desire in teaching!

    However since when do we use a tool to help you to grade you? It should be used as a PD tool not evaluation…not for a few years until we get used to it. I stress FEW…because next year it is a go…and I doubt people will be preapred on either side….also the NWEA value added side is going to be INTERESTING….

    Thanks again Carol and SE Teacher….My beef is with CPS not you guys!!!

  • 80. HS Mom  |  January 12, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    @73 – I see the logic in your statements and agree with the ideology (mostly). As far as prosecuting parents – there are so many situations that fall outside of “policy” that are perfectly legal and allow families to chose an address. Divorced parents with joint custody. Sending Johnny to live with Grandma for a variety of reasons. Even if he really didn’t live there, how would you prove it? Private detective? There would be no way that anything like this would hold up in court – not to mention the expense of prosecution (something that I’m not willing to pay as a taxpayer).

    This answer to preventing parents from scamming the system for selective schools, free lunch or school funding is to change the polices that allow criteria such as address and honor system reporting to determine important consequences.

    “We as citizens of Chicago seem willing to allow the charade to continue instead of throwing the bums out,”…. Right now we have 2 governors in jail and the replacement holding the esteem title as being one of the worst governors in the country. Our mayors have either stayed out of education completely or if they do step in are fought against tooth and nail. Which “bum” can step in and effect these changes?

    75/77 CPSO – Yes – I agree.

  • 81. CarolA  |  January 12, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    @78: Again, probably not the board so I’ll keep it brief since you asked. COULD be a great tool, WASN’T because of the way it was presented. End result: Set an observation date only to be told it could be a day earlier or a day later, could be at the time requested or another time. Why ask if it’s up to them? How can I explain the lesson if I don’t know for sure what lesson you’ll be observing? Was asked which part of Domain 2 I wanted the principal to pay particular attention to, picked one, then was told to pick another. Really? Then why ask? I wanted to explain the cooperation and sharing of ideas that I’ve had with another teacher regarding this unit and was told I couldn’t mention her because….WE HAD TO STICK TO THE FORM. This is just the tip of the iceberg so to speak. I have nothing to hide. In fact, just the opposite….I love to share what’s going on in my room. Another poster here came to observe me. It’s what we can learn from each other that makes us better teachers. It wasn’t a good experience. We’ll see how the observation goes.

  • 82. anonymouse teacher  |  January 12, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    I was that poster who went to observe Carol and I can say she’s a fabulous teacher. I was able to take back my observations from her, use her great ideas and implement them in my room which has resulted in a significant amount of additional time each day where kids get differentiation. I would not have been able to do this without seeing and talking to Carol.
    I can’t say I have had the same experience with the new Danielson framework, but I have a feeling it is because my admins are really implementing it correctly and Carol’s is not. Leadership is everything.
    Hang in there Carol. Fwiw, I’d put my kids in your room anyday!

  • 83. CarolA  |  January 12, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    Thanks anonymouse!

  • 84. local  |  January 12, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    @ King PhD

    Those are some damn good questions, King PhD.

  • 85. SE Teacher  |  January 12, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Thanks Carol. I definitely agree with the fact that it is in the hands of the presenter and observer. I am fortunate enough to have a fantastic admin, however, I have worked for one that was horrible. Stay the course. Not even knowing you, I would choose you as a teacher on your posts alone. Be strong.

  • 86. Northside Teacher  |  January 12, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    yes Carol! all will be well! Not a huge Christian but I always love the phrase…which applies to principals and cps…let he is without sin cast the first stone!!!

    You will be fine…I tend to be a little bitter…maybe I am a bad teacher….who knows…but I am a human and I understand when somone is judging me with a hypocritical and “subjective” eye…..

  • 87. Northside Teacher  |  January 12, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    Just don’t allow your principal to make you feel like a bad teacher…I just always imagine what they were like when they taught…heck some of the principals taugh for 3 years in a high school and now are elemntary principals or vice versa!!

  • 88. CarolA  |  January 12, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    Thanks all for the support and thanks CPSO for allowing us to vent a little on this board. I’ll be fine. It just makes me mad that someone is so data driven that they lose their ability to interact with others in a positive way. Northside: You are right! My principal taught 7/8 grade for a few years before going into administration and never taught in the primary grades. Big difference. It’s not too hard for a primary teacher to move up, but it’s a huge problem for most upper grade teachers to move down to primary.

  • 89. SutherlandParent  |  January 12, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    @80 HSMom, actually, private detective are used to track down families using false addresses to attend CPS schools. There’s a well-outlined, albeit lengthy, process for determining whether a student is using a fake address.

    In some cases, it’s families living outside of CPS who are sending their kids to CPS schools. In some cases, it’s families living in one CPS neighborhood school district sending their kid to another, better, neighborhood school.

    And families can be prosecuted for tuition costs for the education they have illegally attained for their children by using a fake address. I don’t think CPS often gets reimbursement–from what I’ve heard, CPS tends to drop cases if families either move to the correct district or pull their kids out of the school.

    Our principal regularly reports on the status of these types of investigations to the LSC. I’ve also heard of it happening at Morgan Park HS and one regional gifted center.

  • 90. HS Mom  |  January 12, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    @89 – yes, I’m sure. Using a false address in order to attend a neighborhood school that is not your own is different from the policy regarding tiers. Additionally, the report indicates that the office that performs this function is over run with work and under funded so how much policing is truly going on (Especially in this weak economy)? Some people can legitimately chose from more than one address to have access to multiple schools which is different than giving a fake address to attend a particular school. Also, the child does not need to be living in that particular tier while they attend the school. People can and do move which would not be a reason to disqualify an application. Pretty tough thing to police.

    The process needs to change. Plus, there should be an audit. Even if the audit was performed only on applications of those who accept offers to SE. Certain schools – Northside, Payton, Decatur and such should have 100% of their incoming students verified by an independent party. The audit part would not have to be a huge deal…….Just a thought.

  • 91. HS Mom  |  January 12, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    To add – I object to the use of addresses for SE because with or without controls, there is no way to stop someone from renting a place in a lower tier. Some people do have multiple addresses to choose from just like some kids can pay to take an ISAT test if they are unhappy with the results of their 1st non-ISAT test. Tiers are not even close to 100% accurate…..and so on.

  • 92. SutherlandParent  |  January 12, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    @91, I agree the process is problematic in all kinds of ways, whether it’s the tier system or funding for those ensuring people are following the rules for CPS admission! 🙂

    I’m not intimately familiar with the process for CPS, but I don’t think there’s really a lot of wiggle room on legitimate addresses, whether it’s regarding which tier students live in or which neighborhood school they attend. (It doesn’t mean people don’t fudge or outright lie, of course.) But as I understand it, for other Chicago residency requirements, the address you have to use is your “primary residence,” or where you sleep four nights a week. And yep, some city employees are followed to see where they are REALLY sleeping most nights.

    At least, that’s my understanding of how it works…

  • 93. HS Mom  |  January 13, 2013 at 12:50 am

    92 – I suppose anything is possible. Haven’t heard of anyone investigated for using an improper address for a SE school tier application. Don’t know how they could follow anyone if, for example, the person moves (or say that they have moved).

    Just like the lunches, we really don’t know how widespread the abuse is. I’m one of those that is bothered by having a “close enough” system that allows any margin of error. Maybe I’m being too cynical. Maybe the end – more/better socioeconomic diversification – justifies the means.

  • 94. Sunny  |  January 13, 2013 at 1:00 am

    Free & Reduced Lunch – If you qualify, I know that the Noble Charter schools allow selected students to go on East or West Coast college tours for a very low cost and also provide very low cost summer pre-college experiences. So lots ot be gained. Personally, I always write something like “Not interested in the Free & Reduced Lunch program” on the application & sign it because I would never want to provide such personal financial information to CPS. I mean, if we are going to do that, then CPS might as well as require the same info to apply to SE. Schools insist on getting the form back and they are usually only happy if I right this note and sign-it.

  • 95. Sunny  |  January 13, 2013 at 1:13 am

    #27 & others who know of a family with a disabled child. Getting Services from CPS for your Disabled Child – If you don’t have a clue (and who does), the FRCD is a great resource for understanding your child’s rights for a free & appropriate public Education. Always request everything in writing to CPS and send via US Post Office with a receipt required for your records. FRCD has training sessions in English and Spanish.
    Family Resource Center on Disabilities
    20 E. Jackson Blvd. Room 300
    Chicago, IL 60604
    Phone: 312-939-3513
    Fax: 312-854-8980
    Email: info@frcd.org

    Also, Equip for Equality has meetings in various neighborhoods and can help educate you on your rights as well. They have an attorney on staff who can also provide great legal perspective if you are considering legal action thru due process.

    If you ever need an attorney, Michael O’Connor and his wife take on SELECT due process cases on a contingency basis (CPS pays fees if you win) – they are awesome and very committed. There are 4-5 strong other attorneys in the area, but they are very expensive and require an expensive retainer / fees (and you pay even if you lose).

  • 96. cpsobsessed  |  January 13, 2013 at 8:57 am

    @HS mom – I’m a bit of a rule follower so it makes me crazy knowing that families basically assume they can get away with lying about their address (or getting a temp address during applications or however they do it.)
    It seems like the school could investigate more easily but I suppose to really prove where a kid lives takes some time, which principals do not have.
    I guess it’s considered okay to move once you’re in a SEES so it makes it really difficult to prove fraud.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 97. cpsobsessed  |  January 13, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Oops. Was reading posts in reverse order …you just said most of that!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 98. CarolA  |  January 13, 2013 at 9:30 am

    I know a principal in one of the neighboring suburbs who says that his school has problems with residency all the time and they pay a private detective $50 for each case and it’s taken care of instantly. Doesn’t seem to be too big of a deal and I don’t think $50 is a lot. Once parents start realizing they will be caught, it won’t happen. They do what they know they are able to get away with. I can hear parents talking outside the school on warm days when the windows are open. They don’t think anyone can hear them. They joke about it. It’s sickening.

  • 99. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 13, 2013 at 10:59 am

    @98 CarolA: It gets weird, though, because of the stipulation that neighborhood kids get in to a neighborhood school first, then if open slots remain kids from outside the neighborhood boundaries can fill them. For instance, Kellogg is our neighborhood elem school and is ~75% black, but the surrounding neighborhood is maybe 25-30% black AT EXTREME MOST? My impression is that kids from outside the Kellogg attendance boundaries go to school there, but if it’s permitted by CPS then no rules are being broken.
    From a class size perspective, it sucks. If there are 25 seats available, and only 20 kids from within the school boundaries enroll, then they should go with the 20 kids, as they will get more individualized attention. Not gonna happen, though.

  • 100. CarolA  |  January 13, 2013 at 11:07 am

    @99 Southside Daddi-o: I agree. There is a “legal” way to get spots in neighborhood schools and we have several families that have done that. The difference is that because they did it through the correct channels, they can use their actual address and not have problems. It’s the people who use the cousin’s address and just have their cell phone bill sent there so they have “proof” and similar things that don’t seem right to me. For the most part, these are the same families that are not paying their workbooks fees and getting free lunches. It’s one thing to want a better education for your child and another to scam the system and laugh at it.

  • 101. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 13, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    @100 Seems pretty common in this city. How many Chicago residents do you know that have their cars registered in the suburbs or out of state? Or conversely, how many people do you know who have voluntarily paid a “use tax” after ordering something on-line?

    For the example of Kellogg, I’m not that upset because it’s likely they’ll have open slots which will be filled by non-neighborhood CPS kids. How the kids get in, either by using a phony address or going the legit route, doesn’t seem to make that big of a diff; no one’s using fake test scores, etc., so as long as Kellogg is OK with having non-neighborhood kids in there, I’ll stifle my outrage. If Kellogg had strict boundary rules, then I’d be pissed but since they don’t, meh…

  • 102. CarolA  |  January 13, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    @101: I get your point, but for those that aren’t paying their workbook fees (and that’s half my class), that means that your child will be getting less of something like art supplies, science kits, etc because $$$ has to be used to make up the difference for those workbooks.

  • 103. HS Mom  |  January 13, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    CarolA – applications by tier are different than residency requirements. The school doesn’t know what tier you are in and people don’t talk about what tier they applied under. It would not be known (or against the rules) if you went home to an address that was different than the tier you applied under, as long as it’s in the city of Chicago.

  • 104. Gwen Harris  |  January 13, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    At rehearsal ?

    Sent from my iPhone

  • 105. CarolA  |  January 13, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    HS Mom: Thanks for the clarity.

  • 106. RL Julia  |  January 14, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Anyone read the latest report on potential school closings/ underutlization/overcrowding/efficiency stuff. Sounds like they mean business about school closings and re-vamping attendance areas and etc…

  • 107. cpsobsessed  |  January 14, 2013 at 10:47 am

    RLJ – do you have a link? I don’t think I got that one.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 108. Mayfair Dad  |  January 14, 2013 at 11:56 am

    Might be time to start a new thread:


    The folks at RYH have been very vocal about the flawed process and bogus methodology employed by the commission. Their own Apples-to-Apples study debunks CPS’s slippery math. Also the optimal square footage per student nationally (150 sq. ft.) vs. CPS average (96 sq. ft.) is questionable. They have done a good job calling “bullsh!t” on the typical CPS shenanigans.

  • 109. RL Julia  |  January 14, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    I liked the report – I regardless of the slippery math – it does appear to me that some schools should be consolidated – and I thought that the proposed criteria the the commission recommended was a lot more articulate and sensititve than anything else I’ve seen come out of CPS in the past five years. At least there seems to be an understanding that everyone is attached to their neighborhood’s schools and that there is never an easy way to close a school – and that an empty school is a huge liability in any neighborhood.

    I also liked looking at all the attached documents about the schools and etc.. There are some seriously empty schools in the CPS system – and a lot of kids not enrolled in CPS schools.

  • 110. cpsobsessed  |  January 14, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Thanks for posting. I’ll write a little summary later and start a Utilization post….

  • 111. Mayfair Dad  |  January 14, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    I agree that, from an underutilization standpoint, certain schools need to be closed and/or consolidated. I agree that, from a failure factory standpoint, certain schools need to be closed and/or turned around. The problem is CPS’s lack of credibility. So far, the fuzzy math and illusion of inclusion smacks of the same old same old.

  • 112. Mayfair Dad  |  January 14, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Interesting background information on how CPS handled an earlier round of school closings. Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.

    Click to access midsouth%20initial%20report%201-31-07.pdf

  • 113. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 14, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    Per CPS’s website: Mt. Greenwood, Cassell, and Sutherland have “Efficient” space utilization. From a practical standpoint, these schools are jam-packed full of kids. How in the eyes of CPS does this rate as “Efficient”?

    I know this will not be popular to say on this board, but there is a huge over-crowding issue at Sutherland. Nearby Vanderpoel’s student body does not come from the surrounding area, and the successful program could be moved to a school in an under-utilized area. Vanderpoel’s facility could be used as a neighborhood school to relieve the overcrowding at Sutherland.

    CPS relocated Lenart in a similar effort ~10 years back, and tried to do the same thing to Keller a few years ago. Thoughts?

  • 114. Mayfair Dad  |  January 14, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Here is the list of 136 underutilized schools that meet the commission’s criteria for closing:

    Click to access dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls

  • 115. Mayfair Dad  |  January 14, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Essential reading for those who want to get up to speed on the CPS underutilization/school closure issue:


  • 116. RL Julia  |  January 14, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    I think that the most recent Commission report reflects an understanding of the observations of the UIC report – and they do intend to hold charters to the same standards – although how it ultimately shakes out will be when one truly tells etc…

  • 117. RL Julia  |  January 14, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    From the Sun Times list – I can’t believe how small some of these school’s populations are -especially since some of these buildings must be enormous!

  • 118. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 14, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    #113~SSD-O~you are correct~ every school in the ward is overcrowded ~not one inch for one more person~but CPS will keep cramming kids (and kids that don’t live in the City) into the schools. The thing with Keller a few yrs back wasn’t an overcrowding issue.

  • 119. Mayfair Dad  |  January 14, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Agreed, RLJ, how does anyone expect CPS to operate efficiently with so many schools at <30% utilization – many of which also happen to be Level 3 underperforming schools? I think what sticks in many people's craw is that CPS plans to open more charter schools simultaneously, creating the appearance of CPS talking out of both sides of their mouth. Not my craw because a complex problem requires a multi-pronged solution and CPS has mismanaged their real estate portfolio for decades. Now CPS has half-empty underperforming schools in dangerous gang ridden neighborhoods, and schools bursting their seams in safe, desireable neighborhoods. To illustrate this last point, I will post two separate graphics.

  • 120. Mayfair Dad  |  January 14, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    First graphic is from Chicago Magazine, mapping gang activity with an overlay of level three (underperforming) schools.


  • 121. Mayfair Dad  |  January 14, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Second graphic is from The New York Times, mapping Chicago’s 500+ 2012 homicides.


    What would be really insightful is a graphic that incorporated:

    – gang activity
    – homicides
    – schools that met the commission’s criteria for closure/consolidation

  • 122. RL Julia  |  January 14, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Interesting. Thanks!

  • 123. SutherlandParent  |  January 14, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    @113, the topic of relocating Vanderpoel has come up before on this board. Even though Sutherland is jam-packed–I mean, cough cough, efficiently utilized–and I’d love to see smaller class sizes, I have a big problem with the idea of moving a successful school like Vanderpoel and creating an entirely new neighborhood school. It’s just tremendously disruptive and unfair for those who have invested years in their schools. I’d like to see CPS put some funds in Sutherland in the form of an annex or addition. (And not that I don’t love that vintage 1928 building, but it would be nice to have some rooms where teachers could plug in technology from the 21st century without blowing a fuse.)

    @118 SSI4, Isn’t Esmond on the underutilized list? Although that building makes ours look state-of-the-art! And I thought the situation at Keller was precisely an overcrowding issue. Wasn’t the plan to relocate Keller to an underutilized building and turn the building into a neighborhood school to handle overflow from Cassell and Mt. Greenwood? The community protested, Keller stayed and Mt. Greenwood got a new annex. Not that I’m jealous or anything 🙂

  • 124. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 14, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    #123~SP~Sutherland had their chance for annex and the principal blew it~the principal b4 Conway ~he didn’t have the vision. When their annex was being built, it could have been 2 floors but the principal didn’t think they would ever be able to fill it~poor vision on his part.

    As for Keller, I don’t believe it was an overcrowding issue. I do think they wanted to put Keller in an underutilized school, but I believe they wanted Keller for something else.

    Cassell is just bursting at the seams and in fact, it doesn’t have seams any longer~it’s unreal.

    As for Sutherland, didn’t they just have renovation in summer of 2011~they should have added that second floor to the annex and enclosed it to the school~but that would have made too much sense for CPS to realize.

  • 125. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 14, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    @123 Sutherland Parent – I’m confused, I guess. How would re-locating the Vanderpoel program be unfair? I don’t know a single family in the 19th ward that sends their child to Vanderpoel, so wouldn’t relocating it to closer to where the majority of the children live seem like a no-brainer?

  • 126. SutherlandParent  |  January 14, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    @SSI4, would love, love, love to have a second floor added to the annex–or there is even room on the campus for another annex! But you are right, that’s way too much sense for CPS. And most of our “renovation” was a new boiler and roof repair. (We also did some work to the concrete steps, but that came from a grant from Lowe’s, not CPS.) I think most of us outside of CPS would consider that long-overdue basic upkeep, but it was implied that we should be grateful for what we got.

    And from what I’ve heard, the principal at the time the annex was built (this is going about 25 years) was concerned that if he got a two-floor annex, CPS would start busing in kids from outside the district. Don’t know if that’s true, but I can see the logic to that.

  • 127. SutherlandParent  |  January 14, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    @125, if kids come from across the city to Vanderpoel, I’m not sure where a school would be that would be closer to where most of them live?

  • 128. SutherlandParent  |  January 14, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    And to add on to my own post, what if they locate the “new” Vanderpoel to a neighborhood where schools become crowded in a couple of years, and they decide to uproot the school again? I just think it’s a terrible precedent–CPS has no long-term vision or strategy and just runs around like a bunch of five year olds playing soccer.

  • 129. Mayfair Dad  |  January 14, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    Dear Southside Cousins,

    According to the CPSOAE website re: admissions to magnet elementary schools:

    Applicants who are siblings of students who are currently enrolled and will continue to be enrolled in the 2013-2014 school year are given preference.

    40% of seats remaining after siblings have been accommodated are allocated for applicants for the entry-grade level who live within a 1.5 mile radius of the school (magnet schools with an attendance boundary do not have a proximity procedure).

    Seats remaining after siblings and proximity applicants have been accommodated are filled by computerized lottery and in accordance with the tier system, where applicable.

    So perhaps 30 – 40% of Vanderpoel’s student body comes from within the 19th Ward? Just a guess. Common misconception is that magnet school students all come from somewhere else.

    Citywide gifted programs are a different story. That’s how Edison Park voters prevailed on their alderman to bump Edison Regional Gifted to Albany Park and reclaim Edison Park Elementary as a neighborhood school.

  • 130. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 14, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    @128 Hang on. Schools in the 19th Ward, with the exception of Esmond, are EXTREMELY crowded. Vanderpoel is a resource which has few local kids attending. It would seem logical to identify the ZIP code that has the highest # of Vanderpoel students, then locate an under-utilized CPS facility in that area that could accomodate the program.

    Neighborhood children already in Clissold, Kellogg and Sutherland boundaries could go there and relieve the over-crowding. CPS could save money by NOT having to build an annex, a new school, whatever. The majority of Vanderpoel kids could go to a school closer to their home and have more time to study, do sports, etc.

    Why is this a terrible precedent? Who LOSES in this scenario?

  • 131. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 14, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    @129 I’ve lived here for 7 years and have yet to meet a parent whose child attends Vanderpoel, a school less than 1/2 mile from my home.
    I have NEVER seen a child from around ANY part of East Beverly or North Beverly walking to/from Vanderpoel. Sutherland? Sure. Kellogg? Every day. Vanderpoel? NEVER.

  • 132. Mayfair Dad  |  January 14, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    @ 131: Perhaps the Vanderpoel folks are neighbors you just haven’t met yet. In any event, there is at least one precedent – Edison Regional Gifted – where the alderman got involved and conspired with CPS to reclaim a building from a citywide gifted program to create a neighborhood school.

    It is a bit frustrating for those of us who live in Safe Chicago with overcrowded schools that the focus is on underutilized schools in Dangerous Chicago (for the most part). A comprehensive approach to rightsizing the school district would have made more sense.

  • 133. SutherlandParent  |  January 14, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    @130–I KNOW schools in the 19th Ward are overcrowded–my kids go to Sutherland! If anyone in the entire ward would benefit from turning Vanderpoel into a neighborhood school, it’s us. And I still think it’s the wrong thing to do. It’s one thing to look at changes to schools that are struggling or underutilized, and Vanderpoel is neither one of those things.

    Do you know that a large percentage of Vanderpoel attendees live in one ZIP code that has a conveniently underutilized school lying around that provides all the facilities they get at Vanderpoel? Have you talked to any parents at Vanderpoel to see if they think this is a winning situation for their kids? They might have a different theory about what’s good for their kids.

    And kicking out Vanderpoel isn’t even necessary. Esmond is underutilized. I don’t believe Barnard is at full capacity? Rather than shift boundaries north to Vanderpoel, why not shift them south and east? You could send kids who are currently at Clissold and Mt. Greenwood there, then have a ripple effect to Cassell, Sutherland and Kellogg. Vanderpoel stays a magnet school and Esmond becomes “efficiently utilized.” Problem solved.

    And as Mayfair Dad points out in @129, parents in the 19th Ward who don’t like the current situation at their neighorhood school are free to apply to Vanderpoel.

  • 134. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 14, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    @133 You may be on to something regarding Esmond. According to CPS, Esmond has 345 kids. Ideal student size is 840. So, get this: Relocate Vanderpoel’s program, which has 305 kids to nearby Esmond. 650 kids would attend the school, which would make Esmond not at 100% ideal effective, but much, much closer.

    Vanderpoel could be turned into a neighborhood school to relieve overcrowding at Sutherland and Kellogg. No-brainer. Has anyone talked to Alderman O’Shea about this?

  • 135. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 14, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    #132~MFD~No, there are no neighbors at Vanderpoel. There def could be, but Beverly ppl won’t go there.

    #134~SSD-O~that’s a good idea for Vanderpoel students to go to Esmond and Vanderpoel to become a neighborhood school. That could work. As of now, I don’t think anything w/Esmond is going on, even though it is underutilized. O’shea might be receptive to that. Look at Lenart, they did fine when they relocated.

  • 136. anonymouse teacher  |  January 14, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    I am going to predict that for the northside this will happen: Gale Academy will be closed and those students will be sent to Jordan and Field/New Field. Many Jordan/Field/New Field kids went to the UNO school, leaving those schools with many fewer kids than previously attended so there is plenty of room. But Gale kids come from an area of Rogers Park that is perceived as more highly crime/difficult/gang ridden than the rest of RP. Gale students typically perform (according to test data) below their neighboring counterparts and struggle with poverty, not sure how much higher the levels of poverty are. When Gale kids get sent over, those receiving schools will lose even more kids because there is a definite feeling in the area of “those kids are bad”. Whether they are or not, I am not judging. New Field was built to relieve the overcrowding at Field. Eventually, my guess is the two will reconsolidate when those families flee the school (from real or perceived problems). This will also result in gang line crossings between Field and Gale middle schoolers. Which may result in even more crime in RP. What a mess. But, UNO will benefit that’s for sure.

  • 137. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 15, 2013 at 7:20 am

    #136~ATeach~absolutely correct. CPS school day and yr is centered around testing. Rahm gave Wireless Gen (his friend Murdoch’s corp) $4.7M contract for more tests~in order to have the minutes required by state law as instructional minutes~he lengthened day/yr by just enough to get all the tests in. Our kids don’t get any more instruction time, but they do get more testing time.

    And for the charters opening~Rahm can warehouse kids up to 90 in classroom w/only 2 teachers~he cuts teachers salaries (fires union teachers/hires cheap non union) and pays his friends $$$ for more testing. He does plan on adding more subjects to high stake tests. He’s ruining CPS as he is ruining Chicago.

  • 138. another CPS mom  |  January 15, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    Do you think Rahm will win a second term as mayor?

  • 139. another CPS mom  |  January 15, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    Doesn’t overcrowding at schools like Sutherland keep the numbers up at local Catholic grade school?

  • 140. anonymouse teacher  |  January 15, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    @137, I did not realize Wireless Gen was attached to Murdoch. It is interesting. Right now, a lot of WG’s tests have fallen into the “optional” range, but the WG prof. dev. people keep trying to tell teachers they MUST use all the tests. Which causes a lot of confusion, because then we all go back to our admins asking what we have to do and don’t have to do, the admins tell us “no, you don’t have to give this test or that test”, we go back to WG and they continue to insist we have to give the tests. Even after the network chiefs get involved and state NO we don’t have to give x, y, or z test the WG people still insists we have to. It all makes a lot of sense now. Someone is making money off of this.

  • 141. CarolA  |  January 15, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    @138 I hope not!

  • 142. 38random2  |  January 15, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    137 yes, private school rocks!

  • 143. northwest teacher  |  January 15, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    NWEA test are given more importance than if a child lives in an abused family…..principals , probably becuae they are forced, don’t really care about the well being of a child as much as they do their all important test scores. just the beginning of they year our principals told us that she isn’t that worried about test scores. then about a few months ago we suddenly were bombreded with emails about the importance of testing. Parents your child is just a number on a sheet now. principals have no time to really care about students. they care if they can’t take a test, but that is really all. all subjects and lessons are in pursuit of better testing scores. the kindest most caring teacher is out the door if NWEA doesn’t go up. the test itself is very very insane. scores go up and down 10 20 30 points in a matter of months or even weeks. i would really press your principals to ask why this test is suddenly so important and why scores are known to drop and raise so inconsistently. i have no proof, but NWEA is very strange. it just showed up one day. its the new isat. i really don’t see what it has to do with common core. if children are supposed to study one subject in depth like division for a month, why are they being asked to take a test on other areas of math and reading they never touch…in the end it’s a guessing game! nothing more…and their is no security ….it could so easily be gamed…some schools give thier kids an hour…others all the time they want…no controls at all…some kids take it in the am…others at their leisure…some kids get it at the end of the day and are rushed?? i would ask these questions…why why why! as much as i hated the ISAT at least it comes with rules …..some kids don’t even know they have a calculator…no practice tests…some kids take it over …some don’t its all a bunch of whoooooey…..

  • 144. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 16, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    With all the unethical behavior of CPS and Rahm, how can we trust them to do right by our children? No one of any importance has been w/CPS for more than several months but knows what’s best for our kids? The corruption of CPS and Rahm is beyond reproach. The whole central office should be let go, all of FACE and it’s obvious now more than ever we need an elected schl boe, one that puts OUR kids b4 their political agenda.

  • 145. another CPS mom  |  January 16, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    I wonder where the student who was dropped off at Jones today by a car with both Berwyn and Chicago Heights city stickers lives. Looks like mom was driving.

  • 146. twoyahoos  |  January 16, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    About 5-7 years ago, I couldn’t understand why my daughter didn’t make it into the after school programs at her school. She was continuously denied entrance. I was asked if we filled out the reduced lunch application, which we didn’t need…therefore I didn’t fill it out. I was strongly encouraged to fill out the application again, in which I lowered my salary considerably. Voila! We reapplied and she was now able to participate in the after school programs, which were funded for low-income students. Her school did not provide an option that wasn’t funded in this manner. Not happy about lying, but she finally was able to participate. What an eye-opener for me. I have never believed the “numbers” since that moment. And for the record, a few years later, our “application” was rejected by the same school. Glad that game is over!

  • 147. CarolA  |  January 16, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    Also…some schools let the classroom teacher be in the room while the students are taking the NWEA and others do not. Especially with primary students, it’s best if the children are around a person who they normally see every day instead of a proctor. Kind of makes the playing field different for each teacher. Doesn’t quite make sense considering our futures depend heavily on the results of these tests.

  • 148. Relax  |  January 17, 2013 at 12:12 am

    145. another CPS mom | January 16, 2013 at 3:45 pm
    I wonder where the student who was dropped off at Jones today by a car with both Berwyn and Chicago Heights city stickers lives. Looks like mom was driving

    -JEEZ!!!- I bet she stole your daughter’s spot.

  • 149. Mayfair Dad  |  January 17, 2013 at 10:50 am

    @ 148: Maybe not, but they are stealing $60K worth of education from the taxpayers of Chicago, which is outrageous. Write down the license plate number next time and we’ll run a trace. Fraud is fraud.

  • 150. EdgewaterMom  |  January 17, 2013 at 10:53 am

    I am not sure that you can really assume anything by the stickers on the car that dropped the student off. It might not have been her mother, it might not have been their car. You could certainly look into it, but I really don’t think that you can jump to the conclusion that they committed fraud based on the car that dropped her off.

  • 151. cpsobsessed  |  January 17, 2013 at 10:58 am

    But I’d love to start a reality TV show about a team who track these people down….

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 153. Mayfair Dad  |  January 17, 2013 at 11:04 am

    @ 150. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. CPS address fraud is so widespread, blatant and brazen, this scofflaw doesn’t even bother to scrape the suburban stickers from her car.

    “Mayfair Dog: CPS Bounty Hounter” has a nice ring to it.

  • 154. EdgewaterMom  |  January 17, 2013 at 11:06 am

    @150 I would definitely watch that show! 🙂

  • 155. cpsobsessed  |  January 17, 2013 at 11:12 am

    It would be more enjoyable to bust some smug rich parents who rented a fake apt in Tier 1 than to send some hardworking 15yo back to a shitty neighborhood school. But still…can we make money off this idea?? :). Aren’t there local cable access channels where we can air it?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 156. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 17, 2013 at 11:21 am

    @145 Could be a divorced couple, the daughter got dropped off by an aunt, tons of different scenarios.

  • 157. SutherlandParent  |  January 17, 2013 at 11:35 am

    @153, could I be your sidekick on the reality TV show? I’d have to be the enthusiastic but hapless sidekick, of course 🙂

    I would definitely report the car with non-city stickers and let CPS take it from there. There could be legitimate reasons why someone from outside the city may be doing drops offs and pickups. If parents are divorced, the non-custodial parent may not live in the city but sometimes do drop off and pickup. At our house, SutherlandBabysitter lives in the ‘burbs and drives her own car, and she regularly picks up the kids. SutherlandGrandparents live in Indiana and occasionally do the same. That’s why the process exists–once they start looking in to it, CPS should be able to figure out who is gaming the system and who isn’t.

  • 158. cpsobsessed  |  January 17, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Well yeah, wed follow the car. Not EVERY case can end with a bust. That would be too predictable! This could serve as a good deterrent too. Be honest or end up on the show…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 159. HS Mom  |  January 17, 2013 at 11:55 am

    @157 – If you have a license plate number and theoretically CPS can get vehicle information based upon someone phoning in “a car dropping off a CPS student”, what would that give you? Can you even get student names and addresses based upon the registration of a vehicle? Just wondering. Does anyone know? Is CPS entitled to vehicle registration info? How exactly would one go about proving residency. I imagine that you would need to have the student name and reason to believe that they do not live in the city.

    Just saying, in the situation you describe – relatives dropping off a kid – I wouldn’t want my family being investigated. It’s kind of an invasion of privacy.

    Also, don’t forget about the fact that many Chicago residents have vehicles registered outside the City. Maybe Mayfair Dad’s detective agency can partner with Insurance companies to actually make some real $$$$ on this 😉

  • 160. RL Julia  |  January 17, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    Anyone want to share/start any more CPS urban legends?

  • 161. Peter  |  January 17, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    @160 lol!

  • 162. Peter  |  January 17, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    If only Chico or Mosley Braun were Mayor….

  • 163. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 17, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    #159~HSM~Yes, if you have license plate #, you would give it to the principal who in turn would hand it over to the investigators for CPS (our school is in contact w/these investigators all the time)~if the license plate is registered out of boundary/city/state~they process the information until they are satisfied. Our school has had numerous families leave our school for this. Unfortunately, just as many fake CPS kids take their place. It’s a vicious circle~one that is costly for CPS and CPS tax payers~and it makes my school overcrowded which is unfair to my kids and the other kids in my kids’ CPS school.

  • 164. smadness  |  January 17, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    SoxSideIrish4- If htis is a persistant problemn at your school, maybe the principal can send a strong warning letter when parents are registering that they will be caught. Might make some think twice.

  • 165. Mayfair Dad  |  January 17, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    From a logistics standpoint, Jones is ripe for address scam because of its close proximity to the expressway. Ethically challenged suburbanites can zip in, do the drop-off, and zip out before us clueless city folk even realize what just happened.

    SP, I gonna need to hit the gym before I begin my new career as reality star/bounty hunter, but I appreciate your offer. Let’s keep in touch.

  • 166. Mayfair Dad  |  January 17, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    @ 158: yeah, like Cheaters 🙂

  • 167. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 17, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    #164~it’s rampant in all the schools in our area. our principal has not sent a letter, but when new families come to register they have to have documentation w/chicago phone #s. The problem with that is some ppl no longer have landlines so their area code and prefix could be from out of city.

  • 168. HS Mom  |  January 17, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    @163 – kind of interesting. I once drove a car owned by my father in the suburbs who has a different name than myself or my child. Full disclosure, I did use my city address to insure it.

    Not so sure that I agree with the “phone in the alleged info and let CPS sort it all strategy”.

    Mayfair Dad – you are right about Jones location being convenient to outsiders (and insiders too!). I find it mind boggling that in the tiny strip available on State street to practically push your kid out of the car while navigating downtown traffic that people can spot suburban stickers and tell which suburb they are to boot. 95% of the kids take public transportation.

    We have heard of one kid that goes to Whitney who takes the Blue line all the way out and transfers to the bus to Oak Lawn. Deception is not limited to car riders at all.

  • 169. 33reason8  |  January 17, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    when you start the dectective agency, you might check on teacher residency too. hahaha

  • 170. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 17, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    @168 Wow, kind of a dumb-** for a kid. He’d be better off taking the bus to the Oak Lawn Metra stop, taking that in to Union and then taking CTA to Whitney.

  • 171. cpsobsessed  |  January 17, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Ahem, a reminder that students some on here sometimes. And they don’t know any bad words…

  • 172. SutherlandParent  |  January 17, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    @168 HSMom, I don’t love the idea of people turning in to the East German Stasi and reporting on neighbors but (serious question), what else do you suggest to check addresses? From the way our principal has explained the process, CPS faces a very high burden of proof when it comes to determining fraudulent addresses. Not that CPS can’t screw up anything, as far as I can tell.

    I have a colleague who moved to the near south suburbs with kids in high school. One evening, a private detective knocked on the door and very politely asked to be let in to see the house and verify their students lived there. While the detective made it perfectly clear that the family did not have to let him in, he also made it very clear that there would be more intrusive follow up if he wasn’t allowed in right then and there. So they obliged. Not sure I like that approach much better!

    @165 MFD, that’s why I’m calling dibs on being the sidekick–no need to go to the gym, since I plan to be more like the Chumlee-from-Pawn-Stars sidekick, not the hottie sidekick.

  • 173. cpsobsessed  |  January 17, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    I can have guest-star sidekicks since people know some of you by name (well, your CPSO name.)

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 174. HS Mom  |  January 17, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    @172 – I know what you mean. If you think in terms of how things are set up now, seems that the overworked and underfunded OIG has their hands full. I don’t think I want to add vehicle searches to the list.

    Systematic changes could be as simple as requiring proof of address on an annual basis. We have only remitted ID once for kindergarten and that carried over through high school. We did change our address once which was simply a matter of filling out a form in the office. With interlinked technology the best forms of verification would be something like a release that would enable CPS to connect to IRS, utilities, postal records or whatever appropriate source for purposes of address verification only (much like a bank or landlord does). This wouldn’t need to be done at all schools, only those that have the issue.

    Limit investigations to actual cases of reported fraud, and start by just asking before moving into the home search. Let people finish out the year if they move. The few cases that do slip through the cracks are probably more than off-set by Chicago kids who go to the suburbs. I think something extra (not sure what) should be done at selective schools so that the seats go to Chicago kids only.

    The other thing I thought was that maybe Rahm’s new speeding camera’s could do double duty 🙂

  • 175. local  |  January 17, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    Bruce Rauner is running for governor for the State of Illinois?

  • 176. Northside Teacher  |  January 17, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    Dont worry CPS parents…with the likes of Rahm, Republicans…..soon all schools will be private , charter, or voucher supported schools ….so your address will not matter…just the size of your salary!!

  • 177. local  |  January 17, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    Consider Gov. Rauner and Mayor Emanuel. Whoa.

  • 178. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 17, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Now principals are being evaluated http://www.catalyst-chicago.org/notebook/2013/01/17/20749/cps-unveils-new-principal-evaluations

  • 179. SutherlandParent  |  January 17, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    Good points, @174 HSMom. You also had me thinking with this comment: “This wouldn’t need to be done at all schools, only those that have the issue.”

    Because as the Tribune recently reported, there’s a huge truancy in CPS. And part of the issue is how some parents have trouble registering. So demanding more address documentation in order to cut down on fraud could also inadvertently make the truancy problem worse.


  • 180. Peter  |  January 18, 2013 at 10:39 am

    @175, Rauner is considering it. We need a better Republican Party here, Brady and right wing religious hacks won’t cut it. A socially moderate Republican like Rauner would be great.

    Quinn is a disaster of a Governor, though at least he’s not a crook.

  • 181. Mayfair Dad  |  January 18, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    @ 180 – Republican in the Governor’s office + Democrat in the Mayor’s office = checks and balances. I wish the GOP would find a credible, electable candidate but I don’t think Rauner is the answer. Pat Quinn has disappointed me more than any politician I have ever voted for.

  • 182. anonymouse teacher  |  January 18, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Isn’t Rauner the guy who has major ties to charter schools or am I confusing him with someone else?

  • 183. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 18, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    #182~AT~no, Rauner is the failed charter operator you are thinking of.

  • 184. anon  |  January 18, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    Rauner has been quoted as the future of education in Chicago is charter schools.He appeared on WTTW and said we should blow the district up. He is also on the board of New Schools Chicago.His name might sound familiar because of all his ties to Rahm Emanuel. Rauner brought Stand For Children to Illinois. He also met with CPS officials 13 times during a nine-month span as new chief Jean-Claude Brizard’s team was organizing policy after he was named schools boss.Much more but you can google for other info.

  • 185. chicago mom  |  January 19, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    Selective enrollment high schools need to spot check and catch people using false address they do no resident at. Once word gets out this is being done it will decrease. It should also be a federal offense if this is done. Isnt that hard to do. Bell Elementary really checks and they dont have many people lying about residency due to being caught.

  • 186. local  |  January 20, 2013 at 12:00 am

    “Democrat in the Mayor’s office”

    Emanuel? I’m not feeling the Democrat there.

  • 187. falconergrad  |  January 20, 2013 at 12:47 am

    I wish Scott Waguespack would run for mayor. Please give more suggestions, before I get too depressed over the names being mentioned. At least with 7 hour day, some parents will have more time to campaign against Rahm.

  • 188. wondering8  |  January 21, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    185 So SEHS schools could learn from Bell how to enforce residency cheats? Nice, if it works.

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