Per-Pupil Funding: Coming Soon to a School Near You

June 8, 2013 at 12:00 pm 521 comments


I’ve been hearing for a while, since JCB was new that CPS would switch to a different method of funding that would give principal much more autonomy and flexibility.  IN the current/old system, money was bucketed into certain “pots” and couldn’t be transferred around.  So if a school got money for things like copy machines, but didn’t really need all that money, they couldn’t transfer it to use for extra staffing.  Now multiply that by a whole bunch of different buckets and you’ll see the frustration and complexity that principals have faced in managing their schools’ finances.

So the “one big pot” seems like a good idea!

But.  The question is whether the one big pot is actually shrinking the amount that schools get.  Rumors are circulating that schools are now getting their budgets and some (it seems to be neighborhood schools) have had quite a bit chopped out of their annual operating budget.  Like perhaps to the point of having to remove several teachers in some of these schools?

Actually, I’m unclear what drove the specific amounts that the schools used to get.  If it wasn’t #-of-students-based, what was it??

Here’s what the CPS Press Release said about it:

Student-Based Budgeting represents a substantial shift in the way principals are allocated core instruction dollars. In previous years, principals received per-position, not per-pupil, allocations from the Central Office based on an outdated formula that dictated specific numbers and types of positions to fill within their schools. The formula often did not adequately tailor resources for the student body that principals and teachers were working with every day.

By moving to a Student-Based Budgeting funding model, CPS is ensuring that principals will no longer be limited in their ability to invest resources in a way they believe will best meet their students’ needs. The pool of newly flexible funding will represent about 50 percent of a school’s budget and include money for core staff, educational support personnel, supplies and additional instructional program. This new funding model will also create more equitable core funding across all schools in the District.

The remaining funding in a school’s budget is made up of various resources provided for educational supports outside of core instruction funding. Examples include supplemental general state aid and money for special education, magnet, International Baccalaureate, bilingual, STEM, English language learner and Title I programs as well as operations funding, including money for transportation, security and nutrition services. These funds will not be affected by the funding formula change.

WBEZ reported on the topic this week and notes that the per-student $ amount seems lower in the past.  CPS has not stated whether Charters will get the same amount as non-charters (in the pas they’ve gotten less.)

More than 40 district schools and the city’s 104 charter schools have been funded this way for several years. But the rates were set at roughly $6,000 per student for elementary schools and $7,000 per student for high schools.

CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll said the per pupil rates for next year will be $4,429 per student in kindergarten through third grade, $4,140 per student in 4th through 8th grade, and $5,029 per student in high school.

Carroll did not immediately know if charter schools, which have long complained about being funded inequitably, will be getting the same amounts as district-run schools.  The new rates are significantly lower than charters’ previous per pupil rates of $6,070 per elementary student and $7,587 per high school student.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Tier Admissions for SEHS 2013/4 School Year Reader Article on Chicago School Segregation

521 Comments Add your own

  • 1. falconergrad  |  June 8, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Ok, just perused your post, that seems like a very big difference from last year’s school that were funded this way. 😦 Heard from the principal that our neighborhood school’s budget is lower but I don’t know by how much right now.

    Are they hoping Jesus will show up to do a loaves and fishes thing?

  • 2. cpsobsessed  |  June 8, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Shoot, forgot to post the link but Raise Your Hand is hosting a meetig weds night to discuss the topic. I don’t have access now but it’s on their facebook page.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 3. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 8, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Trib is reporting that n’hood schools and charters will received the same dollar amount.,0,1862723.story

  • 4. JLM  |  June 8, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    This will only serve to widen the gap between “rich” and “poor” schools. If a rich school wants to keep the teachers with long tenure and/or masters’ degrees, they can fundraise to do so while the poor schools will be out of luck. Obviously, not all new teachers are bad and not all long-service teachers with masters degrees are great, but all in all, this sounds horrible. And the union’s not going to like this one bit.

  • 5. anonymouse teacher  |  June 8, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    Does anyone know if teachers qualify for unemployment if they are laid off? I think I might lose my job along with 7 or 8 others at my school.

  • 6. cpsmommy  |  June 8, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    This is a bit dated, but here is what a member of the Rochester School Board thought of this a few years ago when it was about to be implemented there. He makes some interesting points.

    Allen Williams: Equitable School Funding is a bad idea

    « on: March 20, 2011, 09:29:10 AM »

    Op-ed from the D&C by School Board Commissioner Allen Williams:

    Equitable Student Funding, ESF, is a distribution model that allocates funds to a student based on characteristics that a student has and on the weight or value assigned to those characteristics. These factors determine how much money is allocated to each student. The funds then follow the student to whatever school the student attends. Think of it as a voucher that the student has and the student can then buy educational services. In theory it is a great concept. Students who have a greater need for services because of poverty, learning disability, non-English speakers are allocated more funding in an effort to level the playing field.

    Implementing ESF within the City School District is a bad idea. In January the Superintendent made a presentation to the Board of Education and announced that he would implement the ESF model across the entire district. In 2010 the Board was led to believe ESF would be piloted in four schools and then gradually phased in. The Board was and has remained silent on the issue. What the Superintendent is doing in Rochester is flawed in many ways.

    The concept is untested in Rochester. When introducing a new textbook, teaching methodology, or process, you should conduct a pilot program, observe the impact, make adjustments, correct mistakes and then do a partial or complete rollout. The Superintendent decided to do a full rollout without the benefit of a pilot. This decision has created massive problems for principals as they try to learn and navigate the system and develop their budgets all at the same time.

    ESF fails to address the fundamental issue in urban education; adequate funding. ESF tells you how to distribute funds but it fails to answer the question of whether those funds are enough to deliver a “sound basic education.” Nor does ESF provide a mechanism to insure that funds are directed to programs or strategies that are effective.

    In Rochester each student will be allocated $3,682 as a base level of funding. If you are a Special Education student you will be allocated an additional $5,826. How were there numbers determined? Where is the data to justify the amounts? Under ESF a 1st grader and 12th grader will be allocated the same amount of funds. Are the costs to educate a 1st grader and 12th grader equal? ESF does not provide the rationale for the funding differences nor is it transparent.

    The model is very complex and it turns a principal into a budget analyst rather than an instructional leader. For a school or district that is struggling with raising student achievement we can ill afford to implement a program that would divert a principal’s attention from their primary task.

    Allen Williams
    Rochester City School Board

  • 7. Sped Mom  |  June 8, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    I wonder what this will mean for students with IEPs. Where will the invisable hand push?

  • 8. Angie  |  June 8, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    @6. cpsmommy: So what happened in Rochester in the two years since this letter? I’m assuming their public school system is still standing.

    It’s hard to discuss budgets without knowing how much money the schools actually received under the new system vs. the previous years. Given the dismal state of CPS finances, it is possible that the school budgets would have been slashed even without changing to the new funding system.

    Also, I suspect that one of the side effects of the new system will be the incentive for the schools to fill up the all the classrooms to the maximum capacity allowed by the CTU contract.

    Up and coming schools sometimes have full lower grades, and lots of empty seats in the upper grades. I’m not sure how the system works now. Let’s say a school currently has a 4th grade with 22 kids in it. If a neighborhood 4th grade kid shows up, he/she will of course be accepted. But what if an out of boundary kid applied for the 4th grade? Does anyone know if the school is required to accept them under the current system, and who gets to make this decision?

  • 9. Sped Mom  |  June 8, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Make that invisible.

  • 10. WesLooMom  |  June 8, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    I have an incoming K student. This year was my first experience w/ CPS, and it’s been awful. The CTU strike, by itself, was enough to shake my confidence in Chicago’s public school system. And, I won’t even mention how I feel about tiers, testing 4 and 5 year olds, and lotteries. Now, there’s the budget. I understand that CPS has to tighten its budget. But I don’t understand why the budget discussion is focusing on neighborhood schools. What about the other schools? Will they not share the burden equally? If not, why not?

    If only I had another option than CPS…

  • 11. Mich  |  June 8, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    So basically we are funding kids at $1500 less per head than previously. Schools with long-term tenured teachers will have an interesting issue – you can’t fire your teacher because they’re too expensive can you? I suppose CPS answer is what @8 Angie suggests, hey, just add 200 kids to your school never mind you can barely squeeze 30 desks into the small rooms given everything else expected at the elementary level, you’ll find a way!
    I am just so disappointed and disgusted in this mayor. He has shown very clearly he cares NOTHING for the non-wealthy of this city.

  • 12. cpsemployee  |  June 8, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    The old school budgets were divided into a bunch of different funds. The board gave you a certain number of teaching positions based on your enrollment (1 position for every 31 4th-8th grade students, 1 for every 28 1st-3rd grade students) and they paid for those positions regardless of if they were staffed by “cheaper” 1st year teachers or “more experienced or educated” teachers. The board also loaded funds into certain other fund lines to pay for textbooks, equipment, copiers, paper, transportation for field trips, sub lines, etc. All those things that a school needs to do its job.

    This year there are no quota positions and no board funded lines for those expenses I mentioned. The board will pay for a principal, a clerk, a counselor, and the number of special education teachers needed to service the school’s SpEd students. They will also give the school a lump sum of money based on their enrolled students. It’s something like $4200 for each K-3 student and $4100 for each 4th-8th student. This lump sum must pay for everything else: teachers, books, computers, internet connectivity, subs, paper, cleaning supplies, etc.

    My school is a small neighborhood school in a very poor neighborhood but we’ve worked our asses off and are a Level 1 school. Why level 1? Because we have great teachers. Great, experienced, multiple-degrees teachers. Who are expensive and worth every penny. Our lump sum amount does not even cover their salaries. We will have to use our discretionary money (Title 1 money) to pay for some of them and that leaves us with $150,000 for everything else. EVERYTHING else.

    If we add in a few more split grade classrooms we could cut 2 teachers. But that would leave us with classrooms of 38-44 students and what is going to happen to the quality of education at our school? Class size DOES make a difference.

  • 13. cpsemployee  |  June 8, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    I also want to add that we are a small school because of our building size, not because we are underutilized. We are classified as being over capacity by CPS.

  • 14. WesLooMom  |  June 8, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    @12…Let’s be honest. CPS and Rahm are okay with larger class sizes. They know that class size can make a difference, but they have chosen to focus on other issues.

  • 15. neighborhood school  |  June 8, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Our budget this year is $124,000 less then the previous year. We also used to fundraise for full day kindergarten, but now the mayor says he is paying for that…yet he gave us $124,000 less!!!! RIght now the solution seems that we will loose teachers…being that our part time art teacher and more or go to split classrooms. We too are a small level 1 school that has worked hard and now I feel we are being punished because we are a neighborhood school and not a magnet school. It really seems this mayor and the board are trying tot get rid of neighborhood schools

  • 16. cpsmommy  |  June 8, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    @8 Angie: I tried to find information on whether Rochester still uses the per pupil funding approach, but I did not get very far. I would love to know what has happened.

    I think it is safe to say that class sizes will likely be bigger in many schools, but BBB and Rahm will be able to pass the buck along to the principal and not assume any responsibility even though they are the ones cutting the schools’ budgets.

  • 17. Falconergrad  |  June 8, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    @15 I get it now. It’s a shell game. I didn’t want the full day K for my incoming K student. And now I really don’t want it. How can he say he is paying for it when they cut the budget like this?

  • 18. Rfr6231  |  June 8, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    Since this came out with the details we currently know, I have not yet heard a positive story about its impact on a school. Perhaps it is too early to have heard anything, but I am disgusted. Whatever happened to Obama’s right hand man? The only people he seems to be fighting for are the 1% that attend private schools.

  • 19. maman  |  June 8, 2013 at 8:42 pm


  • 20. tchr  |  June 8, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    Wait… They are closing 50 schools so there will be more money to disperse among schools, right?

    When a kid shows up, my school takes them in. Plenty of them are out of boundary, but plenty use fake addresses (relatives) or if they do not have a permanent address, they are homeless and can enroll anywhere.

    Because several schools around us are closing, we were told to expect new families and huge classrooms next year. We are not a welcoming school, but families whose achools are closing can enroll anywhere they want.

    Do charters and magnet schools both have capacities they enforce?

  • 21. local  |  June 8, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    If fabulous ed journalist Rachel Barnhart is still working in Rochester, she’d know about how their ESF played out. Her email addy was

  • 22. cpsobsessed  |  June 8, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    I don’t think the families of the closing schools can enroll anywhere. They’re bound by the same rules as anyone else and many missed the magnet app period. That’s why they were protesting at pritzker last week. The WANT some spots at good schools with capacity but they have no leg up in getting in.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 23. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 8, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    There’s going to be an end of year option available for students from closing schools

  • 24. AP Mama  |  June 9, 2013 at 1:34 am

    I smell another union strike…
    @anonymouse – sorry to hear that you have to worry about your job security. You have been a wealth of information on this blog. Wouldn’t the union be able to answer your question about unemployment benefits? I would think that you be able to qualify. Good luck!

  • 25. cpsemployee  |  June 9, 2013 at 6:33 am

    @24 There won’t a union strike because there isn’t really anything to strike about. Schools will follow the contract guidelines but will be forced to create split classrooms and cut teaching positions. Those don’t break the contract, they just create less than optimal teaching conditions.

    Class size will definitely get larger and CPS seems okay with this.

    BBB said that students of closing school can enroll at any school with “capacity.” She was referring to neighborhood schools, not schools with special enrollment criteria such as testing. Typically taking a student into a neighborhood school who is not in the attendance area has been at the discretion of the principal. I’m not sure how this is really going to play out.

    One of the biggest hits is coming from the newly required all day kindergarten. My school must now pay for 2 teachers at a grade level where we formally paid for one. The most frustrating part about kindergarten at our particular school is that most of our parents don’t want all day kindergarten. And kindergarten isn’t required by law so many of our parents didn’t even send them to half-day kindergarten.

  • 26. cpsobsessed  |  June 9, 2013 at 7:01 am

    @cpsemployee: regarding what you said that BBB says kids can enroll at schools with capacity, this doesn’t mean they’ll sidestep waiting lists, correct?
    I *tthnk* it means if say my son’s school has some random spots open in certain grades after they’ve addressed any waiting lists, then those kids can have them (which is pretty much always the case.) And its up to families to find these spots, I assume. Is that your understanding?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 27. cpsobsessed  |  June 9, 2013 at 7:06 am

    Oops, reading posts backwards, so looks like there is a new option for the students in closing schools…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 28. tchr  |  June 9, 2013 at 7:46 am

    ” And kindergarten isn’t required by law so many of our parents didn’t even send them to half-day kindergarten.”

    My school has always had 2 full day K classrooms. The kids I get in K are so far behind. We work so hard to get them ready for first grade (reading at instructional E is the big push at my school.) Those first grade teachers would be furious getting full classrooms of students that didn’t know their basics- students that had never been to preschool or kindergarten. Many of the students I get in kindergarten were in some sort of day care, but it doesn’t compare to being in preschool. They can sing their ABCs …..

    Our primary team also work their butts off- we don’t want to close! How does your school make it with so many kids coming to first grade at age 6/7 with no previous early education!?!

    And I am just relaying what I was told by my principal. We are a neighborhood school, not a magnet or charter, so we don’t have waiting lists. We have had phone calls from new families to enroll their kids. Unfortunately, for Kindergarten, most families wait till the first day of school to enroll or even a few weeks into the school year. I usually get a class list with 8 names on it when I first get back from summer. And then it climbs each day to around 30. Maybe that will be different this year since we are all on the se calendar?

  • 29. cpsemployee  |  June 9, 2013 at 8:13 am

    @cpsobsessed – my understanding about the “capacity” re students of closing schools is the same as yours. If a parent finds a school that has a few random open seats they can try to enroll their child there. It does not allow them to jump the line at wait-listed schools (see article on attempting to enroll at Pritzker) or get into special programs they have not tested for, etc. Basically it’s the same as it’s always been.

    @tchr – it does make for a very challenging 1st grade when a number of those 1st graders did not attend kindergarten. It helps that we have 2 very exemplary 1st grade teachers!

  • 30. Portage Mom  |  June 9, 2013 at 8:14 am

    I think this whole per student funding is just a way to close the CPS budget deficit all the while packaging the loss in dollars as giving principals more control over the budget. i never understood why we were having full day kindergarten across CPS especially when there is the huge budget deficit. Now this all makes sense. Our mayor can claim credit for rolling out full day K in CPS all the while forcing principals to find a way to fund the program while having to cut others. Full day K is an unfunded mandate forced upon schools and parents alike.

  • 31. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 9, 2013 at 8:29 am

    30. Portage Mom | June 9, 2013 at 8:14 am

    I haven’t met a mom (in my area) who has a child going into grade K, that wants fullday. Principals are being forced to fund the positions. CPS is telling ppl~they have the money, principals just have to see what programs they want to keep~it’s not a choice bc there is no money to keep programs and staff.

    29. cpsemployee | June 9, 2013 at 8:13 am

    The new ‘option’ is not the same as it has always been for kids entering new schools. And I believe when school opens we will see that. See #23 for link.

  • 32. local  |  June 9, 2013 at 8:36 am

    @ 31. SoxSideIrish4 | June 9, 2013 at 8:29 am

    If you don’t run with work-FT-outside-the-home moms, then you likely won’t hear of the strong interest for all-day K. One more reason for working moms to avoid the 19th Ward.

  • 33. tchr  |  June 9, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Well, I may be unpopular in saying this, but for schools like mine, I think full day kindergarten is necessary. We, too, have exemplary teachers in first grade. And I am going to toot my own horn- I have kids who came to me not recognizing their own name or how to hold a pencil. And some of them and many of my other students are leaving me reading on close to end of first grade level. But some of those kids that came to me not knowing anything are leaving kindergarten where they should have been mid year. I don’t care how great of teachers our first grade team is, (and they are great) kids coming to them not knowing their names or how to hold a pencil, those kids are going to be far behind. We have RTI at our school but it’s not enough to support kids coming in missing those years of education. If we could have 2 classrooms of full day preschool at our school, I would support it. And I am sure the other primary teachers at my school would too. Now, I agree, if we were talking those classrooms at the sacrifice of other programs, it would not be so easy.

  • 34. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 9, 2013 at 9:58 am

    @ 32~ Well that just shows that CPS is a one-size-fits-all and doesn’t care abt the individual community’s needs. However I know women who work-FT-outside-the-home moms~who want 1/2 day grade K. Bc they feel~ it’s better for their kids…it would be EASIER for the moms, but not necessarily better for their kids. Also, some of the working moms have their kids in private 1/2 day grade k~so the kids learn in the am/then goes and plays and is ‘little’ for the afternoon. But if someone is a parent who only makes the ‘easy’ choice for yourself/kids~I would agree~stay away from the 19th. NOTE: B4 backlash on this board~I’m not saying that parents who feel their kids should have full day grade k are taking an easy road ~I’m just saying, I know FT working moms who don’t want the full day grade k. (Full disclosure~although I know FT working moms~I ‘run” with SAHM.)

    @ 33~ I agree in some instances/areas/communities/schools~full day grade k may be necessary. However, that’s not the case in all CPS. It would have been great to look at each community and see where $$$ could really be used to fund full day grade k properly instead of hiring a teacher or cutting a program.

  • 35. cpsemployee  |  June 9, 2013 at 10:31 am

    @31 Thanks for the link you referenced. The announcement is on the (formerly called) office of academic enhancement page and seems to be referencing magnet and magnet cluster schools. I’m not so sure it will also handle enrollment at regular neighborhood schools that may have seats available but I may be wrong. My school is a regular neighborhood school beyond capacity so I may not even see what ends up happening…

    Back to full-day kindergarten – I feel it doesn’t make sense to require full-day kindergarten when kinder attendance is not required, when funds aren’t available, and when parents may not want it. It has the feel of “universal breakfast” which spurred a lot of resentment in certain neighborhoods where parents did not need/want it.

    All I really know right now is that the next 2 weeks are going to be hard as my school makes some tough decisions regarding what to keep and what to let go in order to balance our budget and still provide the best education possible.

  • 36. CPS Parent  |  June 9, 2013 at 10:59 am

    What posters are forgetting is that CPS normally estimates at the low end for August attendance to avoid premature (and costly) hiring of teacher per the student/teacher formulas. Now that the entire school budget is determined by attendance this process has a more pronounced effect on initial budgets.

    If more parents became responsible citizens and enrolled their kids well in advance of the school year, this could be avoided. As it stands, large numbers of parents don’t start sending kids to school days and weeks into the school year.

    For high schools (elementary too?) another issue are the “waiver” positions which are approved teacher positions which are beyond the normal teacher/student ratio. All high schools have such positions. Principals will have to go back to Clark Street to re-justify these positions which has always been the case.

    All-in-all there is little that can be said about the new budgets until more time passes and real attendance is known.

  • 37. cpsmommy  |  June 9, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Another factor that will contribute to the chaos will be the earlier start of the school year. Many families just won’t come back to school until after Labor Day….even though the official start date is bumped up. There are many families that leave the country for the summer and wait until airfares are lower after Labor Day. So schools won’t really have a feel for enrollment until about a month in (give or take).

  • 38. NBCT Vet  |  June 9, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    The impact of “per-pupil” funding in my general enrollment neighborhood school, which receives neither extra money or additional teacher positions from the district like magnet and selective enrollment schools nor the benefits of corporate sponsorship like many charter schools, will be a monumental destabilizing force and a disaster.

    My large high school already has class sizes in the mid- to high-30s using the current quota staffing system. (By the way, there are no contractual or enforceable limits on class size in CPS.) Historically the number of teacher positions has been determined by the number of enrolled students. This makes intuitive sense – more students means more teachers, fewer students means fewer teachers. The principal has full control over what subject areas and departments to staff and how to staff them. For instance, since a very large proportion or our students are not native English speakers, we have a reading/literacy department to help them acquire important language skills. Most schools do not have a department dedicated to reading/literacy. So, our principal right now has full control over how to staff his building including the option to use discretionary funds to hire additional staff, which he does.

    But now, my principal will receive an arbitrary sum of money based on the number of enrolled students. While our principal may have more control over how money is spent he is in an unenviable position. The choices he must make in coming years are stark.

    Option 1: Maintain current staffing and class sizes by hiring the same number of teachers as this year. Unfortunately, at least when it comes to per-pupil funding, we have a strong, highly trained veteran staff. That means we’re expensive compared to first-year teachers fresh out of undergrad. If our principal brings back all of his veteran teachers our students will receive dramatically less support in all non-staffing areas like textbooks, science labs, technology, equipment, extracurriculars, field trips, special programs, etc.

    Option 2: Maintain non-staff spending and support for our student body by cutting teacher positions while retaining as many of his veteran staff as possible with the fewer dollars that are available. Class sizes will rise dramatically with fewer teachers and he will lose educators that are pillars of and leaders in our local and school communities.

    Option 3: Maintain current staffing and class sizes and also maintain non-staff spending and support for our student body. How? By hiring the same number of teachers, but replacing experienced and expensive veteran teachers with less expensive, inexperienced first-year teachers.

    Our administrators are apopletic over per-pupil funding. The net result of this new policy is a massive decrease in financial support for neighborhood schools and a large increase in funding for the privatization of the public service of education, all couched in manipulative public relations speak as an increase in autonomy.

    I have to compliment my employer – they are truly masters of sound byte deception.

  • 39. cpsemployee  |  June 9, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    @38 Thank you, you laid out the options so clearly and exactly described what’s going on in almost every general enrollment neighborhood school right now.

  • 40. Portage Mom  |  June 9, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    I was thinking of the movie, “Network” and some famous line from said movie. That’s what I feel like now. We went through the strike and now we have what appears to be some very significant cuts to next years school budget. Every year seems to bring more cuts to education spending. Our unemployment is higher than the national average. New York was able to pass legislation fixing their pension issues. We have states across the country who also had issues with public pensions and have taken hard and painful steps to fixing the problem and yet our wonderful public servants adjourned without passing any legislation fixing our pension problems. Problems that have caused downgrades from Moodys and other rating services.

    I looked online for the quotes and there are probably many here who don’t remember the movie because the movie was before their time. I just think the quotes from that movie apply to how I feel and how many parents feel as well.

    Lines from the movie, “Network”:

    “So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now, and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell: “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!!” I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell – ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad!… You’ve got to say, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!’

    We need to put pressure on our elected officials to do the work they were elected to do. We need to make the phone calls to our mayor, state representatives and let them know we do not support the cuts to education and pension reform has to happen. The pension crisis will continue draining dollars for education every year and this will only get worse unless the problem is fixed. Our public officials are not willing to show leadership and we need to let them know our priority is education and cuts to education are not acceptable.

    I will be calling my elected officials and let them know I want the cuts to education to stop. I want them to fix the pension problems or fire themselves. Yeah, I know that’s not going to happen but I think we need to pay attention and push for real changes to make sure we fix our pension issues. Elected officials take phone calls from their voters seriously. I think I read somewhere a single phone call represents about 6 voters.

    I worked for a major telecommunications company and whenever there was legislation coming up in Illinois concerning our company, we would receive emails urging us to call our elected officials to support our company’s position. Our phone calls were very effective given the legislation more often than not was passed favoring our company. We as parents must be willing to join an education advocacy group so we can stand up for our children’s education in Illinois and make the necessary calls to support educational policy that will benefit the children of Illinois. If we don’t, the cuts will just keep happening.

  • 41. Elliott Mason  |  June 9, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    I would love to give my neighborhood school budget reassurance by enrolling my daughter (for preschool; she’s 4) right now, but the letter saying what school(s) has accepted us hasn’t arrived yet. When I applied, they said we should get the letter in ‘early June’ and that we’d need to go apply in person at the school we picked no later than June 17th.

    It’s getting really dicey to actually have enough time to do anything with the letter, when it comes … what if we don’t get it till the 20th? Have the letters even been printed? If I went into one of the offices, could I get someone with sufficient authority to look up what it said on the letter when it WAS printed and tell us verbally?

  • 42. falconergrad  |  June 9, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    @40 Agree on all points. I think Raise Your Hand would be the group to join.

    Can anyone chime in on what this means for magnet and SE programs and schools? Do they get more per pupil or will they be in the same boat? If they get the same, I don’t see how they will be able to maintain the class sizes many of them usually have.

    As for veteran vs. newbie teachers, I don’t see how principals can get rid of more expensive teachers in favor of cheaper ones. Am I missing something?

  • 43. cpsemployee  |  June 9, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    @41 My school was notified this weekend through email that the preschool letters had been sent out. We were also told that we would receive a list of the students accepted and wait-listed for our school and should be prepared to start registration June 12, 2013.

    We have not yet received any lists but I’ll post when we do. We were also told to start calling the parents as soon as we got our lists and that we may be letting them know before their letter has arrived.

  • 44. SutherlandParent  |  June 9, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    @32 local, “One more reason for working moms to avoid the 19th Ward.” Um, ouch!! I know a lot of working moms who like living in the 19th Ward!

    I’m sure we have parents who strongly prefer the full day and others who still wish CPS offered half day. At our (19th Ward) school, until the ’08-’09 school year, there were two full day kindergarten classes and two half day. The full-day programs had waiting lists, while the enrollment in the half day programs, particularly in the afternoon, dipped enough that the administration dropped the PM half day. Now, of course, there are three full-day kindergarten classes.

    I know a lot of people who were fine with the full day kindergarten when it was 5.45 hours, but have concerns about the seven hour full day program. I totally get that—if I still had kindergarteners, I’d worry about such a long day for such little ones, too.

  • 45. local  |  June 9, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    “…But if someone is a parent who only makes the ‘easy’ choice for yourself/kids~I would agree~stay away from the 19th…”

    Them’s fightin’ words. “Easy.” Ha!

  • 46. local  |  June 9, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    “@ 33~ I agree in some instances/areas/communities/schools~full day grade k may be necessary. However, that’s not the case in all CPS. It would have been great to look at each community and see where $$$ could really be used to fund full day grade k properly instead of hiring a teacher or cutting a program.”

    If one values diversity, perhaps it’s best to have both full-day and half-day quality options for K available in each community and neighborhood school.

  • 47. anonymouse teacher  |  June 9, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    @42, as soon as the new ratings system for teachers is fully implemented (this year? next?), any teacher can be dismissed for a low rating, tenured or not. The fear is that if principals have a bare bones budget, their hand will be forced. They’ll have to get rid of their expensive teachers just to keep classrooms covered. They’ll be forced to give expensive teachers low ratings, deservedly or not, so they can fire them and hire cheaper teachers.
    @24, Thanks, I’ll be okay. Could be a blessing in disguise. I might go back and get my PhD so I can teach in university and I have a standing job offer at another university in a specialty program I teach in over the summers (so I’d teach there year round instead). Its less pay, but way less work. And I’ll be able to see my kids a lot more. We’ll see, I guess this is one more of those “buckle your seatbelts and hang on for the bumpy ride” moments in CPS.

  • 48. Rfr6231  |  June 9, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    Any thought why we are not hearing that much protest about this change? Hoping that once LSC meeting happen it may pick up. I will be at the RYH meeting n Wednesday and the LSC meeting Thursday at my son’s school. Fun week.

  • 49. cpsobsessed  |  June 9, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    So just to be clear – neighborhood schools no longer have the board funded positions and then they got discretionary funding to buy other positions? Are all positions now coming out of one pot that the school is allocated based on per-pupil funding?

    Or is this per-pupil funding for those extra spots beyond board-funded positions?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 50. cpsobsessed  |  June 9, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    Also, I have to think that the whole pot of money (ie budget) is smaller. If it hadn’t shrunk then some schools would be getting more if we’re hearing that many schools are getting less. So maybe they’d have all gotten less whatever the funding plan is?
    So either CPS is smart to do it this way because the cuts get masked in the per-pupil funding, or they’ve made a timing mistake and per-pupil funding will take the fall for what was really a shrunken budget.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 51. Jeanne Marie Olson (@JMOChicago)  |  June 10, 2013 at 2:11 am

    But if someone is a parent who only makes the ‘easy’ choice for yourself/kids

    Whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait, what? Neighborhood schools are not always the “easy” choice. We were at a highly-regarded magnet school for a year and left voluntarily because we felt that our child was not getting as quality an education as she would have gotten at our neighborhood school. And, now having experienced both schools, absolutely no regrets. Our neighborhood school is more functionally run, with programs and teaching that I have found to be exemplary.

    Other families can’t get to alternative schools, either because of not “winning the lottery” (it’s not choice, it IS chance) or not being able to get their child to a distant school and back. Some children are too young to take public transportation and/or live with a grandparent who cannot drive. While SEES and Magnet schools provide bussing (for now) once you get one of those spots, you have to get your children to open seats at other schools by yourself. Or if you have a parent who works more than one job, using the neighborhood school might be the best option for ensuring that you can get a child to and from school on time and safely because you don’t have any flexibility in your schedule.

    Neighborhood schools are not just an “easy” choice. I’m not sure I understand the vilification of neighborhood schools.

  • 52. cpsemployee  |  June 10, 2013 at 5:36 am

    @cpsobsessed – The “board-funded” positions at a neighborhood school are now: 1 principal, 1 counselor, 1 clerk. Also funded are food service and security. Depending on need, they will also fund a certain number of special ed teachers/aides, a half or full-time Bilingual Lead Teacher, and PreK teacher/aide.

    School are then given an amount called SBB (student Based Budgeting) funds. The amount is based on your number of enrolled students. This amount is used for teachers, aides, APs, additional counselors or clerks, instructional materials, operational costs, etc.

    A school will also have varying amounts of supplemental funds (Title 1, Title III, SGSA) based on the number of low-income students they service. These funds can be used to pay for positions, materials, etc

  • 53. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 10, 2013 at 7:22 am

    51. Jeanne Marie Olson (@JMOChicago) | June 10, 2013 at 2:11 am

    “I’m not sure I understand the vilification of neighborhood schools.” There is NO vilification. I love our n’hood schools in our ward~they have gr8 programs. What I was saying ~however, not very eloquently~is that every parent should do what’s best for their child, not necessarily what’s best for themselves. My choice of n’hood school was the best choice for my child. If there is any vilifying words ~ it’s toward CPS ~ a one-size-fits all district that doesn’t look at each community’s needs & toward Rahm, who wants to do so much all at once instead of taking his time to see if certain thing will work for certain schools~& his closing n’hood schools but opening up more charters…

  • […] Per-Pupil Funding: Coming Soon to a School Near You cpsobsessed:  The question is whether the one big pot is actually shrinking the amount that schools get.  Rumors are circulating that schools are now getting their budgets and some (it seems to be neighborhood schools) have had quite a bit chopped out of their annual operating budget.  Like perhaps to the point of having to remove several teachers in some of these schools? […]

  • 55. cpsobsessed  |  June 10, 2013 at 9:01 am

    @cpsemployee: thanks for clarifying. I guess that was spelled out already, I just still can’t get my head around it.

    So to clarify for others, in the past, “the board” would fund most of the positions at the school based on formula of the number of kids per grade. Of course principals would have the board cover their most expensive (older, experienced) teachers. Then the principal had a few positions to balance where they likely felt some pressure to go with cheaper teachers to get more humans for their money.
    Now for ALL positions, the princip has to really weight the cost/benefit of an expensive teacher to maximize their full school budget.
    So the burden of teacher salaries is being shifted to the principals, it looks like. There won’t be systematic policies, rather just “principals maximizing their school’s budget.”

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 56. Falconergrad  |  June 10, 2013 at 9:22 am

    @48 We don’t have details on our neighborhood school yet, so not sure how much was cut. Can you post details on the RYH thing? And if anyone hears of anything else to go to or attend, it would be great if you posted it here.

    Nobody is chiming in re magnet and SE. Anyone? Anyone?

  • 57. local  |  June 10, 2013 at 9:26 am

    From Crain’s: CPS close to eliminating $1 billion budget hole

  • 58. local  |  June 10, 2013 at 9:30 am

    @ 51. Jeanne Marie Olson (@JMOChicago) | June 10, 2013 at 2:11 am

    There’s still a lot of hate out there for FT working moms who have their children in school or daycare all day.

  • 59. local  |  June 10, 2013 at 9:33 am

    BTW, it wasn’t vilification of nabe schools, it was vilification of certain moms who place their K (& higher?) children in all-day school &/or daycare.

  • 60. Falconergrad  |  June 10, 2013 at 9:34 am

    @46 That is what we were going to have at our school this fall. Principal was going to do all full day and I brought up my concerns both personal and school wide. An LSC member suggested we could offer full and half and eventually that was what was decided. Rahm wrecked that.

    @44 I would not have objected to 5.45 hr K for all. If there was money for it.

  • 61. cpsobsessed  |  June 10, 2013 at 9:41 am

    Can we agree to not get into the working/non-working mom thing here? There are plenty other message boards that cover the full range of rage on the topic. 🙂
    I recall thinking how nice it would be to move past that drama (I used to be a full-on participant in debates) and now look — we have school to debate about!! I wonder what the topic will be when we’re empty nesters? Social security maybe…?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 62. local  |  June 10, 2013 at 9:44 am

    I’m unsure how one can untie parents’ work/life balance and CPS schedules/options/budget.

  • 63. Parent of 3rd grader @ a CPS charter school.  |  June 10, 2013 at 9:48 am

    WHY wouldn’t a parent want their child in Full Day kindergarten? I was excited and glad when my child could stay a whole day. It reduced my other childcare costs and prepared her for 1st grade. My daughter was doing “light” reading / phonics in K-5 (private school).
    Again, why wouldn’t you want to give your child more educational opportunities. Going to K 1/2 days for 3 hours is hardly enough time. The first and last 30 min. is spent calming them down and getting their attention.

  • 64. window  |  June 10, 2013 at 10:03 am

    please stop the mommy wars … go to NPN if you want to start that fight.
    it’s a personal and family-based decision. do what is right for you.
    this should be a discussion about what is going on with CPS budgets and funding.

  • 65. junior  |  June 10, 2013 at 11:05 am


    Here’s the salient part of that article:

    “Officials emphasized that some schools got more money and others got less, but confirmed that overall spending would decline by a fairly modest amount they declined to specify.”

    Typically opaque CPS-speak.

    If the overall pot remains the same, then per-pupil funding sounds like a better, fairer approach — one that is more equitable to poorer communities.

    What people seem to be upset about is cuts to their own schools, not necessarily a different formula for dividing the pie. I’m sure schools that receive more money based on the new formula will not find many faults with it.

    Right now schools that provide good working environments for teachers (ie, safer, more resources, better buildings, better neighborhoods, easier-to-teach students) attract more experienced teachers. The prior system shifts the elevated costs of those teachers to schools in poorer, tougher environments. Done right, the per-pupil funding seems to be more equitable.

    We’re probably hearing gripes mostly from the “have” schools, which probably stand to lose more than the “have not” schools. But the most important number — the overall size of the pot — doesn’t seem to be forthcoming from CPS.

    I’m sure there’s a lot of anxiety among experienced teachers, too. They are all paid according to the same pay scale, but do all of them offer the same added value? Some will face added scrutiny and will need to demonstrate their value. Sounds like many other professions.

    So, let’s separate the issues — budget cuts are one issue, funding formula for distributing that pie is separate.

  • 66. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  June 10, 2013 at 11:33 am

    @12 @55 cpsemployee does an excellent job explaining a convoluted process. But it went like this for elementary schools:

    Starting at the sum of students in grades 4-8 based on the 20th day enrollment numbers, the sum was divided by 31 (the ratio for students to teachers), and then rounded down to the nearest whole number. That was the number of teachers for grades 4-8. So, if you had 250 4-8th grade students, the school would get 8 teachers for those grades. Then, they multiplied 8 (# of teachers) by 31, and that product was subtracted from the actual number enrolled. In this case, 250-248=2. The difference of 2 was added to the number of students enrolled on the 20th day in grades 1-3. If the 20th day figure was 180, then the number 182 (180+2) would be divided by 28 (the ration for students to teachers in those grades), to get 6.5. That number would be rounded up to 7, so seven grades 1-3 teachers.

    If you have the stomach for more, go to the old budget books at look up “School Funding Formula”.

    In principle, the new system makes more sense. Give a dollar amount per student enrolled. But, because as cpsemployee points out, the board used to pay for the total cost of the position the formula generated, the new system means that more experienced and credentialed teachers will consume more of a share of the per-pupil dollars.

    But the principal cannot choose to fire an experienced teacher just to pay for more inexperienced teachers. The principal will be forced to let go the probationary teachers.

  • 67. Patricia  |  June 10, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    The additional funds for SGSA/free-reduced-lunch will be in addition to the per pupil number, correct? So for high poverty schools, they get the extra funding for high poverty populations. Those in more affluent areas, will not receive these additional funds. Right? This same dynamic happens currently. So, schools that do not have a lot of students receiving free and reduced lunch, will have to continue to fundraise to make up for not getting state SGSA funding. Same as current situation.

    I hope that with this new funding formula, it will be easier to see what all schools do with their dollars. I have posted many times that high poverty schools get a lot of money from the SGSA and it is hard to understand why they don’t have books, music, arts, etc. (Note:security is still—yet another—-line item funded by the board, so a school has separate secuirty and SGSA buckets.)

    When looking at an individual school budget, it is not just the per pupil number, there is also SGSA for a majority of CPS schools. In the same regard, magnets and other specialty programs are separate from the per pupil numbers and should be taken into account when looking at the impact on an individual school. Someone please correct me if I am misunderstanding!

  • 68. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 10, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    59. local | June 10, 2013 at 9:33

    Local~there was NO vilifying of working moms~ALL moms have tough choices.

    CPSO~I won’t write on this again but it was NOT intended to be hurtful toward working moms.

  • 69. local  |  June 10, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    “…But if someone is a parent who only makes the ‘easy’ choice for yourself/kids~I”

    Ah, no. That’s a judgement re: “only makes the ‘easy’ choice” in the context of that comment. I think the word “only” gives it away. 😉

  • 70. local  |  June 10, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    @ 64. window | June 10, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Parental options and decisions for children’s education is tightly woven into CPS budget. Ditto for all the other hot-button issues, like race, class, labor, etc.

  • 71. local  |  June 10, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    BTW, doesn’t NPN still skew heavily toward the northside, despite its name change? It’d be great to see such networks duplicate themselves on all “sides” of the city.

  • 72. local  |  June 10, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    “I’m sure there’s a lot of anxiety among experienced teachers, too. They are all paid according to the same pay scale, but do all of them offer the same added value? Some will face added scrutiny and will need to demonstrate their value. Sounds like many other professions.”

    Are we seeing such a pay-for-value system in medical and legal professions yet?

  • 73. junior  |  June 10, 2013 at 4:27 pm


    Yes, we are.

  • 74. cpsobsessed  |  June 10, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Here is the RYH info:

    Hi all – please share this important meeting with your school contacts. If you are at a neighborhood school you will likely be finding out soon that your school lost a lot of positions. We will be discussing the budget, potential funding sources and a plan of action. Meet data scientist Bill Drew from the Civic Lab, who will be giving a presentation on TIFs. We are also having a meeting Thursday at 10am regarding a state funding campaign we will be working on in the fall for anyone who wants to be a RYH ambassador on that campaign. Let me know!
    RYH All Schools Meeting
    June 12 at 7:00pm
    Hamlin Park in Chicago, Illinois

  • 75. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 10, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    Emergency injunction school closing hearing on Tues. at 3. re: CTU lawsuit that states CPS must follow decisions of independent hearing officers.

  • 76. anonymouse teacher  |  June 10, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    I’d love to report back more specifically from my staff meeting today re: budget cuts, but my head is just swimming with all the info we got (and didn’t get). I’d highly recommend that every single parent attend the LSC meeting at your school this week to find out information. Its not good news, but its important. My school is looking at the reality of split grades, fine arts cuts, recess supervision funding cuts, bilingual cuts, janitorial supply cuts, books and subject supply cuts, classroom teacher cuts and larger class sizes, and lots more. Oh, and while magnets, SEES and SEHS won’t experience the same kind of gutting that neighborhood schools are experiencing (this year), they are also losing positions.

  • 77. Patricia  |  June 10, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    @ 76 anonymouse. Please keep us posted and agree that parents should attend their LSC meetings. I think any way you slice it, plugging a $1 billion dollar hole is going to be painful. If I am remembering correctly, weren’t you the one who said the budget drama is a given groundhog day scenario every year in CPS? This year may be one for the record books!

    @ Portage Park Mom (way up around post #40). Agree that pensions need to be addressed. The downgrading of Illinois makes things even more expensive which means potentially even more cuts because our politicians aren’t taking any action. Politicians need to stop being cowards and do something now! Seriously a frightening situation in state finances.

    @Junior. “So, let’s separate the issues — budget cuts are one issue, funding formula for distributing that pie is separate.” Good distinction.

  • 78. ChicagoTeacher  |  June 10, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    My school is a magnet cluster (IE: Fake magnet) and we look to be cut about $200,000. They underestimated our enrollment by 300ish kids.

  • 79. dave  |  June 10, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    Principal At Top-Ranked Northside Prep Leaving for the ‘Burbs

  • 81. anonymouse teacher  |  June 10, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    @77, Patricia, yep that was me. I still hold a tiny bit of hope out that some funding will come from somewhere at the last minute. I’ve never seen my principal look like she did today though. Never. I don’t think she slept all weekend and I know she was at school all day on Saturday and Sunday. She actually started crying in the meeting.

  • 82. Glass_half_full?  |  June 10, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    I have no real appreciation for how the new budget will affect schools or how this is going to play out. In neighborhood schools, or even fake magnets (which I chuckle typing) is it possible that strong parent volunteer groups and help fill gaps by providing service to schools? My child is a soon to be K and I shudder to think of what the fallout will mean for her in the way of enrichment.

  • 83. Glass_half_full?  |  June 10, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    Also, and it may be a dumb question, but other than budget discussions at LSC meeting, are schools required to post/disclose/publish their budgets so that they are accessible to parents? I do find it fascinating that some schools with similar populations or demographics or within close proximity of each other are capable of offering VASTLY different environments for their students.

  • 84. Glass_half_full?  |  June 10, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    @78, how is it even possible to underestimate by 300ish students? What is your average student body?

  • 85. local  |  June 10, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    @ 73. junior | June 10, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    Is it working in those fields? Can it be applied to education?

  • 86. anonymouse teacher  |  June 10, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    @Glass, I think parent volunteers and fundraising always help. I don’t think they can make up for the kinds of losses that my principal talked about today, but certainly, they can do something.

  • 87. WendyRYH  |  June 10, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    After talking to LSC chairs and Principals at many schools, It is clear that neighborhood schools are taking the brunt of the cuts. Per pupil budgeting is just a method of doling out the funds, the issue is that the pie is much smaller so of course there are going to be cuts. CPS has protected magnet/SE and other specialty programs pretty well and have added a bunch of STEM and IB programs this year, which might seem like a good idea, but it leads to cuts to neighborhood schools. CPS also added 13 charters this year so that is operational money that has to be shared. Many neighborhood elems I have talked to have lost around $400k but there is definitely a range.

    The Cullerton pension plan would only add $30 million to the CPS budget per CPS head of Intergovt affairs. While some pension reform might be reached in the next few weeks it will not restore many of the lost positions.

    We have a lot of TIF money sitting around and some of it should be returned to the schools. Raise Your Hand is going to be advocating for that. We also plan to work on a graduated income tax to deal with revenue long term. Join us Wednesday at Hamlin Park at 7pm if you want to participate.

    I am really starting to wonder if closing 50 schools added to the deficit. We will never know because the CPS Board voted on that without any cost/benefit analysis or financials. A parent did a FOIA and found that out.

    What a year. Definitely go to your LSC meeting, especially if you’re at a neighborhood school, to participate in the discussions about how much money the schools is losing and priorities in what to retain.

  • 88. cpsobsessed  |  June 10, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    Thanks for the info, Wendy.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 89. SutherlandParent  |  June 10, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    @63 “WHY wouldn’t a parent want their child in Full Day kindergarten? … Again, why wouldn’t you want to give your child more educational opportunities.”

    For some parents, it may come down to whether the educational opportunities really exist and pay off in the seven-hour school day for kindergarteners, based on their family situation, a child’s personal needs and the specific school they attend. For some five year olds, the current CPS school day may be just too long, particularly if there isn’t a focus on socialization, playtime, etc.

    I THINK I’ve read that they are dropping standardized testing for kindergarteners, and it’s about time if that’s true. The CPS emphasis on Drill and Kill isn’t my idea of great educational opportunities for anyone, much less the little ones.

    The specific school also matters. Neighborhood schools can’t cap enrollment like magnets and charters, so some schools can end up with 30+ kids in a classroom in kindergarten. Not optimal for 7 hours, particularly for schools that lack lunchrooms, libraries, etc.

  • 90. cpsemployee  |  June 10, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Early in this thread someone asked if the pre-school letters had really been sent and I said that I would let them know when my school (which has Pre-K) got our lists.

    We got our listed this morning – one of who was accepted and one of who was wait-listed. We were told to start calling the parents to let them know about registration.

    So… you should be able to call the school(s) you listed on your application and find out where you stand just in case you haven;t received your letter yet.

  • 91. Portage Mom  |  June 10, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    I know this pension mess took years to create. This is my understanding when it comes to teacher pensions. CPS is responsible for funding teachers pensions. Whereas suburban school districts don’t fund their teacher’s pensions, the state picks up those costs. When suburban school districts bargain with teachers, many times a % increase to a teacher’s pension is negotiated instead of a larger salary increase. The school isn’t funding the pension increase and so as it goes this was quite popular in suburban school districts. I’m not sure why it’s different for Chicago but the city has to fund teacher’s pensions and gets no help from the state. Unfortunately both the city and the state have underfunded pensions for years. I know the state has also borrowed from the pension which only makes matters worse. Currently in Illinois we stand at fully funding only 40% of our total pension liabilities whereas neighboring states do a better job. Wisconsin funds 99.8% of their pension liabilities.

    The projected 1 billion deficit in CPS next year is due to a change in the law requiring CPS to fund a greater portion of their teacher’s pensions. Now CPS has to come up with that money to put towards pensions.

    I watched a segment of Chicago Tonight that talked about the Cullerton and Madigan plans. I forget her name but there was a person I believe from the Illinois Policy Institute. She disliked both the Cullerton and Madigan plans. She stated the problem with both plans guarantee a certain payout from the pension. This puts the tax payers on the hook given pension money is invested in the markets and if there is a rough couple of years then the return would be lower. I don’t know of any private company offering such a guarantee.

    Here is a link to the program:

  • 92. Elliott Mason  |  June 10, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    cpsemployee @90: That was me, thanks ever so much. We go out of town for a week starting Friday afternoon, so we’ve been checking the mailbox and getting jitters.

  • 93. Elliott Mason  |  June 10, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Portage Mom @91: I’m sure there are differences, but my husband has worked for UIC in a support-staff (non-teaching) position for over a decade and I have an intimate knowledge of how this pension kerfuffle is affecting him and his peers. It may rhyme with teacher pensions.

    The reason it’s important to employees that their pensions give a Defined Benefit ($xx per month for their lifetime, exact amount calculated complexly based upon what they were earning when they retired) instead of a Defined Contribution (like a 401K, you pay in a set amount every month you work and then whatever’s left when you retire, is yours) is BECAUSE the markets are currently such crap … and because the main reason people have been staying in these jobs, despite being paid in some cases a quarter or less what the private sector can offer, is because of the pension promise, the security it offers them long-term.

    State employees do not contribute to Social Security and are not entitled to collect it after they retire. My husband gets exactly whatever Springfield deigns to give him, after his 20+ years of loyal service through sometimes-abysmal working conditions at significantly sub-$50K/yr salary. Why? Because it’s very hard for them to fire him, we have quite good health insurance, and there is that promise of a pension.

    When Springfield first started making these serious noises about rejiggering the entire pension system (and, in fact, for UIC the deal has changed substantially already), my husband’s department lost every single staff member who was eligible to retire, even though they could have worked another 10 or 20 years, contributing greatly due to their accumulated knowledge and experience. However, faced with the prospect of being instantly pauperized, they quite sensible retired en masse to ensure they retired under the same deal they were HIRED with.

    My husband is now very nearly the most senior person in his entire department, and he was hired in 1994. That’s a massive knowledge base, wiped out instantly, and all because Springfield decided for all those years instead of sensibly squirreling away their AGREED TO BY CONTRACT pension contributions each year to match the contributions automatically deducted from employee salaries, they would instead spend them on whatever, put IOU’s in the trust fund, and deal with it later.

    It’s later. And it’s absolutely stinking that they want to go back on their word, to people who would probably have chosen very differently if the deal were ALREADY that way when they were hired, in order to escape the consequences of short-term cash-losing policies.

  • 94. CPS Parent  |  June 11, 2013 at 2:35 am

    As a parent with some experience in accounting and finance, I have followed the CPS funding and budgets since our kids entered the system. I asked around to a few principals I know to take a look at what they are seeing.

    This new budget will be akin to a nuclear bomb for most schools in the system. I’m not exaggerating. I really wish that I was.

    This is not a “get along without copy paper or even w/o after school programs” type budget. As one of the principals put it–a principal who is a wizard at finding money and usually calms the rest of us with a pragmatic, “we’ll find a way” attitude–this is a “hurt the kids” type of budget. Putting principal’s backs against the wall to force decisions around deep cuts to staff, or programs, or big increases in class size, etc.

    Unless a parent group has access to hundreds of thousands of dollars in fundraising, they will not be able to fundraise their way out of these budget cuts. They are deep. They are caustic. They will change the experience at many schools.

    We haven’t considered leaving Chicago in the last 15 years. Until now.

  • 95. Joel  |  June 11, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Regarding “pay-for-value” and veteran/new teachers and their relative payscales…
    As I was interviewing for positions in the suburbs this spring, I made it explicitly clear to them that I was willing to negotiate my education (Double Masters) and experience (8 years) if that played a role in making me a more desirable candidate. Interestingly, the school that hired me gave me everything and stated that was the whole reason they were hiring me.
    Principals are grappling with a whole new budget paradigm, yet the ability for flexibility in making it work seems limited. I know that negotiated teacher salaries makes people (read teachers) nervous, but if I was in CPS next year, and I was offered the chance to stay at my school with a salary freeze (or even minimal cut), I wonder how many teachers would take that.
    At the end of the day, and if what post #94 says is true, then as I tell my students…”it’s beyond me.” Parents, kids, and teachers will all still try their best, and hopefully the change that occurs will somehow be for the better. And if it isn’t, then hopefully it will lead to constructive ways to reboot the system.

  • 96. CPS Parent  |  June 11, 2013 at 9:29 am

    94. CPS Parent <—– this is a newer CPS Parent (not me)

  • 97. TeachinChi  |  June 11, 2013 at 9:36 am

    @95 I am also leaving Chicago this year, after 15 years, for suburban pastures. I also talked about negotiating my MA+15 and years experience with the new district, but they said it was what made me an appealing candidate. I end up taking a minimal pay cut (capped number of years experience given in their contract), for much better working conditions and reasonable class sizes.

    It is sad that experienced teachers will become less desirable as a way to balance a budget. It is also sad that students, faculty and families suffer for money mismanagement that largely occurred at the central office level – not the school level.

    I have been in CPS proper and charter schools and the cuts are everywhere and significant. I tried very hard to commit a lifetime to this district, but it is not an attractive option for anyone who regards teaching as a lifelong career.

  • 98. CPS Parent  |  June 11, 2013 at 9:37 am

    87. WendyRYH – A SEHS I’m familiar with gave notice to 9 teachers out of about 60. “Neighborhood” schools are not the only affected schools.

  • 99. HS Mom  |  June 11, 2013 at 9:49 am

    @95 Joel – Congratulations and best of luck to you. I’ve always appreciated your POV.

  • 100. WendyRYH  |  June 11, 2013 at 11:02 am

    @98 – thanks for sharing. Can you share which school it is? I hear Whitney Young not losing any positions.

  • 101. IBobsessed  |  June 11, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Anyone know how the new per pupil funding will affect magnet schools? The same impact as on neighborhood schools?

    And have magnet schools traditionally been funded the same as neighborhood schools?

  • 102. SutherlandParent  |  June 11, 2013 at 11:17 am

    What are the Vegas odds that these budget numbers will not change over the summer? Is this really for real, or is it just more CPS drama where they get everyone all riled up, then magically “find” money somewhere? This Board of Ed seems to like to make Big Announcements (possibly closing 125 schools, anyone?), then dramatically revising those, often in the dead of night.

    Our LSC meeting today should be interesting…

  • 103. WendyRYH  |  June 11, 2013 at 11:31 am

    @101- no magnet schools get an extra 4-5 positions. There is some federal funding for this but I have been told CPS used some non-federal money to protect magnet positions. Not sure if we can verify that until budget info is public. Magnets will have some losses as their per pupil funding is down like everyone else’s. I am hearing 1-2 positions from some schools. But some principals are choosing to not put money into supplies, sub accounts, etc. so that they can retain more teachers. CPS gave money for 7 sub days for each teacher so I guess some principals are hoping that their teachers aren’t out more than 7 days. And maybe some are hoping that parents chip in a lot more for supplies.

  • 104. Portage Mom  |  June 11, 2013 at 11:42 am

    @101 – We heard from our principal yesterday the cuts are impacting our school which is a magnet. Our Assistant Principal is leaving for a job in the suburbs. Our principal has told parents she has decided to not fill the position given our budget situation. There will be meetings with parents in the coming weeks to discuss how best to handle the cuts to our budget. I suspect the cuts are significant. The cuts have to be given CPS is trying to plug the deficit by reducing overall spending at every school.

    What I think is just crazy is BBB was on the news last night at Westinghouse talking about placing an arts program at every school. She also talked about educating parents more about literacy, math and science through a Parent University. I can’t even imagine talking about such things when most schools in CPS are facing some very difficult decisions.

    People mention moving to the suburbs but the issues facing CPS due to underfunding pensions is a problem suburban school districts will face down the line. The state currently picks up the pension costs for school districts outside of Chicago. The state will have to eventually put those costs back to the individual school districts which is where they belong. The state and the city have done a poor job of funding pensions. They took pension holidays and didn’t fund the pension for years. They spent the money they didn’t have and didn’t live up to the promises they made to public workers or the taxpayers of Illinois.

    Illinois is not the only state to face issues with pensions. We are the only state that has failed to come up with a plan to fix our pensions. The blame goes to lawmakers who didn’t do their jobs. I also say some of the blame goes to voters (myself included) who haven’t forced lawmakers to be accountable. Programs like Preschool for All, All Care for Kids( health insurance for low income kids) are great programs but if you don’t have the money to fund them then they shouldn’t have been put in place. We shouldn’t spend money we don’t have. If those programs are so important and there is no money in the budget then the only logical thing to do is request a increase in taxes to pay for it. Voters kept hearing about the pension issue for a while. I know I have and the correct action would have been to call your elected official and ask what are they going to do about fixing this problem. The people of this state need to demand better from their elected officials. If they don’t get it, vote them out of office.

  • 105. WesLooMom  |  June 11, 2013 at 11:58 am

    @104…When we were looking at private schools this year, I had a private school administrator tell me that she doesn’t know why public school parents don’t demand more from their elected officials. She noted that other states are trying to respond to problems, but Illinois is not doing so.

  • 106. cpsobsessed  |  June 11, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    It feels very aggravating that IL is such an education-under-funded state. I once was at a small meeting with John Fritchey (I think he used to be a State Rep, not sure what he is now..) but when I asked about he claims that we need to keep in mind that much of the state of IL outside Chicago doesn’t necessarily see eye to eye with us (to over generalize, Democrats who may be more open to funding for public betterment.) Many politicians in the state aim to please their voters by keeping taxes to a minimum. So extra funding for education wouldn’t fly. And their constituents may have no desire to hold them accountable for funding education. Which is crazy, because my understanding is that Chicago is really in the middle of the pack when you line up IL school districts. Many others are much poorer than us, I believe.

    It depresses me, because if we continue like this our state seems a little doomed, ya know?

  • 107. Elliott Mason  |  June 11, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    cpsobsessed: I don’t know about the district as a whole, but two years ago when we were looking at buying a house somewhere we could stand to send our child to school, I would note that with almost no exceptions (we lucked out to find a property in Albany Park), any single-family home in Chicago that costs less than $200K has a neighborhood school in the bottom quintile of all states in IL. We may have magnets and awesome IBs and whatnot raising the district-wide average, but many, MANY of our neighborhood-level schools are worse than the majority of rural southern-IL ones (because I looked some up, curiously, and they were mostly in the 3rd or 4th quintiles, with a few standout awesome schools).

    Even in Albany Park, which is quite acceptable to us, our local schools are solidly in the 4th quintile statewide, with one rising as high as 3rd.

    So downstate legislators see no reason to pour money down the bottomless sinkhole of city people they perceive Chicago to be, because their schools are doing fine, so clearly it must be our problem that we can’t make it work.

  • 108. Elliott Mason  |  June 11, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Typo correction: ” a neighborhood school in the bottom quintile of all states in IL. ” should be of all SCHOOLS, of course.

    Embarrassing. :->

  • 109. cpsobsessed  |  June 11, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Ah, I actually meant ranked in terms of funding. Some schools systems are even worse-funded than Chicago.

    I would guess that most of the schools you speak of have a high minority population? So you have schools that are full of either generationally underserved kids and/or kids who’s parents don’t speak English accounting for the test scores. Then when compared to the many other school districts in IL that don’t have these factors, by nature they are going to look worse. Which isn’t *necessarily* a sign that the schools are inherently crummy. I know that doesn’t make it easier to take the plunge and send a 5yo to a school with crummy test scores — I just have to point that out, as a data person. 🙂 Test scores do not always mean the school/admin/teachers are “bad.” but yes, in CPS, the test scores seem to follow the money….

  • 110. TeachinChi  |  June 11, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Many suburban districts balanced their budgets years ago. Most can speak to heavy layoffs about 4-5 years ago to try and work through financial issues.

    Michigan is always ahead of the country in terms of financial turmoil. The City of Detroit still is have serious educational issues (classes of 50 kids), but the schools throughout the rest of the state survive and thrive. As much as we like to make this a state wide issue (and in some ways it is), much of what goes wrong in city schools has to do with the people running city schools. The enormous amount of flight from the cities does not help either. Historically people leave cities when they have school age children. Eventually people just leave regardless.

  • 111. Portage Mom  |  June 11, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    @106 cpsobsessed – If we really want education to be a priority then we have to band together to make it happen. The voters of Illinois have to make it a priority by joining education advocacy groups so they can keep track of different legislation being voted on by their elected officials. There is no other way. Our elected officials priority is getting voted. If parents let their representatives know certain bills are important to them, I think we would see more changes. The key is getting involved.

    The pension issue is a crisis for all residents in Illinois and not just for parents who send their children to public schools. When the state has to borrow, the costs of borrowing went up significantly with our multiple downgrades from rating agencies. When the fiscal health of the state is so poor everything gets impacted. The cost to do any project becomes significantly more expensive.

    If New York can fix their pension problems surely our state can come together to do the same. New York city is very different than the rest of the state and their priorities are probably different. They had to make some hard choices and they got it done. Perhaps that’s the point we need to make with our elected officials. If New York can get it done, why can’t you and why isn’t this done already? The Democrats are really looking terrible right now given they are in governor’s mansion, they control both the House and Senate and yet here we are with no resolution to this problem.

    There are quite few of us who comment on this blog and provide great links to articles to share with the group. How hard would it be to find who your elected officials and make a few phone calls? There is just too much at stake to sit on the sidelines. This crisis is a call to action for us to call the mayor, State representative, Senate representative to let them know we want meaningful Pension Reform NOW!!!!!!!! Illinois doesn’t have to get creative. There are plenty of states who fixed their pension problems, follow their examples. Whatever pension solution plan that is put in place has to actually fix the problem and not just delay dealing with it for a few more years.

    I will be joining RYH and calling my representatives and give them an earful right down to the governor’s office. I really miss the days of Jim Edgar. I think he was our last good governor. He is a Republican. If he were running in the next election for governor, I would vote for him hands down

  • 112. SutherlandParent  |  June 11, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    I dunno, CPSO, I think Illinois is its own kind of dysfunctional and our legislators just like to make excuses for their own poor performances and failure to accomplish anything meaningful. Upstate New Yorkers probably dislike NYC as much as Illinois downstaters dislike Chicago. But the State of New York hasn’t seen its credit downgraded lately, unlike Illinois.

  • 113. SutherlandParent  |  June 11, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    @111 Portage Mom clearly is a faster typist than I am–so what she said 🙂

  • 114. WendyRYH  |  June 11, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    One of the main issues regarding funding in IL is that we rely heavily on property taxes to fund education. It is not just a pension issue, it is that we have great disparity across the state because our state only kicks in 30% of the cost (last in the nation) and property taxes obviously vary by zip code. We are not last in total funding, it is the share that the state kicks in that we are last in and the heavy reliance on property taxes that makes us rated at the bottom of the list in the disparity between wealthy and poor districts. I think we are 34th in terms of total spending per pupil, but you have to factor in our high poverty rate and also the actual spending in the classroom. Schools will lower total spending per pupil have districts with different priorities – lower class size, more arts, etc. We are going to be looking at this in the year ahead.

  • 115. Patricia  |  June 11, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    @106 CPSO. “to over generalize, Democrats who may be more open to funding for public betterment”

    I would not cut any of our city or suburban or downstate Democrats in Springfield any slack. Illinois is one of the bluest states in the country. House has only 47 of 118 Republican. Senate has 68% voting majority Democrat. If the Democrats wanted to fund education or fix the pensions they would have. As Portage Park Mom points out, Chicago absorbs a double pension hit that may cause a suburban Democrat to want to keep status quo for their own district. Which may contribute to the inaction? Not sure.

    Globally, Illinois has been ranked in worse financial shape than Greece. Nuff said 😉

  • 116. WesLooMom  |  June 11, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    I’m relatively new to all of this. I figured out that RYH is Raise Your Hand. What are the other major education advocacy groups in our state?

  • 117. Patricia  |  June 11, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    @114 Wendy. The issue you describe would certainly point to why nothing changes. The districts that have higher property taxes are fine keeping it as is, while the lower prop tax areas (generally poorer) suffer. The impact on CPS seems to be we are lumped into the lower prop tax problem because the tax base is so diverse (or non existent in some areas of the city) and we have such a high poverty rate. It isn’t that people and maybe politicians don’t value education, it is that they are content with how it works in their area. Tough to change that mindset I imagine.

  • 118. Patricia  |  June 11, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    @117 add to my post. Just want to clarify, yes, tough to change the mindset, but certainly worth it to try!

  • 119. WendyRYH  |  June 11, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    @cpso – there’s a large coalition of groups working to get a graduated income tax on the ballot for a referendum in 2014. If there will be some kind of pension reform in Springfield the range in what this will bring to CPS is $30mill (cullerton’s plan) to $250 mill (madigan’s plan). Re: IL legislature, in my experience, bills only get called if House/Senate leaders want to call them, especially in the House. Things aren’t working so well in IL govt.

  • 120. cpsobsessed  |  June 11, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Thanks, Wendy. If there’s info on how people can help support that, can you post?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 121. junior  |  June 11, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    @116 WesLooMom

    There is only one *major* “education advocacy” group in the state: The Chicago Teachers Union. All others dwarf in comparison.

  • 122. CPS Parent  |  June 11, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    121. junior – Correction – the CTU is a labor union, sometimes its agenda aligns with education advocacy, sometimes it doesn’t. This is not its primary concern. There are no major (i.e. with enough funding to be functional) education advocacy groups other than, in my opinion, Advance Illinois, New Schools for Chicago, and Stand for Children.

  • 123. Angie  |  June 11, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    @111. Portage Mom: “There are quite few of us who comment on this blog and provide great links to articles to share with the group. How hard would it be to find who your elected officials and make a few phone calls?”

    The problem is that most elected officials are not going to listen to people who do not pay their bills. Their campaign contributors call all the shots, and in this case, the contributors are on the receiving end of these unsustainable pensions. So at the moment, the politicians are wasting time and money doing nothing in Springfield because that is what their real constituency is paying them for.

  • 124. Elliott Mason  |  June 11, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    Angie @123: The pensions in question are only unsustainable because of 20+ years of the state paying in pennies to the dollar of what they’d promised they’d set aside. Lump sums are always a bitch, but in terms of the payouts they will provide the employees in question, we’re not talking gold-plated toilets and extravagance, just a decent retirement income upon which to live after a working career getting paid, relatively speaking, very little.

  • 125. WendyRYH  |  June 11, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    @ West Loop Mom- There’s also Stand for Children and Democrats for Education Reform. I would be advised that they get major funding from Gates, Broad, Walton and other funders and aren’t exactly grassroots in their policy development.

    I was told from CPS that they were working pretty closely with CTU on pension reform in Springfield, fyi. Have no idea about that but that’s what I was told.

  • 126. Angie  |  June 11, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    @124. Elliott Mason: “The pensions in question are only unsustainable because of 20+ years of the state paying in pennies to the dollar of what they’d promised they’d set aside.”

    They shoudn’t have promised these lavish pensions in the first place, and I suspect they would not have if they weren’t threatened by union strikes and bribed by union campaign contributions.

  • 127. cpsobsessed  |  June 11, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Part of the pension problem too is that when they were promised, nobody dreamed that a good number of women would be living into their 90’s and possibly 100’s. That throws the whole calculation off as well…

  • 128. cpsobsessed  |  June 11, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    “The problem is that most elected officials are not going to listen to people who do not pay their bills. Their campaign contributors call all the shots, and in this case, the contributors are on the receiving end of these unsustainable pensions. So at the moment, the politicians are wasting time and money doing nothing in Springfield because that is what their real constituency is paying them for.”

    I have to step in and give Wendy (and the others) from RYH a huge pat on the back here. It is next-to-impossible to get anyone’s ear and only by being consistent and not backing down has she/RYH been able to get the ear of the media, which goes a long way in getting politicians to listen. She does much of this by foregoing a full time professional career. So please, help out with fund-raising or volunteering if you would like to help support a vocal parent-driven voice about education.

  • 129. cpsobsessed  |  June 11, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Anyone interested in hearing BBB talk next week: (I saw the one last year with Brizard and Karen Lewis.) They pretty much control the agenda, but it’s interesting to see people speaking in person to get a sense of who they are/how they communicate.

    With Chicago public school policy making national headlines, the conversation continues at the next Chicago Forward: Pass or Fail, June 18 at 6 p.m.

    Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett joins Chicago Tribune editorial page editor Bruce Dold in a discussion about the performance and the promise of Chicago schools. Is CPS ready to handle the closing of dozens of schools? What’s on tap for the next round of reform? The conversation will include time for audience questions. Location: Chase Auditorium, 10 S. Dearborn.
    More information and tickets can be found at:

    Where is CPS policy going? Don’t miss the Chicago Tribune’s Bruce Dold in conversation with Chicago Pubic Schools CEO, Barbara-Byrd-Bennet at the next Chicago Forward on June 18. Register for the event here:

    The Chicago Forward series is presented by ComEd.

  • 130. breathe deep  |  June 11, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Sorry if this has already been addressed, but what role does the LSC play in the budget process? I think my LSC has convinced our Principal that they have the final say-so over the budget. I think that’s probably not correct but I am not sure. Does anyone know if the LSC has final approval over the budget?

  • 131. CPS Parent  |  June 11, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    130. breathe deep – Yes, they do.

    From the CPS website:
    “…The primary responsibilities of LSCs include approving how school funds and resources are allocated, approving and monitoring the implementation of the annual school improvement plan, and hiring and evaluating the school’s contract principal.”

  • 132. junior  |  June 11, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    LSCs do have final budget approval, but good luck convincing many principals of that. From most stories I’ve heard, principals often present the budget for the first time at an LSC meeting and expect a quick rubber stamp.

    I’m curious — how many schools out there go through true substantive debate on the budget, resulting in significant revisions? What’s the biggest budget item that your LSC has overruled a sitting principal’s wishes on?

    I put “education advocacy” in quotes.

  • 133. cpsobsessed  |  June 11, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    I also believe that many principals expect a rubber stamp. Part of that is because the budgets were so complicated that nobody could understand them. The principal when I was on an lsc made it seem like we had approval for the discretionary funds, which were minimal.

    It would be very difficult for an LSC as a group to work on a budget together. Ideally say 2 people would dive in and get familiar with it.

    But it sounds more important than ever, given that it could mean the diff bewteen say art or music or bigger class sizes, etc…

    I would def encourage an LSC to have an open conversation upfront about how the budget decisions and approval will be made. If you attend and LSC meeting where the LSC is very passive, this could be a good question to ask.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 134. WendyRYH  |  June 11, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    @Patricia – I agree with you.
    @ CPSO – thanks for the kind words. Our group has limitations due to lack of funding and can’t pay huge (or any) money to lawmakers to sway policy the way others can. We are finally starting to apply for grants and have a larger volunteer base than ever and amazing parents who are smart and dedicated and do fantastic work. I am pretty proud that we were the only ones (thanks to parent Jeanne Marie Olson) to uncover the space utilization formula and how it played into closing schools but also how it’s going to impact policies around class size and space use of all our buildings going forward. We also visited numerous closing schools and were able to report on what we found when the media was banned. What’s my point? We’re doing important work but we need funding to grow and get more done and be more effective 🙂

  • 135. local  |  June 11, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    Seems to me that a lot of times CTU aligns with pro-education legislation/rules. Like, they’re fighting this proposed change in the sped regs that would really mess up CPS sped even more. The schools are union members’ work environments and the members got into the business to educate children. Kinda on my side of the fence. The history of Chicago public school teachers is very interesting. Only relatively recently have teachers made enough for a middle-class lifestyle, which includes retirement. Anyone have a good history on public ed in Chicago? I can’t remember the title/s.

  • 136. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 11, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    129. cpsobsessed | June 11, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    I wouldn’t give a penny to hear B3 or any1 from CPS talk!

  • 137. SutherlandParent  |  June 11, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Our LSC passed the CIWP and budget today with minimal discussion and no debate. Attendees did not receive a line-item budget, so I found it very hard to follow any of the (very brief) conversations about finances. The feeling seemed to be that CPS may benevolently show some mercy over the summer and find some of that magical money to disperse to the schools, and we should all be appropriately grateful. Who knows?

    The upshot—our budget will be $237,000 less under the new funding formula. As far as those sitting around me could tell, that will translate at least into a part-time music teacher and reading specialist, rather than the two full-time ones we have now. I’m not sure where the other cuts are coming from.

    FYI, we’re a K-8 neighborhood school with around 750 students. We don’t get Title 1 funding but do get money from a cell phone tower located in an old tower on campus. Or we have in the past, although that may be different under the new formula, I understand.

    I plan to follow up with an LSC member to see about getting a copy of the budget. Does anyone else get a line-item budget at LSC meetings?

  • 138. local  |  June 11, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    Steve Rhodes always has interesting observations about CPS/politics/media over at the Beachwood Reporter. Lots in today’s The [Tuesday] Papers.

  • 139. local  |  June 11, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    Sutherland, Kellogg, etc., don’t have any poverty funds, do they?

  • 140. SutherlandParent  |  June 11, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    @139, I don’t know what percentage of low-income students trigger Title 1 funding in CPS. Anyone else know?

    Of the 19th Ward neighborhood schools, the low-income/poverty rates according to CPS are:

    Sutherland: 22.2%
    Kellogg: 45.9%
    Barnard: 77%
    Clissold: 37.1%
    Mt. Greenwood: 23.8%
    Cassell: 28.9%
    Esmond: 92.6%

  • 141. concerned cps parent  |  June 12, 2013 at 7:05 am

    @137 Sutherland Parent (& and any others counting on cell phone tower revenue)
    At our school’s LCS meeting it was announced that CPS decided to change the formula for how cell tower revenue will be allocated. Only 1/3 will be kept by the local school; the remaining 2/3 will go into CPS’ central bucket.

  • 142. cpsobsessed  |  June 12, 2013 at 7:11 am

    I saw that online somewhere about the cell towers but didn’t know if it was confirmed.
    Uncool, CPS.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 143. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 12, 2013 at 7:19 am

    141. concerned cps parent | June 12, 2013 at 7:05 am

    Principals saw that coming when it was listed in last yrs budget.

    142. cpsobsessed | June 12, 2013 at 7:11 am

    You’re right~ “Uncool, CPS’. Taking money away from schools and then diverting the TIF to DePaul~Uncool.

  • 144. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 12, 2013 at 7:20 am

    adding to #143~that how many principals funded positions! Many wont have monitors for recess~Just proves~Rahm can’t afford the LONGEST day in Chicago~just the cheapest.

  • 145. laura  |  June 12, 2013 at 7:47 am

    My sister’s school doesn’t have money for recess monitors next year. As of now, recess for them will consist of sitting in the cafeteria reading books. They don’t have the staff or the money to hire an outside vendor.

  • 146. CPS Parent  |  June 12, 2013 at 8:25 am

    145. laura You might want to consider that isn’t it odd, that while those kids are in the cafeteria, there are a dozen or two (or more) teachers and administrators sitting around doing what? Probably all of them too busy to get some fresh air on the playground with the students?

  • 147. cps alum  |  June 12, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Wow–@146. At my neighborhood school while the kids are at recess/lunch, the teachers are eating lunch …. or are teachers not allowed a 45 minute break in their workday?

  • 148. CPS Parent  |  June 12, 2013 at 8:54 am

    147. cps alum – On a rotating basis (not everyday) a few could eat their sandwich outside. The teachers “lunchbreak” is three months of vacation per year. Paying outside vendors is ludicrous.

  • 149. cpsobsessed  |  June 12, 2013 at 9:15 am

    If it’s just a matter of getting some pleasant fresh air, wouldn’t it be easy to find some parent volunteers?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 150. cps alum  |  June 12, 2013 at 9:29 am

    @148—sorry I don’t agree that teachers should have to volunteer their time to supervise children during recess even if it isn’t everyday. CPS should have the sufficient staffing in schools so that there are enough adults in the school to do the necessary monitoring.

    In my child’s school there is a total of 7-8 teachers “on lunch” when the kids are at recess.

  • 151. local  |  June 12, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Maybe it’s just in my ‘hood, but the s**t hits the fan at recess. Competent, trained supervision is needed.

  • 152. Just a Neighborhood School Teacher  |  June 12, 2013 at 9:59 am

    My school is likely to lose over 20 positions based on the new per pupil funding and lower budgetary allotments. We’ll know final details next week.

    These new policies will be devastating for stable neighborhood schools like mine that have attracted and retained strong, veteran teaching staff.


  • 153. Just a Neighborhood School Teacher  |  June 12, 2013 at 10:02 am

    The cell phone tower grab by CPS is not surprising. The Board likes to talk about principal control over revenue, but it’s a very limited interpretation. They’re exceptionally at double speak.

    Years ago schools used to retain money earned through vending machine sales. Once the Board figured out the schools could earn significant money from vending machines CPS took control of all that revenue – they wouldn’t dare leave those funds in the local school buildings.

    So, there’s a long tradition of taking money earned by the schools and diverting it to Central Office.

  • 154. CPS Parent  |  June 12, 2013 at 10:03 am

    150. cps alum – I’m not suggesting they volunteer.

  • 155. cps alum  |  June 12, 2013 at 10:29 am

    @148–when do you suppose a teacher who is breastfeeding mother would be able to pump? I guess she can do that during the summer.

  • 156. JMOChicago  |  June 12, 2013 at 10:31 am

    @148–You must be joking, surely. Have you ever spent time in a school?

    Sorry, I don’t usually swoop in to comment in this manner, but this has to stop. This perception of teaching as a cushy salary for not enough hours with all sorts of flexibility and perks. After 14 years as a VERY highly paid consultant for a variety of well-known firms, I decided to put my MSEd to use and considered going back for my certification to teach in elementary classrooms. As a way to “check it out” while I was filling in for some lecturers at two area universities in the evenings, I took a day job as the media/tech coordinator for a smaller private school on the northside of Chicago teaching K-8 media/tech labs and helping them to coordinate the curriculum in the regular classrooms with emerging media/tech tools.

    I figured, meh, 8:00 am – 3:00 pm, 5 days a week. Should be straightforward enough even with teaching a few evening classes at the university. After all, I was used to billing 60-70 hour weeks and working 80-90 hours in order to bill that time. I didn’t have kids yet, enjoyed working immensely, but really wanted a change of venue…a “break” after the high-pressure world of consulting.

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah. Not.

    I had small class sizes, some of my classes were no more than 10 kids. I was teaching a class that wasn’t even something that kids were tested on. I didn’t have to call parents, deal with on-going behavioral problems, attend weekly staff meetings for vertical and horizontal curriculum integration, fill out all the required paperwork, etc. I “just” had to create the curriculum and assignments, show up and teach each class every day, engage in classroom management, keep the tech and media lab organized, grade their assignments, etc.

    It was the hardest job I’ve ever done. Harder than being a farm laborer in high school, harder than working as a consultant. Yes, that’s right. It was physically and emotionally more demanding than working as a globe-traversing, 14-16 hour work day consultant. Pretty equal for the mental challenge of it, but constant with few breaks, unlike the ebbs and flows of client work where you can take a mental rest and have back at it.

    I lasted a year. Then I fled back to MY cushy jobs teaching at university and consulting. Where I had an administrative assistant and the resources to actually get the things done being asked of me…having copy paper and a stapler that I didn’t have to purchase out of my own pocket never looked so good. Where I didn’t have to spend my break time correcting papers, calling parents, having impromptu meetings with other teachers, just getting stuff DONE.

    Since that time I have been in a lot of schools for my research and work and as a CPS parent. Sometimes there is the bad apple teacher. We all know one. This is exactly like ANY JOB ON THE PLANET, where there are bad apple accountants, managers, etc.

    Recess time does not happen all at once for everyone in the school. It is staggered, usually by grade, at different times. The teachers who have students outside eat while their students are outside. The other teachers in the school are TEACHING at this time. While the teachers eat, they sometimes have to use this time to call parents, coordinate their work with each other (yes! coordinating work between classrooms and having to make adjustments to the timing, sharing resources, etc. in a grade is a critical part of running a school.), fill out reams of paperwork for the school/district/state, re-organize a lesson plan that may have to be adjusted, work on that one student’s IEP, etc. They are supposed to be taking a “break.” Real breaks are virtually non-existent in most public schools I’ve spent time in the U.S.

    While school is in session, I’m going to estimate that teaching is approximately a 55-60 hour week (conservative estimate). With curriculum preparation + instruction time + classroom management/operations (parent conferences, etc.) + grading assignments/documenting progress + different internal school meetings + investing time in finding resources/supplies/materials. Which almost sounds a bit cushy compared to consulting (what’s not to love about the flexibility of 8 weeks in summer?) until you do it and realize that 50-60 school hours feel like 80-90 consulting hours in terms of intensity and needing stamina. I love teaching, LOVE TEACHING, but I physically could not do it. It was all adrenaline, constant vigilance, constant motion/engagement, constant negotiation/diplomacy, constant…constant…constant. Bathroom breaks? Ha! Going for a walk to clear your head? Ha! Breaking up a day of meetings or collaboration with being able to write reports for a few hours in the office, or run to a doctor’s appointment during work hours if needed? Forget about it.

    So let’s not hear anymore about how teaching is nothing more than showing up for a few hours while your kids are at school and eating a leisurely lunch midday and going home “early”. Unless you are willing to step up and teach.

  • 157. also obsessed  |  June 12, 2013 at 11:04 am

    @156. Love.

  • 158. andersonville dad  |  June 12, 2013 at 11:20 am

    Message to WendyRYH,
    Thank you to RYH for all the efforts on ‘recess’ and utilization. As for parental financial contrib, little more daylight between RYH & union talking points might entice contributions. Has taken a long time to convince my partner RYH is not a union front. Thk U!

  • 159. anotherchicagoparent  |  June 12, 2013 at 11:26 am

    cpsobsessed if only it was so easy.It is hard getting the adequate amount of unpaid volunteers to show up on a regular basis and when you do pay parent supervisors who do show up other parents complain about how inadequate the supervision has become at lunch and on the playground.

  • 160. local  |  June 12, 2013 at 11:28 am

    From District299 blog:

    displacedteach said 1 hour, 11 minutes ago

    This is all a sick joke on the children of Chicago, especially the students in special education programs. After fifteen years plus, I think I’m out. The special education students in my school really got the shaft this year. Next year will be even worse for them. None of the students received any minutes remotely close to what their IEPs stated, because the special education teachers were used as substitutes, lunch supervisors, and recess monitors.

    The new special education teachers were told to keep their mouths shut, unless they wanted it to reflect “unsatisfactory” in professionalism on their REACH assessment.

    And there’s another focus, just how many new teachers are sitting in limbo until their summative ratings are calculated sometime in August?? I know most of the special education teachers in my school are sitting in that boat, since REACH doesn’t address all the areas of practice special education teachers do, so administrators were rating them as basic.

    Special education students were crammed into general education classrooms with 33 plus students with no support outside the general education teacher because the special education teachers’ caseloads were exceeding twenty plus students. Let’s even forget about testing accommodations, since there’s no one around to do it. And next year, it will be even more fun!

    The per student funding includes an additional backpack only for students who are LRE1 and LRE 2. LRE 3 students come with the same funding as the general education kids. Let’s watch how many children with really severe needs will end up as LRE1 or LRE, thrown into a classroom with minimum support, just so the school gets more funding. And NOT that any of those kids will be seeing it, since it will be used for toilet paper and janitorial supplies. It has started at my school already this year: kids with some serious needs being placed with less support.

    Let the Hunger Games begin

  • 161. mom up north  |  June 12, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Well, as an LSC member, I’ll be reviewing the budget in a few days and we’ll be voting on it Friday. Not much time. It’s all BS. If we, as the LSC, decide we don’t like how the principal arranged it, we can try to convince her otherwise or vote to not approve it but it’ll get passed to the NETWORK who will do what they want.

    We haven’t even been given a copy yet and she’ll been using delay tactics to keep from meeting the LSC chair. I won’t know until I see it, but I’m sure it’s bad.

    It’s the same for the principal evals and whatnot. We can vote whatever we like but good luck getting the Network to ultimately let you.

    They, the NETWORK-Central office, can poo-poo anything you do. It’s a fake sense of power we have on the LSCs. Shoot, at our school, we provide baby sitting for folks to attend and NO ONE SHOWS up ever, except the LSC and a few teachers now and then.

  • 162. JenFG  |  June 12, 2013 at 11:37 am

    @156. Wonderful post!

  • 163. rp parent  |  June 12, 2013 at 11:42 am

    I think RYH and any other parent organizing contingent needs to help LSC’s and vice versa….. totally relate to mom-up-north – its a bit of a kangaroo-court when the principal bring that budget to the LSC. ugh!

  • 164. CPS Parent  |  June 12, 2013 at 11:43 am

    156. JMOChicago I’m not suggesting at all that its a cushy job – I’m suggesting that, on rotating basis, some teachers, AND administrators, do recess duty. During the school year the job, I’m sure, is as demanding as many others. For teachers, the hard work is counterbalanced by three months of vacation. Hiring outside vendors for recess duty is ludicrous.

    Note: I’m fully aware that this is not going to happen, at least by teachers, since the CBA specifies a 45 duty lunch free lunch.

  • 165. junior  |  June 12, 2013 at 11:50 am

    @161 mom up north

    I’d have to disagree. It is not a fake power — it is a legally mandated and binding power. In my experience, most LSCs are dismissed or abused only by their own consent, complicity, ignorance or lack of backbone. The vast majority of LSC members don’t want to “rock the boat.” They are buddy-buddy with the principal and enjoy that favoritism. Asserting LSC authority is not a welcomed action in many schools — but it is possible and it is often necessary.

  • 166. local  |  June 12, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    @163. rp parent | June 12, 2013 at 11:42 am

    “I think RYH and any other parent organizing contingent needs to help LSC’s and vice versa….. totally relate to mom-up-north – its a bit of a kangaroo-court when the principal bring that budget to the LSC. ugh!”

    Didn’t PURE offer training to LSCs?

  • 167. local  |  June 12, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    Maybe this is an opportunity for TFA?

  • 168. local  |  June 12, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    @ 156. JMOChicago I

    “Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah. Not.”

    So true. So. True.

  • 169. CPS Parent  |  June 12, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    A poster mentioned that a principal implied that the LSC could only influence the discretionary funds. This would have been correct in the past since the principal only had decision making power over that bucket of money. Both the LSC and principal now have much more impact on the school via the budget since the principal is responsible for so much more – primarily how to allocate teaching salaries. This is untested waters for both LSC’s and principals. Previously called “AMPS” schools have been operating that way for a while but not many.

    166. local – RYH is a half dozen parents and a blog, I don’t think they can do much for LSC’s. They have neither the funding nor professional standing/expertise.

  • 170. frustrated CPS parent  |  June 12, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Curious to hear what people are seeing on their budgets for Bilingual/English Language Learners. In our school, with a signif bilingual population, the budget to support those students is $0.

  • 171. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 12, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    @156~WONDERFUL~a teacher is to get a duty free lunch~if Rahm can’t afford the LONGEST day~cut it 1/2 hr, but DON”T ask the teachers to give up their lunches or for that matter for parents to monitor~that’s CPS job, they wanted the LONGEST day. If they realize they can’t fund it~CUT it!

  • 172. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 12, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    165. junior | June 12, 2013 at 11:50 am

    I agree w/you ~ LSC is not fake. The n’hood LSC near me is NOT cushy w/the principal and holds her accountable. They took some action that was NOT liked by the principal~action that was appropriate for the school and community as a whole. If one believes LSC is fake~if on LSC, change it~if not on it~Run for LSC and then change it.

  • 173. cpsobsessed  |  June 12, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Yeah, the reports we’re hearing do seem to make the “Fuller Day” promise ring a bit hollow….

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 174. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    169. CPS Parent | June 12, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    RYH is NOT a half dozen parents and a blog, Obviously you don’t know what you are taking abt and really have very little information. Plz be informed or ask questions b4 saying things that make you look uneducated in the CPS arena.

  • 175. cpsobsessed  |  June 12, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    The other LSC problem is the apathetic type. I’ve seen a group of people who were comfortable with their 1 hour a month and didn’t want to take the time to learn anymore about anything so the principal ran the meeting, told them when to vote and I’m sure it was all yeses every time because they were happy with the school (happy with what many of us here would consider horrible test scores, but a kind staff.)

    You really need to get a committed group to unseat an LSC like this.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 176. cpsobsessed  |  June 12, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Btw, PURE did give LSC training at some point and I went to a few. Those are some of my best CPS memories. It’s more like a discussion session around the training and they have incredible stories about LSC-related stuff that has happened at schools all over the city. It was really entertaining and it was enlightening to hear PURE’s pov on stuff. Can’t say I agree with all of it, but it’s good to hear some other viewpoints. Not sure if they still do that training. If they do, I highly recommend it.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 177. Falconergrad  |  June 12, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Can I push a fundraising effort here? I just donated $100 to Raise Your Hand. Been meaning to do that for a long time. Please consider donating to them or another group you feel advocates for what you want for our schools and children.

  • 178. window  |  June 12, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    Any chance they would cut back the length of the school day? Having been through a school year with a PK/K child I can conclusively say that the day is simply too long for kids that age. They are exhausted by the end of the day. Not just my kid — it’s like the walking dead some days. 7 hours might work for older kids, but for elementary kids …not so much.

    Wonder if principals have the autonomy to change the schools hours in order to meet budgets.

  • 179. Mayfair Dad  |  June 12, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    @161. It has been my experience that top performing schools have top performing LSCs. It starts with a collaborative and competent principal. If your principal is not collaborative or competent, make sure this is reflected in their annual performance review (performed by the LSC). If the situation does not improve, do not renew the principal’s contract.

    Re: the budget. We called a special LSC meeting is this Friday. I anticipate we will review the proposed budget with the principal and she will seek our input and buy in on certain must-have items. I imagine there will be pushback on some things and compromise on others. Everyone’s opinion will be heard. When the meeting concludes, we will have a budget. Our meeting will be businesslike and devoid of drama. We will make the best of a bad situation, and we will fundraise our butts off next year to deliver the extras our kids expect and deserve.

    This is how it works at our school and how it should work at every CPS school.

  • 180. Leggy Mountbatten  |  June 12, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    My daughter loves the longer school day, and she’s in Kindergarden. After school’s done, she wants to hang around the yard and play with her friends some more, and loves the after school clubs. Don’t change a thing.

  • 181. Peter  |  June 12, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    My K student has no problem with the longer day. The older kids are fine as well of course.

  • 182. CPS Parent  |  June 12, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    174. SoxSideIrish4 I know of RYH since its inception and I stand by my statement. Ms. Katten is a dedicated, knowledgeable, individual and a good advocate for her issues but RYH is organizationally not representative to the parent community “grassroots”, or, otherwise and therefore has no standing in regards to “training” LSC’s.

    Note cpsobsessed’s comments regarding PURE (an effort similar to RYH): “It was really entertaining and it was enlightening to hear PURE’s pov on stuff. Can’t say I agree with all of it, but it’s good to hear some other viewpoints.”

    Sharing points of view in an entertaining manner is not training an LSC.

  • 183. Falconergrad  |  June 12, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    @ 178 I agree with you. I wonder how attendance this year compared to last year, especially in younger grades. I wonder how great the long day will be next year with fewer teachers which I believe would mean bigger class size and fewer specials.

  • 184. parent  |  June 12, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    @177 – lets really solve the problem and give the money to the school.

    178 – no

  • 185. cpsobsessed  |  June 12, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    To clarify, the CPS LSC training is a lot of reading of power point slides and hopefully not representative of a CPS education in terms of engagement. However the rep they sent was always a good source of very specific info (ie, how many people do you need to vote for X, what percent do you need to win the vote?)

    PURE would likely be very beneficial in helping advise a school who is working to make a change in admin or get parents motivated and advised in how to exert more influence at the school. That, combined with LSC training facts would be a great combination.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 186. JMOChicago  |  June 12, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    @182–If you wait to find a parents’ group that agrees with you 100% on everything you believe is important/needed to fix CPS, you would be waiting a long time. We all would.

    No grassroots parent group is going to be in 100% agreement 100% of the time. When I was seeking out a parents group to align with for changing the political landscape re: public education in Chicago, I did choose RYH. (Not to take away anything from PURE or others.)

    Why? Because I felt I could disagree with them on some things, and still be heard and have my opinion respected, as long as I was bringing the data to the table. So far, this has worked out very well. I have felt them to be very inclusive, very approachable. They have a broad base and tend to get invited in to many of the meetings and gatherings where parent input is (too rarely) being solicited.

    You don’t have to agree. Or donate. $100 to support a school is not going to be an even swap for a donation to be represented at School Board meetings or at Central Office or in Springfield. Personally, I donate to both. YMMV.

  • 187. local  |  June 12, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    @ 186. JMOChicago | June 12, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Ditto. RYH also seems to make a real effort to show up to some degree & engage in the non-northsides of the city. That is so deeply appreciated. Props.

  • 188. New to CPS  |  June 12, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    I’ve seen a few mentions of it, but still am not clear how much this budget approach will impact SEES schools, which is where my daughter will start K in the fall. Since I’m not a current parent, I’m not yet getting much communication from the school and have no real connections in that school’s community yet. While I understand they are not being impacted as much as the neighborhood schools (and I feel for those schools) I am curious what impact it will have on their budget’s and for our child’s education. Anyone have more details?

    And since we’re just starting in the CPS world, I’m late to the party on debating the longer school day and full vs 1/2 day K which is inevitably being tied into this discussion. As it is now going to be relative to us, I support it and have no reservations about it for our daughter. She has been at f/t daycare or pre-school for 8-9 hours a day and is very used to that schedule. I know the added instructional hours will be different, but the actual day hours will be shorter for her and she LOVES learning. I went to school from 8:05 – 3:15 my whole elementary-HS school life (more years ago than I will admit here) and I was really surprised as I started researching schools last year how short (9-2ish in some cases) some of the school days were in Chicago. How the extra time is being used will relate to whether the added time will actually add benefit over the long run (too early to probably say now), and obviously lower budget numbers will impact a school’s ability to be productive with that time, but I just struggle understanding the arguments against longer school days.

  • 189. CPS Parent  |  June 12, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    188. New to CPS – I’m aware of one SE school that has also lost teaching dollars – 9 positions from about 60. Keep in mind that SE schools (and neighborhood schools) have teaching positions that are outside of the normal funding formula (“waiver positions”) and had to be re-approved each year. Normally this was done before the end of the school year and typically waiver position teachers were not laid-off. Since the budgets were late this year (probably due to the pension payment extension request battle in Springfield) principals had to actually lay off teachers due to CPS/CTU employment rules. Principals will be making there case to Clark St. and hopefully most will be re-hired.

    Regarding the “longer” school day (“normal” day is what I call it). The reason the short day came about was a negotiated deal between the teachers’ union and Mayor Daley. As part of a compensation agreement the day was shortened by the elimination of recess and teachers could take their lunch off campus at the end of the day – they went home. This is a good example of how the teachers’ union goals were in mis-alignment with good education practice – hence Mayor Emanuel’s oft quoted remark that the kids got “shafted” by the adults.

  • 190. WendyRYH  |  June 12, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    @andersonville dad- thanks for the feedback. RYH brought in less than $20k last year. If we front for someone, we better bring in a lot more than that. I think it’s just natural that some of the talking points sound similar – parents and teachers are pretty familiar with the lack of basic standards in the district. Re: longer day, we surveyed parents at around 200 schools and went to the Board as early as October of that year with requests for funding for a more well-rounded day. The CTU also put something out on “the schools children deserve” later in the year based on their research/philosophy. We never sat around with them and planned messaging. We have partnered with them for the first time on the standardized testing initiative. They are the experts in that field and we have common ground. We don’t always agree with them – were very vocal about the scheduling change for longer day – removing prep time in the am and the calendar for next year. But we find common ground where we do and do our own planning quite separate from them.

    Re: the person who said we are 6 parents and a blog,not sure where you get your info. We had around 45 people canvassing last summer for the elected school board and handled more precincts than any other (funded) community group. Not to brag, but we have a lot of active parents. We are also expanding our leadership to have a Parent Advisory Group.

    It’s true that I don’t represent CPS in terms of the 86% low income population. But I have worked with many parents this year from low income communities on school closings. I don’t think any one individual represents CPS. The concerns and issues that many parents I have worked with were not all the same. The people involved in RYH want quality public education – resources and instruction for all students and a system that functions better with stakeholder input. I don’t think I have to be living in a certain zip code to advocate for that. It might mean we won’t take on every issue that is important to every parent. Oh well. We’ve done quite a lot on nothing. Thanks all. Appreciate your feedback.

  • 191. anonymouse teacher  |  June 12, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    @170, re: bilingual positions. Our school has a huge bilingual population. We lost nearly all of our bilingual pull out support teachers. But, since we are legally obligated to still serve those children (and want to), every homeroom teacher will have to be either ESL or bilingual certified in our building. Any teacher in our building (with the exception of music, art, sped, etc)without such a certification will be fired and replaced with someone who is ESL or bilingual certified. We are going to be losing a lot of really great teachers and there won’t be enough help to really serve our population correctly. There are tons of other cuts in our building, but it is too long to detail.

  • 192. breathe deep  |  June 13, 2013 at 9:58 am

    I think some teachers in Chicago already cover recess. That was the case at our school until last year. I don’t have the numbers to back this up, but my understanding is that CPS teachers already have much shorter prep time built into their day than their suburban counterparts. This is one of the “quality-of-life” issues that lead CPS teachers to move to the suburbs. We lost a terrific teacher and when I asked her why, she spelled out exactly the difference between the time she had to prepare in Chicago compared to where she was moving. The difference was shocking. She already felt that if she was going to do her job well, she had to work evenings and weekends to prepare. It definitely was much more than a 40 hour work week. In addition, the new budget will eliminate some of the “specials” positions. While we love our specials, one of their real functions is to allow core-subject teachers a break so they can get prep time. So, eliminating the specials and asking core-subject teachers to cover recess is a double-whammy on an already very strained situation.

  • 193. local  |  June 13, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    LSD: “This is a good example of how the teachers’ union goals were in mis-alignment with good education practice – hence Mayor Emanuel’s oft quoted remark that the kids got “shafted” by the adults.”

    This omits much of the history of that schedule change. So much for being thorough and balanced.

  • 194. Mayfair Dad  |  June 13, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    While I don’t always agree with RYH’s official position, I can attest to Wendy’s sterling character and incredible work ethic. In a typical day she does the work of five people as a volunteer, for the benefit of all of the children in Chicago. She bends over backwards to be inclusive and has visited schools in every corner of the city, far more than Rahm has ever set foot in. She walks the walk. If you are looking for a good cause to donate to, Raise Your Hand is worthy of consideration.

  • 195. IB obsessed  |  June 13, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    I know a CPS teacher who has turned in her resignation due to can’t take the stress and uncertainty anymore. She reports that her doctor said he has numerous CPS teacher patients quitting this year for the same reason. 😦

  • 196. Neighborhood parent  |  June 13, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    Who’s going to the Chicago Tribune hosted discussion forum with Barbara Byrd Bennett?

  • 197. DZV  |  June 13, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    @CPS Parent
    On the whole recess thing: I think some people forget that teachers not only get duty free lunch, but we also don’t get paid for it. I volunteer enough in my school, I come in early, I stay late, and I drag work home all the time, so to ask me to take my sandwich outside on occasion to supervise recess, yes, that is asking a lot.
    BTW: I am doing recess duty everyday at the expense of my students. I am a special education teacher and each day my students lose 45 minutes of instructional time because I am outside doing recess duty. In fact, our whole special education team and at least six other schools I know of, the special education teachers do recess duty.
    So, parents, if your child has an IEP, “the normal” day, “fuller”, “better” day CPS gave you, is probably at the expense of your child’s special needs.

  • 198. DZV  |  June 13, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    @192 and @195
    Yes, this is so true. We had 3 wonderful, well-seasoned teachers turn in their resignations this year. A CPS teacher/neighbor also turned his in and I am contemplating. This hired/fired/rehired is getting old and too stressful. Our suburban counterparts are better off in the sense that they can provide a better education due to better planning and collaboration:
    One example: most suburban teachers get 30 minute plan/meeting time before the kids come in. This allows for faculty meetings, special education team meetings, parent meetings. We get ZIP.
    They get two 45 minute plan periods. One personal, one team building: gen. ed. teachers meet with each other at grade levels and/or departments to plan. Special education teachers meet with the gen. ed. teachers to plan. We get one hour and one of those is principal directed. It’s a free for all: maybe teams get together, maybe the special ed teachers do. Who knows.
    Oh, and they aren’t asked to “take a sandwich outside” and watch the kids during their lunch time.

  • 199. ChicagoTeacher  |  June 13, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    @84 I don’t know how it’s possible. We have 1,500 students. We were budgeted for 1,200 students.

  • 201. local  |  June 13, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    “So, parents, if your child has an IEP, “the normal” day, “fuller”, ‘better’ day CPS gave you, is probably at the expense of your child’s special needs.”

    How can a parent obtain confirmation from the school of the minutes actually (proven) delivered? The parent would need that to challenge a school’s claim the IEP was implemented.

  • 202. WendyRYH  |  June 13, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    Raise Your Hand is putting together a database of cuts. Unfortunately, CPS is not telling the truth. These are just some of the numbers schools are reporting:

    Amundsen: $780k
    Bell- $750k
    Goethe: $265k
    Grimes-Fleming: $468k
    Kenwood: $1.7 million
    Lincoln Park HS – $1.06mill
    Mitchell: $788k
    Nettelhorst: $400k (plus change)
    Roosevelt: $1.1 million

    We have lots more. Feel free to email me if you want us to add you to the database:

  • 203. local  |  June 13, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    I wonder how these cuts will play for Emanuel’s narrative on the national level. Does it put a kink in it now?

  • 204. local  |  June 13, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Saw this over at Catalyst: “A power point obtained by Catalyst lays out how the budgeting system is working this year.”

  • 205. local  |  June 13, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    Are any schools going to be left with a professional librarian on staff?

  • 206. CPSUnless  |  June 13, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    I doubt many schools will have a librarian next year. My kid’s school does not but at least they have a library with parent volunteers. Some schools don’t have room for one or are not really utilized. My daughter attends a magnet school but I am going to attend our neighborhood LSC meeting to get an idea of what is going on with the neighborhood school budget. I don’t understand how CPS can open 15 new charters with the financial crisis they are stating.

  • 207. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  June 14, 2013 at 6:39 am


    Does anyone else get a line-item budget at LSC meetings?

    I’ve never seen an LSC get a line-item budget but the principles at some schools give line-items for their use of discretionary dollars. As a parent, I requested line-item budgets for two fiscal years for my school, but they are very hard to interpret unless you are familiar with all the specific budget codes. Some funds can only be used for certain purposes, some funds cannot be transferred between accounts, and the majority of the money – the salaries of the teachers and staff – are set by contracts or, in the case of the principals, by the CPS central office.

    I’m sure that some principals try to hide some spending decisions by only giving out a summary of certain items, but if a principal just handed you the line item budget you would have a hard time making sense of it. Also, the network offices often give the principals the budget with very little time to turn it around. This means that the only way a principal can give an LSC and parents an understandable document is to give them an abridged one.

    The best thing for an LSC to do is to set out its priorities before the budgets are received so that it can basically start at the top of the list, fund those items, and work down until it’s out of money.

    As others have said, some LSCs are activist and argue with their principals over how the money should be spent, and other LSCs are less confrontational and tend to rubberstamp what the principal wants. And in many cases the LSC members themselves disagree over what the priorities for the school are and how the money should be best spent.

  • 208. Joel  |  June 14, 2013 at 7:38 am

    Regarding how the cuts will hurt/not hurt Rahm’s political position, sadly I don’t think it will other than set tounges wagging, and then people will settle in and deal with it. They always have and always will; it’s our glorious human trait of survival coupled with passive acceptance when things aren’t ‘too’ bad.
    Rahm seems to be developing the new 3rd political party that many people have always thought America deserved. It’s a strange hybrid: raise taxes like a Democrat, but cut public services and eliminate unionized labor power like a Republican.
    I’m waiting for his plan to be unveiled where police will be paid by the arrest (bonus $ if suspect is convicted), mailmen get docked when a letter is slipped in the wrong box, and bus drivers lose pay if their bus doesn’t reach a stop at the designated time. Oh, and you’re all fired at the end of the year anyways 🙂
    I’ve been hearing that our neighborhood HS budget will be down over $1 million.

  • 209. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 14, 2013 at 7:43 am

    I heard one LSC this past week where the board were “activists” and did NOT ‘rubber stamp’ the principals wants. It was supposedly a very tense meeting, but in the end~the LSC did what was in the best interest of the students.

  • 210. Patricia  |  June 14, 2013 at 9:08 am

    @SoxSideIrish4 – See link below on the WY winning state for math! You brought it up earlier in this or other string. Woo Hoo! Mr. Moran is an amazing math teacher. Anyone been to a math competition? It is a whole different world that was eye opening to me. There is a truly special group of math teachers in CPS that make math the coolest thing in the world to kids. Thank goodness for them!! Just wanted to share some bright spots among the budget muck.

  • 211. CPS Parent  |  June 14, 2013 at 9:08 am

    206. CPSUnless – Charters are cheaper for CPS than non-charter schools. Roughly, you can educate 11 charter kids for every 10 non-charter students with the same amount of funding. Opening more charters makes sense when the populace is unwilling to fund (urban) education properly – the funds need to be stretched as far as possible. I expect that, eventually, CPS will be about 75% charter schools.

  • 212. CPS Parent  |  June 14, 2013 at 9:14 am

    210. Patricia – Yes! For elementary school kids Mr. Moran and many of the cool math teachers from Whitney Young and Payton run this free program for students during the year at Payton on Saturday’s. Register early since spots run out fast.

  • 213. Patricia  |  June 14, 2013 at 9:23 am

    @212 CPS Parent. Agree. Payton Math Circle is great. Also U of C has YSP (Young Scholars Program) with school year and summer programs. We haven’t done YSP, but plan on trying it out in the fall. Have to also include the amazing Mr. Major when talking about rock star math teachers! They are so energizing it makes me want to learn more math and attend the sessions myself…….which would horrify my son 😉

  • 214. anotherchiagoparent  |  June 14, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Teachers union, charter schools rail at CPS budget cuts,0,2545624.story

  • 215. breathe deep  |  June 14, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Our LSC is very activist. In a way, I think our principal is okay with this since she will have to make some tough decisions and can say that it was ultimately the LSC who finalized the budget.

  • 216. SutherlandParent  |  June 14, 2013 at 9:43 am

    @207, thanks for the update on budgets. Makes sense. Attendees at our LSC meetings don’t see any numbers at all, even summaries of the different buckets. So while the principal did say we’re losing $250,000+ in funding under the projected budget, I have no idea what percentage of the total budget that is.

    Is that normal behavior at other LSCs? At one other school I know of, the principal projects the budget onto a screen for meeting attendees, at least.

    (I’ve found our LSC meetings to be an exercise in frustration, with the LSC vaguely discussing many things they can’t or don’t share the specifics of–and the LSC wonders why no one comes to meetings!)

  • 217. cpsobsessed  |  June 14, 2013 at 9:45 am

    This is what confuses me about the Trib article that @214 posted:
    It doesn’t seem to reflect what indiv schools are saying. Amundsen lost $780K? I don’t think that school has lost students. It seems fairly over-enrolled in fact.

    CPS is facing a budget deficit of nearly $1 billion, but said the new budget system should ensure a more equitable distribution of funds. The district said the budgets do not include any reductions to teachers, librarians and counselors. But the district acknowledged schools are receiving less money because of issues that include declining enrollment, and principals may decide to reduce those positions.

  • 218. Angie  |  June 14, 2013 at 10:02 am

    @217. cpsobsessed : Amundsen is losing some students, so at least some of the cuts are for that reason. And this is based on projected enrollment, so I hope that the budgets will be amended on the 20th day of school when the final numbers are in.

    “At Amundsen, at least a portion of the budget cuts can be attributed to a lower projected enrollment for the 2013-14 school year, from 1,435 to 1,370, a result of the school’s push to become more neighborhood-focused by enrolling fewer students from the far reaches of the city.

    “The short-term outcome of that is a smaller student body, at least for a little while,” said Jeffrey Newman, community representative on Amundsen’s LSC.”

  • 219. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 14, 2013 at 10:05 am

    210. Patricia | June 14, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Thank you Patricia for posting the link on WY. Their math team is unbelievable…the kids go every Tuesday after school review/learning and on Saturdays for competition. They love it…to me it’s another world…Patricia if your child has never been to UC for YSP, go~it’s an outstanding program.

  • 220. Patricia  |  June 14, 2013 at 10:10 am

    @217 CPSO. Confuses me too. There really is no way to make a $1 billion hole look OK in a believable way. I do gather that the new funding formula makes more sense in that it frees up the dollars trapped in separate buckets and makes the whole budget relatively easier to understand.

    The Principal at one of my kids schools handed out a great one page budget summary that has all the line items in fairly easy to understand terms. It looks like a standard budget summary view from some CPS budget system that I had never seen before. It shows that while the total reduction may be one number, when you consider the funds that parents provide (which was not there yet), other nuances that are school specific and CPS screwed up once again, etc. There is still a reduction, but it is not as alarming as just looking at the total deficit number. However, that was just first take and the Principal and LSC will have do dig into making the cuts they will need to make, etc. Unfortunately the goal is to minimize the pain.

    With the billion dollar cliff 😉 Just thinking out loud, back of the envelope here—– Let’s say that Springfield actually does something on pensions (LOL!! Not holding my breath.) and as someone posted numbers above it is less than the $250 milliion Madigan solution and more than the $30 million Cullerton solution. PLUS some TIF redirect back to schools. Potential for $200 million from pension reform annually and $100 million from TIF (not sure if that would be annually or one time). That is $300 million that could be pumped back to CPS directly to the schools or $400-500K per school roughly. Movement in Springfield and on TIF would sure help a lot.

  • 221. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 14, 2013 at 10:11 am

    217. cpsobsessed | June 14, 2013 at 9:45 am

    While a few school may lose students, many schools are bursting with overcrowding. Looks like parent groups are trying to get the TIF money from Rahm that is due CPS

  • 222. anotherchiagoparent  |  June 14, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Lincoln Park High school up 21 students budget 1.6 million less next fall.
    “When you are going into a new school year and our project for enrollment for next year is up 21 students and you have less money, the concept of flexibility is not exactly an easy concept to get your mind around,” Boraz said at a special budget meeting at the high school.

    Bell will have to cut personnel and programs, they sent out an email today after announcing their 750,000 cut.

  • 223. cpsobsessed  |  June 14, 2013 at 10:20 am

    @218: Thanks for the info, Angie. I think it makes sense to scale back a little bit in size, so hopefully the cuts won’t be too horrible given that there are fewer students….The new principal is making a lot of focused changes to the school so I’m eager to see the evolution.

  • 224. cpsobsessed  |  June 14, 2013 at 10:25 am

    boy, that DNA news is awesome. I wish there was a way to subscribe to education articles specifically.

  • 225. junior  |  June 14, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Maybe the Whitney Young math team can help solve the budget troubles. Have they studied “irrational numbers” yet?

    The real problems are with our state legislators and their decades long failures to address these issues. I’m not usually a pitch-fork wielder, but I’m really in a “throw the bums out” mood. I like Lisa Madigan but there’s no way I’d support her for governor with her dad having been so responsible for this mess.

  • 226. Patricia  |  June 14, 2013 at 11:01 am

    @Junior. LOL!

    Agree, legislators need to act or get the _ _ _ _ (fill in your preferred expletive here) OUT.

    It is sickening that hundreds of millions can be gained for CPS with pension reform and TIF, yet a standstill remains in Springfield.

  • 227. Mayfair Dad  |  June 14, 2013 at 11:21 am

    @225/226: Not to get into the whole union debate again, but you don’t hear CTU clamoring for pension reform to help fund education. Their silence is deafening.

    I wouldn’t vote for another Madigan or another Daley even if someone held their concealed carry handgun to my head.

  • 228. Mayfair Dad  |  June 14, 2013 at 11:28 am

    @ 207 – nice concise informational flyer, well done.

  • 229. Portage Mom  |  June 14, 2013 at 11:33 am

    @225 junior – I’ve always appreciated your input on this blog. I agree with you on Lisa Madigan. Springfield has to move on the issue of pensions but they don’t seem inclined despite the many downgrades from rating agencies. What I think is very unfair is the state pays for the teacher’s pensions in suburban and down state school districts while Chicago has to go it alone. I think it’s easy to get the best teachers by paying higher salaries when the state is picking up pension costs for those teachers. The salaries wouldn’t be so high if suburban school districts and downstate districts had to pick up these costs. The higher salaries also contribute to the problem.

    The only way to get legislators to move is if their offices were flooded with calls from angry parents and voters about the current lack of progress. Our elected officials want to keep their jobs and special interests do influence a lot of their agenda and financing for their campaign . I do think if voters are angry enough, the threat of losing their job is enough for them to get moving. Special interests provide the money but they don’t vote, registered voters do.

    I have voted in every election. I remember one in particular. I lived in Bucktown at the time. Matlack (not sure of the spelling) was running for re-election as alderman and he faced Scott Waguespeck (spelling might be wrong). Matlack ran many commercials and was supported by Mayor Daley as well as other prominent Democrats. He also had a lot more funding. I received something in the mail from the Matlack campaign a couple of times a week in addition to the flood of phone calls from the campaign. HIs challenger was outmatched when it came to spending. The first election was too close between the two candidates. A run off election was held and Scott W was elected. I know a lot of people were upset at Matlack for not listening to residents when it came to zoning changes in the ward. I’m sure there were other issues. The underdog won despite being outmatched in every way. Matlack was stunned he had lost. He underestimated the anger of voters. People can say this was a local race but I do think if voters get organized and are angry enough then anything is possible.

    I’d appreciate your thoughts junior.

  • 230. RL Julia  |  June 14, 2013 at 11:54 am

    Would the handgun have to be concealed still or would you need to see it?

  • 231. JMOChicago  |  June 14, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Inspired by Christopher Ball’s excellent Fact Sheet on Funding Changes created for RYH, here is a handy worksheet and sample agenda for LSC’s to use for requests for more financial detail from principals who are being coy or opaque about sharing the numbers. This was shared with me in regards to an LSC meeting run by an actual CPS principal, so do not accept excuses that this level of detail is not being shared.

  • 232. Just a Neighborhood School Teacher  |  June 14, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    My school is losing over $2 million from our budget. Our students will lose somewhere between 20 and 30 teachers next year.

    Though our enrollment projections are slightly lower, they are lower every year; for the last 15 years our school has always enrolled more students in the fall than the CPS springtime projection. Even after adjusting our budget based on more realistic enrollment numbers in the fall we will still lose over $1.5 million in funding compared to this year.

    My advice? Spend every penny available on staff. People make a difference. We can find a way to make our school work without textbooks. We can find a way to make our school work without computers. We can find a way to make our school work without metal detectors and fans and paper towels and soap and lunch trays and desks and whiteboards, etc., etc., etc. We cannot make our school work without appropriate staffing.

  • 233. Falconergrad  |  June 14, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    The first weeks of school are going to be wasted if schools cannot hire teachers they will wind up needing. Will there be any adjustment over the summer as real enrollment numbers come in? We get a lot of people registering their kids pretty late.

  • 234. cpsobsessed  |  June 14, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    I read that the adjustment will be on Day 10 this year.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 235. Just a Neighborhood School Teacher  |  June 14, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    I also read that the enrollment/budget adjustments will be based on Day 10.

    While I appreciate getting the financing based on enrollment finalized earlier, the difficulty is that when you couple the earlier August starting date with a 10th day enrollment determination (rather than a 20th day) it becomes a significant problem for schools with high mobility rates or schools, like mine, that enroll large numbers of students in the first two weeks. Many students simply take two weeks to show up and enroll.

    Our enrollment usually peaks at around the time enrollment is finalized for budgetary purposes. Next fall our enrollment will increase after student numbers have been finalized for budgetary purposes.

    That’s going to hurt, too.

  • 236. Mayfair Dad  |  June 14, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    @230 RLJ – you make me nervous. :0

  • 237. junior  |  June 14, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    @229 Portage Mom

    Wish there was an easy solution to getting rid of entrenched politicians. State legislators are in some ways even tougher than aldermen. Madigan has a vice grip on power, and many reps owe their seats to him. He is kingmaker. On top of that, the incumbents have had their districts gerrymandered favorably so that makes it very hard to unseat them.

    The only way to effect real change is to cut off the head of the beast, and hopefully the rest will tumble — but realistically the only things that can take Madigan down are a major scandal, an indictment from the U.S. attorney, or a Republican takeover of the House…. Oh, and possibly Illinois bankruptcy/default.

  • 238. anotherchiagoparent  |  June 14, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Term limits in Illinois would be nice.

  • 239. RL Julia  |  June 14, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    @236 – don’t be. I am completely afraid of guns, concealed or otherwise.

  • 240. Mayfair Dad  |  June 14, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    From Catalyst:

    “CPS’ debt service for 2014 was projected to be $475 million, before the supplemental capital budget was passed which is going to add $25 million more to the debt service. At $500 million, we would be spending about $1240 per student on debt service. That means that about 10 percent of our budget is spent on debt service. According to 2011 Census data, cited in this article, districts nationwide paid an average of $155 per non-charter pupil on debt service.”


  • 241. Peter  |  June 14, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Is that debt service including pension payments?

  • 242. local  |  June 14, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    @ 224. cpsobsessed | June 14, 2013 at 10:25 am

    “boy, that DNA news is awesome. I wish there was a way to subscribe to education articles specifically.”

    Ask them for that. They’re evolving – and evolving well, too! Loving the hyperlocal news that isn’t just PR.

  • 243. Angie  |  June 14, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    CPS announces layoffs.

    “About 850 teachers and staffers at schools doomed to either close this month or to reboot their staffs were handed pink slips Friday afternoon, according to Chicago Public Schools.

    At the 48 closing schools, 420 teachers of 1,005 total lost their jobs, plus 110 paraprofessionals and 133 bus aides and part-timers. At the five schools headed for “turnaround,” where the children remain in the building but all the adults are replaced, 192 staffers were laid off: 125 teachers, 20 paraprofessionals, 20 bus aides and part-timers and 27 clerks, custodians and security staffers.”

  • 244. local  |  June 14, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    @ 243. Angie | June 14, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    “CPS announces layoffs…”

    There go some more bungalow mortgages into foreclosure in Chi-town. Oh, well.

  • 246. Angie  |  June 14, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    @245. local: The difference is that if everything goes according to plan, the new arena will generate the revenue for the city. Check the the comments, Boyee on 06/14/2013 at 5:13 PM explained it well.

  • 247. CPS Parent  |  June 14, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    237. junior The quality of our elected officials aside – I just don’t think there is an appetite for increased public funding for CPS schools by the citizens of this state including the majority of Chicagoans. The politicians now this. In addition the pension reform plans under consideration in Springfield were both unconstitutional by Illinois law and would have been eventually struck down in the courts.

    My napkin math tells me if the half billion or so in deferred payments wasn’t due now there would be no lay-offs needed at CPS. The deferments masked CPS true financial condition and avoided strikes for Daley but it’s biting the teacher’s in the you-know-what now and to borrow a phrase – “shafting” the kids again. Thank you Mayor Daley…

  • 248. Patricia  |  June 14, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    Doesn’t the debt service cost go up as our credit rating goes down? The credit rating has gone down due to the inability of Illinois legislators—-or Mike Madigan and John Cullerton—— to pass meaningful pension reform. A STUPID STUPID reason to drain millions of needed dollars from CPS just because our debt/”credit card” has a much higher interest rate now.

    @Junior. Sadly, the most realistic option you list for getting rid of Madigan is Illinois bankruptcy. No way the other options would ever happen. The “machine” is killing Illinois.

  • 249. local  |  June 14, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    @ 246. Angie | June 14, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    Yes, make sure to read the comments. That blogger could sure use some more reporting. When he neglects key info, he kills his credibility. And, I want him to be better. Not sure he wants to do the heavy lifting, though.

  • 250. Patricia  |  June 14, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    @247 CPS parent. It is so INSANE that the Illinois Constitution has pension rules in it!! That does NOT belong in a state constitution. Our founding fathers would think we have an idiotic legislature—they would be wise even from the grave.

    The union protection crap was added to the constitution as a union protection that once in place is the hardest to change AND allows for endless litigation. The union bought the votes and muscled it through. The labor power (not just CTU) pushed it through and it is simply going to kill this state.

  • 251. WendyRYH  |  June 14, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    @ CPSO – RE: Amundsen- CPS short staffs some schools every year to help balance their budget. Saw it happen a ton last year by up to 8 positions in some case. Kids sit in the gym or super-sized classrooms until the 20th day of school.

  • 252. Chicago Mama  |  June 15, 2013 at 9:02 am

    A couple of comments….

    These budgets are requiring us as school communities to prioritize more than ever before. There is no money at the district level or from the state. IMO, our short-term prospects are to pressure the aldermen and mayor to return TIF surplus to schools, and long-term are to (a) reform pensions and (b) increase revenue at the state.

    Magnet schools have two “quota” / board funded teaching positions protected in this year’s budget. Magnet clusters within neighborhoods have one, so the magnet argument isn’t grounded in reality – its a difference of one FT staff position.

    Preschool is funded completely separately from k-12 budgeting. Those are all District-funded (quota) positions, and enrollment is capped, so for the purposes of this discussion, PK doesn’t matter.

    Poor schools get more Title I/ state aid funding to make up the difference between poor and rich schools. I’d love to see a budget report from a high Title I school to see where those funds are going.

    The budgetary day of reckoning this year is 10th day of enrollment, which makes the early start date even more disconcerting for those schools who need to add positions after the start of school based on larger enrollment numbers.

  • 253. Dad  |  June 15, 2013 at 9:07 am

    Didn’t realize Chicago funded a lot of private preschools. Will this funding be affected? It is a worthy cause, but this is money going to churches in some cases.

    “In all, more than half of the publicly financed classes in Chicago, serving about 44,600 children, will be run by organizations that are not part of the public school district.”

  • 254. JMOChicago  |  June 15, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Chicago Mama has it right. And, there are some additional data points about the neighborhood schools vs. magnets vs. SEES that I am pursuing.

    Schools with over a certain % of low income students (above 50% at least) receive Title 1 funds with the expectation that they have more expenses needed to bring those students up to academic levels that match their expected grade level. In my initial investigation of this, I would say that this is grounded in reality. Higher income students seem to start higher and stay there. Lower income students seem to start much farther behind and need more resources to “catch up”. I don’t know how much more expense related to special education, bilingual services, operating costs (paying for the supplies that parents can’t afford), security, etc. is needed for schools with high populations of low income families or high mobility…yet. But I’m working on it. Also, I can’t determine if CPS shares all of their Title 1 money with individual schools…it seems that some might be used to fund positions at Central Office and in Network Offices, presumably with the argument that those positions benefit Title 1 schools. But I don’t know exactly.

    There is a fund of money that CPS historically used to support racial desegregation under the old system of budgeting (when we had the decree for that) and that money was apportioned to Magnet and SEES schools to support desegregation. Somehow, after the decree was removed and we had Tiers (and the focus shifted to desegregation based on socio-economic status) those extra funds have been classified as “Options for Knowledge Funds” and still exist for Magnet and SEES schools. However, some of those schools have not really been fulfilling the original intent of desegregation. To what degree this creates inequity in the system, I am not sure. Yet.

    There are more constraints and hidden costs involved for neighborhood schools than for Magnet and SEES schools overall, because neighborhood schools have to deal with variables that affect their budgets/planning/school culture that Magnet/SEES (and some Charter Schools) do not. These schools which can control enrollment (through testing or applications) will automatically filter out families that are less involved or motivation to advocate for their students (not the students fault). Some are able to use the threat of being let go from the school to keep order, attendance up, etc. where neighborhood schools have higher thresholds to meet for expulsion. My hypothesis is that these schools are able to close the differentiation gap between students earlier and thus become more efficient with their spending. Even having a cohort which doesn’t have to be “re-oriented” to the culture of the school each year or all year long (as with schools that have higher amounts of students transferring in and out) is a benefit with efficiency and operations of the school. These schools can control class sizes more easily, avoid split classrooms more easily, predict budget and staff expenses more easily and efficiently than neighborhood schools.

    I don’t believe that the ISAT has been sufficient in allowing schools (or parents) to test for academic growth during the year in schools. As much as I am against excessive standardized testing or putting too much emphasis on tests as a reflection of the quality of education (I prefer portfolios and assessments used together), I think that MAP will be an improvement for assessing which schools do a better job in growing students. Schools that take kids who are already performing at in the top quartile of assessments and stay there do a fine job. But schools who take students in the bottom quartile and move them to the 75% quartile in one year? Are excelling at delivering value to students. Those schools wouldn’t be easy to see under the current ISAT system. It will be easier to distinguish them from the MAP.

    I guess what I am saying here is…everything is not what it seems from first glance. Title 1 funds are not necessarily a “windfall” for the schools that receive them, and performance gains are harder to measure than many realize. And it is not often apparent from walking into a school and looking at the physical space (how much storage they have, what is on the walls, etc.) what the quality of teaching will be there. I’ve been in schools that don’t have a lot of storage space (look a little messy like Agassiz does), have less bells & whistles & beautiful decor in the school because the neighborhood has a grumpier fire marshall that forbids things hanging on the walls/etc., but is kicking butt in advanced math teaching or sophisticated literature interpretation. Not all schools excel at marketing their strengths. It can be a frustrating experience to uncover what is really going on at any school until you are in the school.

  • 255. cpsobsessed  |  June 15, 2013 at 9:58 am

    @JMO- that’s an awesome post and description of how data (yay data!) can tell so much about a school and the system when used well. So many good points about things not always being as they initially seem.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 256. anonymouse teacher  |  June 15, 2013 at 11:44 am

    @243, those layoffs are the tip of the iceberg. There are many, many more to come. Mid-July, once HR can determine according to 1st, certification and then 2nd, other considerations (ratings, seniority, etc), more layoffs will be official. My school alone is set to lose between 6-8 of our 50 staff members (that includes teachers, SECAs, clinicians, resources teachers, etc). Those numbers haven’t been reported in the ones they are reporting now.

  • 257. JMOChicago  |  June 15, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    @Dad, CPS has historically funded many private schools and organizations. Here are some of them from the most recent budget information available.

  • 258. ...seen it all....  |  June 15, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    253…of course monies are going to the inner city churches…pre-school, counseling, walking the children to school ya know …the peace circle people…..this is how Rham was elected…..follow the money, folks!

  • 259. Portage Mom  |  June 15, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    @257 JMOChicago – Thanks for the post. I understand CPS funding pre-K education for low income families. There were a number of high schools listed. I’m curious to know why CPS would provide funds to private high schools.

  • 260. CPSMom  |  June 15, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    Waiting to see what happens at our school…principal is working to keep classroom sizes manageable/keep teachers, but am wondering what will happen to the librarian, the art teacher, the world language teachers…all of whom were hired in response to the longer day. We have a classroom for autistic students…a great sped program whose teachers have been stretched thin this year. And a music program that is wonderful. Don’t know what’s going to be trimmed or by how much…

  • 261. Portage Mom  |  June 15, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    I came across this discussion on the Illinois Pension Crisis on Khan Academy. I thought the talk hit the major points very well.

  • […] tip to Portage Mom at CPS Obsessed for pointing out this really excellent Khan Academy video re: the Illinois Pension […]

  • 263. JMOChicago  |  June 15, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    Thank you for the link to that video, Portage Mom. It really is the best explanation of the problem that I’ve seen yet, and the comments are as good as the video.

  • 264. Patricia  |  June 16, 2013 at 10:01 am

    Portage Mom. Illuminating Khan Academy video. Thanks for sharing. Not a pretty outlook for Illinois pensions. I have gushed about Khan Academy on many posts here and IMO this just further solidifies how amazing this site is.

  • 265. Portage Mom  |  June 16, 2013 at 10:50 am

    I have been searching for information that goes over how CPS got into such a mess with teacher’s pensions. i know the basics but not the details. The details matter. I think this article does a very good job of giving a timeline along with the details that contributed to the steep budget cuts for the upcoming school year.

  • 266. JMOChicago  |  June 16, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Portage Mom, I’m familiar with the Hinz Tribune article, but his logic is a bit flawed. One, he takes issue with the “3-4% yearly salary hikes” that teachers supposedly received between 1995-2011. However, the average annual rate of inflation during that same period was 2.41%. Not that far off of, what was essentially, a cost of living adjustment (COLA). Teachers don’t get “promoted” unless they become AP’s or Principals, so a COLA is not an unreasonable standard increase for folks in those jobs. Should there average annual increase have been closer to 2.41%? Perhaps, but our ability to predict real inflation really suffered during that same time period.

    The teacher salary and pension benefits that were approved by the CPS BOE are a separate issue from the fact that the Illinois Assembly of 1996-1996 made some REALLY poor decisions in their decision to underfund the pension plan that had been created by the CPS Board of Education, and decided to use those monies elsewhere. And then delayed revisiting the issue for almost 20 years.

    I’m not sure how my daughter and son should have to pay for the poor political leadership of the Springfield Assembly between 1995 and now. But it seems that they will…in the form of these extreme budget cuts for CPS neighborhood schools.

  • 267. JMOChicago  |  June 16, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Augh, “THEIR average annual increase.” Not “there.” Need more coffee, obviously.

  • 268. Portage Mom  |  June 16, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    @266 JMO Chicago – I agree with your assessment on his take on the yearly salary increases. That doesn’t make sense. I think that part was put in for drama. I think the Board of Education’s decision to take over part of the teachers pension contribution was a terrible idea.

    There are two glaring problems that even if you take out the pension holidays by CPS that are a cause for concern. The defined benefit carries a lot of uncertainty.

    1. People are living longer

    2. Lower returns on investments in some years

    Both factors will ultimately cause CPS to have to make up the shortfall by cutting spending or raising taxes. Taxes can only be raised to a point because of property tax caps. Cutting spending after years of pension holidays is proving to be painful and particularly unfair for our children.

  • 269. cpsobsessed  |  June 16, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    How far are we from the property tax cap? That seems like a no-brainer (not like i want to pay yet more taxes but the city needs $, plain and simple.)

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 270. JMOChicago  |  June 16, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    You’ll get no argument from me on that. Defined Benefit plans were only viable back when growth in the economy was more predictable and was increasing at a consistently positive average rate. The State Pension System was created during “The Gilded Age” when US manufacturing output was poised to overtake Britain for the first time (1890). The bet was that pension investments would cover pension costs but relied on never-ending economic growth and stability. And full funding of pensions, of course. Even temporary dips would be smoothed over by temporary peaks over time, and it would all work out. If the Illinois Pension Funds had been fully-funded, I wonder how the portfolio would have benefited from the large gains during the late 90’s and early 00’s, and–wisely diversified–would have weathered the economic downturns of the Dot Com crash and then the Housing Market fall. As it is, we will never know. Illinois Politicians used the Pension System, and thus the Chicago Public Schools, as their ATM. And here with are, with only hindsight being 20/20.

    Steadily and over time, Defined Benefit plans have been replaced with Defined Contribution plans. Personally, after watching United Airlines employees lose the battle to hold on to their pensions after the Federal Bankruptcy Court allowed United to default, I was glad that I had control over my own retirement portfolio. I’ve been investing in my 401k since I was 22 years old in order to take full-advantage of employer matches when I had them (sometimes eating ramen noodles in order to pull it off). I make the decisions about the funds that my money gets invested in. (Broker fees have still made this plan less than perfect, but it is better in my estimation, than the alternative of giving someone else control over my retirement.) I would rather negotiate on a better match percentage and lower broker’s fees, and have control over the funds personally.

    I will take heat, I’m sure, for suggesting this but the CTU’s Defined Benefit plan needs to be phased out while a Defined Contribution plan is phased in. If nothing else, to get the funds out of the hands of politicians who can walk away after they’ve plundered the DB funds through lack of contributions while taxpayers have to suffer through catching up the difference.

  • 271. JMOChicago  |  June 16, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Here is some more interesting history on the Illinois Pension issue. I’ve only skimmed it (so my posting here does not imply endorsement), but it isolates some historical facts are interesting.

  • 272. Portage Mom  |  June 16, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    I stand corrected. CPS has already raised property taxes to the cap limit for the last two years I believe. The mayor is not ruling out lifting the cap. If the cap were lifted, the solution would only be temporary at best. Here is an article talking about CPS and the tax cap.

    JMOChicago, thanks for posting the article. Shows the unions had a hand in the pension mess. They are not exactly blameless as they would have us believe. I am with you and agree the Defined Benefit plan needs to be phased out. The plan is not sustainable. Promises were made but given the dire situation the state is in there doesn’t seem to be any way out of this mess without hits to both taxpayers and public employees.

  • 273. breathe deep  |  June 17, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Does anyone have any hard numbers on how the SEHS have been affected by this?

    I saw the article above about how Lincoln Park High School has to between 1.06 million and 900 thousand. Is that current?

  • 274. JMOChicago  |  June 17, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Portage Mom, yes, the union reps of 1995 were definitely complicit in the vote.

    @246 Angie: Actually, it shouldn’t matter if the DePaul area generates revenue for the City (and that is debatable). Many investments could generate revenue for the City. But de-funding education (and police and fire safety and water, etc.) is not the way to source funds for those investments. It is like saying, “We shouldn’t feed the kids for three months, and put our grocery money into purchasing this hot stock! If it pays off, we’ll make money!” That would be a dangerous and unhealthy thing to do. This is similar.

    @273 breathe deep: I’m not sure how hard the SEHS/SEES have been affected, but I would think that they would be affected at the same percentage cuts as the neighborhood schools because that would be equitable. Punishing neighborhood schools through budget cuts and preserving SEES/SEHS budgets would be, frankly, unconscionable.

  • 275. Peter  |  June 17, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Portage Mom and JMOChicago are correct. The only solution is doing away with Defined Benefits and moving to Define Constributions.

    The Illinois Constitution can’t be allowed to drive the state to bankruptcy.

  • 276. laura  |  June 17, 2013 at 10:20 am

    My sister, who is a former Golden Apple award winner and has won more grants than she can keep track of and loves teaching more than just about anything, turned in her resignation today. She’s tracked her results the last few years and her students make an average of 1.8 years worth of gains each year. She’s only 50. Too bad the district will lose out on another 10-15 years of her added value. She just can’t deal with the mismanagement or systemic chaos anymore. Her spouse earns a lot of money and they’ve never really needed her income or the pension. What a loss to CPS.

  • 277. JMOChicago  |  June 17, 2013 at 10:24 am

    Laura, wow, that is terrible. It seems we will lose a lot of talent who know that they could be employed elsewhere. And that is going to hurt kids. (Would you contact me directly? jeannemarie.olson (at) gmail (dot) com of Apples 2 Apples. I have a clarifying question because the possibility of this kind of teacher turnover related to district policies is concerning me… Thanks.)

  • 278. Portage Mom  |  June 17, 2013 at 11:15 am

    I have heard on this blog and through other sources many teachers have had enough and have turned in their resignations to CPS. These are teachers we can’t afford to lose. Our children will suffer and that is so unfair. I can’t say I blame them given the budget situation for the coming year. CPS likes to downplay the budget issues but we are in a crisis.

    This is not just a CPS crisis. The school children of Chicago are feeling the pain first given CPS having to contribute more to pensions based on changes in the law. The state takes care of public workers pensions outside of the city including teachers. The crisis will also be felt outside the city if hard choices aren’t made quickly.

    We can lay some of the blame on politicians for getting us into this mess. I don’t think politicians are going to change anytime soon. The voters of Illinois can no longer settle for easy short term solutions. We must insist on accountability from our politicians and push for making the difficult decisions needed to protect the most vulnerable and innocent caught up in this mess, our children. If a solution isn’t found soon, our children will pay a heavy price.

    We are all paying a heavy price because of Illinois’s pension problems and budget issues. The recession has been over for sometime and yet our state’s unemployment rate as of May 2013 stands at 9.3%. There is only one state in the nation with a higher unemployment rate and that’s Nevada at 9.6% . The nations unemployment rate is 7.5%.

    I am an optimist at heart. We are after all the “Land of Lincoln”. There is a way out of the problems facing our state. They require sacrifices on all our parts particularly on the part of our elected officials. They must be willing to make the right choice when voting on pension legislation even if it means damaging their chances at re-election. If they don’t, then voters need to hold them accountable for their actions and vote them out of office. Remember our children are counting on us.

  • 279. junior  |  June 17, 2013 at 11:34 am

    @266 JMOChicago

    I would take issue with your characterizations of teacher pay increases.

    First, a 3.5% COLA raise (the contract actually called for 4% yearly until Rahm canceled the final increase) during a time of 2.41% inflation, is indeed a large error (at 3.5% this is 145% the rate of inflation; at 4% this is 166% the rate of inflation) that gets propagated into very hefty sums over time. Teacher salaries are the majority of CPS budget and if you can’t manage those properly, the whole budget is screwed.

    Secondly, you imply that teachers get no other raises unless they become principals or AP’s. They get step and lane increases, which are larger than COLA. These are automatic raises for years on the job and meeting other qualifications (e.g., degrees).

    Here’s what the fact finder found during the strike talks:

    “Over the term of the expired agreement, teachers received overall salary increases ranging between 36.77% and 41.94% even after taking into account the cancelation of the 4% salary table increase in the 2012 school year.”

    I think when you talk to unhappy teachers, the issues are not ones of pay but of other conditions. Teachers in Chicago are paid pretty well.

  • 280. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 17, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    276. laura | June 17, 2013 at 10:20 am

    I have a feeling this is where CPS is at~gr8 teachers leaving. Rahm & IL politicians are hurting CPS kids.

  • 281. Chris  |  June 17, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    “you imply that teachers get no other raises unless they become principals or AP’s. They get step and lane increases, which are larger than COLA. These are automatic raises for years on the job and meeting other qualifications”

    But they cap out after some less than full career time and don’t get a step increase every year.

    And the Lanes go: Master, 15 credit hours, 30 CH, 45 CH and PHD. and after the masters (~$3500 bump), it’s about $1800 for each CH-based lane bump, and then about $2400 for the PHD. Not too bad, but also less than the increases in the scale themselves.

  • 282. JMOChicago  |  June 17, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    @279 Junior, I’m not disagreeing that the negotiated COLA of 3-4% is not in alignment with real inflation. Those who negotiated it mis-calculated that, definitely.

    It is my understanding that STEP is not given every year, but I don’t agree that it should be automatically given, true enough. However, we still haven’t figured out the issues around teacher evaluations (but I would like to see some of STEP tied to teacher performance). Before we go that route, we also need to determine a better way of evaluating and holding principals accountable as well. It is a complicated issue.

    I’m not troubled by LANE increases, those are in line with the increases given to many professionals who pursue advanced degrees.

    I’ll raise the veil and throw a scenario out there for comparison. Unlike a public school teacher, I have been able to more easily change employers (and geographical locations) in my career without having to be re-accredited in each state. I had 4 employers between 1988 (when I first left undergrad) to 2000. In that time period, I obtained a graduate degree while working. I increased my base salary by 472%. This was all through gaining experience, switching employers, and taking on additional responsibilities (but I avoided becoming a middle manager, I stayed primarily as an individual contributor during that time.) The additional responsibilities I took on involved more responsibility for strategy, planning, estimating, and mentoring newer professionals. I see this as similar to the veteran teachers in my school who take on additional operational responsibilities (interviewing committees, etc.); take on leadership of vertical/horizontal curriculum development teams; take on the leadership of new initiative implementation (like Common Core); etc. Perhaps other schools do not have those roles, I can only speak about those roles at one CPS school.

    I can’t give you an exact number right now, but my early estimates are that teacher salaries are below the average percentage for district budgets and that our very costly Central and Area Network office budget are another large problem. Those additional costs combined with the $400mil in property taxes siphoned off of the school budget for TIF accounts creates quite a shortfall for CPS.

    Should teachers be paid less? I’m not sure that alone is the answer. We already have enormous problems attracting some specialists to the profession in CPS (truly bilingual preschool talent, specialists in special education, talented principals, math and science professionals). Even attracting and keeping really talented teachers of any kind. Should we re-organize Central Office and the Area Networks? I think that should definitely be done, though I don’t know how much savings that would net us given that the current command-and-control model of operations for CPS is very costly to run. Should we push for continual dilution of the District budget through the rapid expansion of new schools? Yes. Should we push Springfield to solve this pension crisis and push for a transition to defined contribution plans? I would like to see that, personally. However, attacking this from a purely cost-benefit perspective is only going to chip away at the problem…which you’ve raised. The conditions of working for CPS Leadership are pretty awful. You can love your job, the kids, the families, your principal, your school. But if you are constantly disrespected and undermined, you are going to burn out. And others will be discouraged from taking your place. That is a huge culture shift for CPS.

  • 283. JMOChicago  |  June 17, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Sorry, that should be “Should we push AGAINST continual dilution of the District Budget through the rapid expansion of new schools? Yes.”

  • 284. JMOChicago  |  June 17, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    @Junior, Ahhhh! This is what I was looking for:

  • 285. cpsobsessed  |  June 17, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    I’m with you Jean – I am not fundamentally opposed to charters, but when we’re in this crummy financial position it seems unwise to spend a lot adding extra capacity.
    However… that capacity is sorely needed in some neighborhoods. If additional space of any kind could be added there at minimal cost to CPS (not sure if this could actually happen or not) then it seems like it could make sense.

  • 286. cpsobsessed  |  June 17, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    @JMO – your post about eating Ramen noodles to save for retirement has made me feeling guilty about ordering the expensive conditioner that I like. 🙂

  • 287. JMOChicago  |  June 17, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    I agree with the capacity issue, @285.

    However, I don’t know if, systemically, it would work out as intended. For example, would setting up a charter next to Lincoln Elementary School solve that school’s overcrowding problems? Would the parents from Lincoln send exactly the amount of children to that charter that would alleviate overcrowding grade-by-grade? Or even to the charter school at all? Or is this overcrowding the result of the “tail end” of out-of-attendance boundary enrollments enacted back when the school was not as popular? Or is it the result of an increase in multi-unit development in the attendance boundary with a corresponding increase of students within the boundary? Which Lincoln parents would pull their students from Lincoln and agree to throw in their fate with a new charter school? Which would be willing to give up (their perception) of a better chance of attending Lincoln HS?

    We could say that we would cut out all of the current out-of-attendance boundary enrollments at Lincoln Elementary tomorrow. That would wipe out the middle schools classes instead of taking a few from each grade, because that is how the enrollment numbers are skewed.

    But yes, I hear you. I’ve had very detailed conversations about these very issues and data with CPS officials. It is problem where Central Office needs to examine models of decision-making and behavioral economics versus tally numbers on a spreadsheet. And it is, at the end of the day, creating a better educated guess versus a sure outcome. Frustrating.

  • 288. JMOChicago  |  June 17, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    @CPSObsessed, oh! That was when I was 22-25 in order to contribute $$ to my 401k and get the match. I am SO OVER Ramen noodles. (But I did go without a lot of groceries one month in order to afford my very first real live Christmas tree. I didn’t have enough to decorate it, but my parents sent little white lights in the mail. They only reached halfway down the tree. And I used that thin gold Hallmark gift package ribbon that I curled up using a scissor blade and just stuck it in little gold clumps all over the tree. If the lights were off and you squinted your eyes a little bit? Very pretty 🙂 < Big dork.

  • 289. cpsobsessed  |  June 17, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Okay, I don’t think anyone can beat this guy though – story on Yahoo this week about a college student who lived in his van so he could graduate without debt. Yikes.

    You make a good point about the charters. By nature, you sort of need a population who is unhappy with their current school to make the move and fill it locally. And Lincoln parents aren’t unhappy unless the school gets insanely crowded….
    I guess if a school had a specialty, like this Orange School that’s opening somewhere, with an arts integration focus. That could possibly appeal to some parents, but by nature, I don’t think the a charter would have all the perks of a big school like Lincoln (gym, music, after school programs, sports, etc.) So it could be a tough sell…

  • 290. JMOChicago  |  June 17, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    He beats me hands down. Have never, ever lived in a van. I’ve had to walk through my closet to get to my bathroom, but no van!

  • 291. LSmom  |  June 17, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    On how evenly the budget cuts are being distributed, a WBEZ story (can’t remember which one) made it sound like selective/magnet schools were being spared. It does seem unjust, but have any reported serious cuts?

  • 292. Gobemouche  |  June 17, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    Going back to the specific cuts – the $ numbers posted for some schools would be more helpful if we also included total number of students (and if possible last years total budget $).

    As for SEES, I can tell you without a doubt that they’ve lost money and positions will be cut.

  • 293. Chris  |  June 17, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    “a WBEZ story … made it sound like selective/magnet schools were being spared”

    “As for SEES, I can tell you without a doubt that they’ve lost money and positions will be cut.”

    How angry I get about all this depends heavily on which of these is closer to the truth.

    I will note that the ‘typical’ cut seems to be around $750k, and with 600 (plus, including charter) schools, that’s about half of the reported ‘deficit’ right there.

  • 294. LSmom  |  June 17, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    It was on Morning Shift — can’t seem to link to it, but it turns out they just said that magnets/SEES would be getting extra money, not that they wouldn’t experience cuts. Sorry about that!

  • 295. Gobemouche  |  June 17, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    Of course, SEES, Magnets, STEM programs, IB, etc will continue to get some money for those programs as they always have. But it is less than in the past, for sure. Like a very small bucket on top of the same per pupil model as everyone else.

    See, it’s this saying that the “average” cut is 750k without saying how many students are in that size building that is throwing me off. For example, we need to note that If school A “only” looses 100k its because its small and has 300 students, whereas school B that lost 750k has 1200 students. (These are not real numbers, just a hypothetical example).

  • 296. Chris  |  June 17, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    “See, it’s this saying that the “average” cut is 750k without saying how many students are in that size building that is throwing me off.”

    I used ‘typical’ advisedly. Of the most oft-reported numbers, seems pretty ‘typical’, but certainly not the mean or the median system wide.

    That said, from the RYH flyer, it would seem that the *smaller* schools are going to get much larger per pupil cuts, to the degree than a 275 student school (that would have received $6,969/kid this year) might well see as large an aggregate reduction as a 750 school (which would have been at $5,077).

  • 297. Chris  |  June 17, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    ps: I realize that that was funding levels for a pilot program, and not across the board funding. So those numbers will not be representative of the exact amounts of cuts going on at each school.

  • 298. WesLooMom  |  June 17, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    It will be difficult for some working parents to support voices in opposition to CPS insanity if the discussion centers on COLA, raises, and the like. Some working parents have received no increase or a very small increase over the last few years, have hit their employer’s salary cap, would love to earn the salary that some CPS employees earn, etc. I don’t disagree with many of the comments on this page, but we need to remember that we are a very diverse population.

  • 299. Chris  |  June 18, 2013 at 10:39 am

    “It will be difficult for some working parents to support voices in opposition to CPS insanity if the discussion centers on COLA, raises, and the like.”

    I *really* think that that was a big piece of Rahm’s intent. And that’s from someone who generally (but far from unanimously) supports what the Mayor is doing. He wanted to put some wedge bt CTU and ‘typical’ Chicago parents, and bt CTU and some of its membership. So far, it seems to have worked.

  • 300. Jeanne Marie Olson (@JMOChicago)  |  June 18, 2013 at 11:47 am

    @298, WestLooMom, I don’t believe that you can peg teacher salaries to parents’ perceptions of their own earning opportunities. If so, teacher salaries would have soared during the 1997-2000 Dot Com run up, where new college grads in Chicago’s dot com world were making up to $60-75K** a year (**adj for inflation) right out of undergrad with no experience (not just programmers, this was for a variety of titles, some of which were very menial roles with inflated titles for importance.) Back then, those new grads were feeling pretty pleased that they hadn’t chosen careers in education.

    Now the average median salary in the US has fallen quite a bit, so the teaching profession is looking better to many people by comparison.

    That said, are teachers paid too much? Everyone will have a different answer to that, based upon what they think a teacher does all day; how many real hours that they think they work; how much they value classroom teaching talent (versus bodies to fill roles); etc. A good indicator of how we value teachers comparatively to other professions is to take a look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics wage estimates for a variety of occupational roles. If you are one of the folks who believe that teachers work only 40 hours a week for 44-46 weeks a year, you can adjust the average CPS teacher’s annual salary for that. Now it will come down to this: Do you believe a teacher with a graduate degree should be making as much as a carpet installer ($41K), probation officer (~$52K), respiratory therapist (~$57K), claims adjuster (~$61K), nurse midwife ($91K), or a training & development manager (~$103K)?

    Whether a SPECIFIC teacher you know is earning their specific salary? That is totally related to how teachers are hired, managed and fired, but not necessarily related to how much they are paid.

  • 301. cpsobsessed  |  June 18, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Those are all great points, Jean. Carpet installer actually sounds fairly pleasant given you can clock out at the end of the day…

    I think a key point in assessing CPS teacher compensation is whether the pension comes through or not. The CPS teacher salary isn’t super-high, but when you combine it with a generous lifelong pension, good health benefits, and summers off, it looks really good (to me.) However when you wipe out that pension and leave people who planned on that money NOT getting the money when they retire… then it looks much less attractive. And that is potentially the wild card right now.

  • 302. cpsobsessed  |  June 18, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    Just a reminder if you’re interested in hearing BBB speak tonight – discount available. If this event if like the last one, the CTU will likely be there in the audience so there should be some interesting questions posed….

    ***!!!Discounted ticket pricing to select groups for $10 a ticket with code TEACH. !!!***

    With Chicago public school policy making national headlines, the conversation continues at the next Chicago Forward: Pass or Fail, June 18 at 6 p.m.
    Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett joins Chicago Tribune editorial page editor Bruce Dold in a discussion about the performance and the promise of Chicago schools. Is CPS ready to handle the closing of dozens of schools? What’s on tap for the next round of reform? The conversation will include time for audience questions. Location: Chase Auditorium, 10 S. Dearborn.
    More information and tickets can be found at:

  • 303. falconergrad  |  June 18, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Not sure if anyone posted this as I can’t keep up with the comments. Funding will supposedly be adjusted with enrollment figures from the 10th day of school, the 20th day of school and an unspecified day in October. Source: principal at LSC meeting, reported to me by my spouse. So room for error there. 🙂 Anyone hear same or otherwise?

  • 304. frustrated cps parent  |  June 18, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    @303 falconergrad, I heard the same dates at my LSC mtg. We were told the “unspecified date” is to try to prevent some schools from gaming the system by not “releasing” transfering students from their roster until the count is taken. Ugh! I hate that our underfunded system motivates education professionals to feel they have to lie & cheat!

  • 305. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 18, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    300. Jeanne Marie Olson (@JMOChicago) | June 18, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Jeanne~you always sum up and articulate everything so even some1 like me can understand! Thanks!

    303. falconergrad | June 18, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    I had heard only 10th day~hopefully the principal is correct! Wud love more info on this.

  • 306. anonymouse teacher  |  June 18, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    @303, yes, 10th day, then again at the 20th day and an unspecified day in there somewhere (due to transfers). Our school will be in a bind as we are never at full capacity until mid to late September when all our kids come back from their home countries. What is very likely? On day ten, we’ll cut positions, kids will be all shifted around to different classrooms and different teachers, and then by about day 30, all the rooms will be way overcrowded. That’ll be real fun in kindergarten when just about the time the 2-3 criers have settled down, now they have to go to a different teacher and classroom. Our numbers aren’t static until later. Whatever. I’m not going to worry about it. I’ll just plan on having to reteach everything I taught the first few weeks and I am not going to do anything important until later. If my class roster is going to change a lot, there’s no point. I won’t make folders, cubbies, mailboxes or teach anything significant. This kind of thing happened to me one year (that year we added a teacher instead of cut one, but it still meant having to totally change the classrooms around–partly based on language of origin too, I was never sure why that wasn’t figured into things from the beginning.) It put the whole school in chaos. Teachers had to move entire rooms, sped teachers lost their classrooms entirely, etc.

  • 307. WesLooMom  |  June 18, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    @300, JMO… You apparently missed the part of my comment that I don’t disagree with many of the comments on this page.

    You may have only a few minutes to convince a parent to pay attention to you. For some parents, a multi paragraph response discussing teacher salaries will not work.

  • 308. local  |  June 18, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    “Chicago Tribune editorial page editor Bruce Dold in a discussion” with BBB. How did Bruce do?

  • 309. JMOChicago  |  June 18, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    @WestLooMom, yes, being concise is not a strength of mine. 🙂 Just engaging in discussion, no convincing intended.

  • 310. IB obsessed  |  June 19, 2013 at 7:26 am

    @291 I attended the LSC of a magnet school a few nights ago. They are estimating $500k in cuts. They have lost an advanced science class position, ELL positions, and tutoring used for the RTI process, and all schools now must pay out of their budget for substitutes they use over a certain number per year. And this year teachers have an incentive to use their sick days because under the current contract they can no longer bank them for a check when they leave. If the teachers use all the sick days to which they are entitled, it will be very expensive. So do they include a line item in the budget for all the sick days that could possibly be used or gamble? Just one issue among many. The school used to get revenue from a cell tower they have. This year central office is demanding 2/3 of that revenue. The principal wants to use what money they have to keep tutoring and literacy programs that help ELLs and lower achieving students in the primary grades, which I think is a wise plan. However, this does not benefit my child. I picked a great year to return to CPS. Not. Anyway, magnet schools and SE schools have not been spared. The only funding advantage I am aware of that this magnet has is 1/2 language position, a librarian position, and 1/2 an art position.

  • 311. HS Mom  |  June 19, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Interesting article about BBB’s presentation. Overall tone on her part was upbeat.,0,5611968.story

    “Lewis did not directly criticize Mayor Rahm Emanuel but went after his kitchen Cabinet of educational advisers as wealthy “elites” from the venture capital and corporate world and questioned the presumptuousness of “rich white people.”

    “When will we address the effect that rich white people think they know what’s in the best interest of children of African-Americans and Latinos, no matter what the parents’ income or education level?” she asked.”

    his kitchen cabinet?

  • 312. NBCT Vet  |  June 19, 2013 at 11:54 am

    Kelly High School is losing 23 teachers out of 185 and 10 non-teaching staff out of 46.

    Our neighborhood school has lost $4 million from last year’s $25 million budget. Of that $4 million loss, $2.8 million is a strict budget cut. The other $1.2 million disappears based on slightly lower enrollment projections resulting from the privatization of public schools. (* see below)

    Compared to last year’s budget here is a brief breakdown of cuts determined by our very supportive local administration. Admin has budgeted every possible dollar to teaching positions.

    50% reduction in spending on textbooks.
    (70% less on textbooks compared to two years ago.)
    50% reduction in spending on general supplies.
    66% less for postage.
    70% less for transportation.
    87% less for equipment.

    50% or more is cut in every area where it is even remotely possible.
    Even with this type of bare bones budget we are losing 23 teachers out of 185 and 10 non-teaching staff out of 46.

    We are receiving no additional funding for teachers in our extensive bilingual program or our very large International Baccalaureate program.

    Our school has perhaps the highest teacher retention rate of any in the city. As a result we have a strong, experienced, veteran staff. CPS has allotted an additional $1 million this year to help deal with such an experienced group of educators. Even so, budget cuts still amount to $2.8 million.

    * The UNO Soccer Academy will pull students from us despite the fact that our soccer team won the city championship and UNO does not offer AP, IB, or many other top level or elective courses.

    Interestingly, our sophomore class is consistently larger than our freshmen class. We enroll a large number of sophomore students who have been pushed out of charter schools because they cannot hack it. We gladly accept them.

  • 313. CPS Parent  |  June 19, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    312. NBCT Vet – In the past Clark Street has low-balled the enrollments at many schools in order to make the numbers “work”.

    Your school’s budget as it stands now, is based on how many enrolled students and how many are currently enrolled and how many do you expect next year? How many will UNO Soccer pull away?

  • 314. JMOChicago  |  June 19, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    NBCT Vet, I’m having trouble finding a “UNO Soccer Academy” on the CPS website. I’ve found this:

    …as the only UNO High School listed in the CPS data.

    The school listed at the Soccer Academy address (with the Soccer Academy director) is a K-8 school, with no HS grades listed in the overview.

    Has CPS not updated their page?

  • 315. realchicagomama  |  June 19, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Nothing new to add; forgot to subscribe.

  • 316. JMOChicago  |  June 19, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Is this the UNO Soccer Academy Building at 5050 S Homan?

  • 317. cpsobsessed  |  June 19, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Now I’m curious about that soccer school too. Look at the title of the article in #316 “shiny charter school.” Their test scores for elem look pretty good, but then again, so do Bateman’s who serves a very high Hispanic population and didn’t need a 24$million dollar building to do it in.

    @NBCT Vet: I’m so sorry about your school’s cuts. That’s very depressing. Do you have any information on how the charter pushes kids out? I’m never really sure how that happens…

  • 318. NBCT Vet  |  June 19, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    316 JMO, yes, that’s the one. CPS has not updated their website.

    313 CPS Parent, the Board has actually been pretty close on their enrollment projections for Kelly High School over the last 10 years or so. We don’t know how many freshmen we will lose to the soccer academy, but CPS predicts our enrollment will drop by about 250 students.

    The reduction is not only a function of the “soccer academy”. UNO elementary schools have expanded in our neighborhood and upon completing 8th grade those students almost never enroll at our school – UNO basically tells them to go anywhere but Kelly. UNO won’t even allow our teachers and counselors to visit their elementary schools to inform staff, students, and families about all the wonderful things happening at Kelly High. Not surprising, I guess. We offer so many more opportunities for high school age students it doesn’t make sense to allow your competition to broadcast that directly to your own captive audience.

  • 319. NBCT Vet  |  June 19, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    316 JMO, the UNO Soccer Academy is at 51st and St. Louis. This is the school for which UNO temporarily lost funding after diverting $8.5 million of state money to family members of UNO executives. I believe the state has restored funding for the project.

  • 320. Portage Mom  |  June 19, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    @318 NBCT Vet – UNO should not have the ability to not allow Kelly teachers and counselors to visit their elementary schools given they are using public money. Students and parents should be made aware of all their options.

  • 321. AE  |  June 20, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Has anyone contacted their alderman, or State reps re: the budget cuts? I’ve heard that several schools are encouraging parents to write letters, etc. Wondering to whom parent letters/complaints would be best directed??

  • 322. Peter  |  June 20, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Any word on budgets at Peirce, Waters, Coonley, Chappel and Ravenswood? I haven’t read anything about these?

  • 323. WesLooMom  |  June 20, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    When a school has a SEES program and a neighborhood program, does the school have two budgets? Line items for each program? I wonder if both programs will feel the budget cuts equally. I’m guessing not.

  • 324. local  |  June 20, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    Anyone know why the LSC of Sutherland ES let Principal Gannon go?

  • 326. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 20, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    324. local | June 20, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    Principal Gannon was NOT relieved as principal of Sutherland. Plz get your facts str8 b4 you make statements like that.

  • 327. local  |  June 20, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    That’s what I heard. What’s the real story? That’s why I’m asking. Please share the facts.

  • 328. IB obsessed  |  June 20, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    @321 IL Raise your hand, a grassroots parent group has a campaign protesting the cuts directed at Alderman. They would welcome your help

  • 330. local  |  June 21, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Update on Sutherland. Apparently, just a sub-group on the LSC is advocating termination of Gannon. Still don’t know why. And, all is hear-say.

  • 332. Larry  |  June 21, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    This is a letter that was sent to Northside College Prep. It is a shame that they are decreasing funding to Selective Enrollment schools. We have 5 in the top 7 schools in the state but when you start to dilute the Number 1 school in Illinois, number 2 in the Midwest and Number 25 in the US families will go elsewhere and colleges will start to look elsewhere also. The 2013 class going to college is extremely impressive but don’t know what this will look like 4 years from now. Below is the letter and where to send letters to congressman etc. :

    Update on Recent Budget Cuts and Ways You Can Help


    On Tuesday, June 18th, the Northside College Prep Local School Council (LSC) held our last official meeting of the academic year 2013. One of the major topics on our agenda was review and approval of the budget for the next school year. As many of you may have heard, schools throughout CPS were hit hard by budget cuts, and Northside was no exception.

    The budget given to Mr. Rodgers by CPS for next year had a deficit of almost three-quarters of a million dollars over this and previous school years. This budget was decided by a per-pupil funding formula, different from how all schools had been funded in the past. The ramifications of the underfunding that resulted meant that the administration and the LSC were faced with heart-wrenching choices. We either had to make the cuts and pass a balanced budget or allow CPS to balance our budget and make the cuts for us.

    Ultimately, the LSC opted to exercise control over what would be cut, which could not be guaranteed if the downtown office made those cuts for us. Sadly, out of necessity, we identified eleven faculty and staff positions at Northside to reduce, each of whom in no small way contributed to our national stature and the academic success of our students. The knowledge that valued members of the Northside community stand to lose their jobs made it an emotional meeting. The administration and members of the LSC struggled with this decision and will be working hard on trying to find ways to restore the positions we’ve lost.

    The budget cuts will have a direct effect on many highly valued programs and services at Northside, such as counseling, the SUCCESS and Global Initiatives programs, physical education, world languages, student scholarship support, administrative operations, library services, computer and technology services, and freshmen recruiting. The cuts are deep, and we all need to work hard to try and come up with ways to secure the funding to get these positions back into our budget for next year.

    We need your support in this critical initiative to ensure the continued high quality education that has distinguished Northside as the number one public high school in the state, year after year.

    Members of the Northside community – parents, students, alumni, faculty and staff – please play an active role in our fight against budget cuts that are a devastating blow to our schools. Our voices need to be heard, and when we band together, our voices are loud.

    Here is how you can help:

    1) Attend the Raise Your Hand rally on Friday, June 21 (tomorrow), at 10AM, at the Thompson Center (Randolph and Clark). For more information go to the Raise Your Hand website.

    2) Contact your elected officials, who, coincidentally, will be up for reelection soon. Ask for immediate relief to this shortfall and a long-term funding solution. Advocate for the return of TIF surplus funds. Click here for a SAMPLE LETTER along with contact information for state officials.

    3) Communicate our needs to Mayer Rahm Emanuel via his Twitter account @RahmEmanuel. Send copies of your letters to him as well.

    4) Attend the CPS Board meeting on June 26th as a concerned parent to request adequate funding for our school. Selective enrollment school LSCs are banding together and have a designated time slot to speak briefly.
    Time is running out to get out this important message. Once the CPS budget is enacted next week, it will be much harder to turn back. Our children’s future and the continued success of Chicago’s premier high schools are depending on us.

    Members of the Local School Council:

  • 333. new Alcott mom  |  June 21, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    @332—Larry, could you please post the “SAMPLE LETTER and contact information for state officials” referenced in the body of that letter? Thanks!

  • 334. LUV2europe  |  June 21, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    332 freshman recruiting? can you explain what this is?

  • 335. HS Mom  |  June 21, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    @334 – some SE and other schools have a position for a recruiter. They attend HS school fairs, orchestrate and run open houses and tours, tend to any matters that involve the HS communicating with the public and other schools, represent the school for any purpose, market the school including print materials – and other needs. Our school has done without for the past couple of years which means that someone else needs to pick up the necessities. This is usually principal, AP, friends of, teachers, parents. It’s a big job. It could be greatly streamlined by schools combining fairs, having area HS fairs that include private and public schools. The list of HS fairs is huge. Also, limiting tours to one or 2 open houses. My guess is that any brochure type print materials will be out with budgets especially as people rely more on the internet.

  • 336. Larry  |  June 21, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    New Alcott Mom,

    Thanks for letting me know, I thought the links copied correctly. Here is the letter with link to know where to send:

    Visit the Project Vote Smart website to find contact information for your state representative and state senator: Time permitting, please phone or send a letter by USPS or e-mail to Governor Patrick Quinn, President of the Senate John J. Cullerton, and Speaker of the House Michael Madigan. You’ll also find their phone numbers and addresses at the Vote Smart website. Thank you for your advocacy on behalf of our students!

    June 20, 2013

    The Honorable __________________________________

    Illinois General Assembly

    Springfield, IL 62706

    Dear Representative/Senator ______________________,

    As the parent of a student at Northside College Prep, the top performing public high school in the State of Illinois, I am writing to request that a special session of the General Assembly be held to address the statewide budget shortfall that has, in part, compelled CPS to slash its budget citywide. I ask that the General Assembly increase funding for education throughout the state, cognizant that inadequate investment jeopardizes each school’s academic mandate and each student’s competitive readiness. You can make a real difference in the future success of my child, and on behalf of Illinois’ future leaders.

    Northside College Prep has not enjoyed a budget increase since 1999, when our doors opened. In fact, yesterday, following a 10 percent budget cut of three quarters of a million dollars by CPS, Northside College Prep Principal Barry Rodgers had no choice but to let go of 11 faculty and staff members, each of whom in no small way contributed to our national stature and the academic success of our students. Last year our budget was substantially diminished, rendering this year’s reduction unconscionable. While we appreciate that a CPS budget deficit exists, we can’t continue to balance budgets on the backs of our children. This strategy jeopardizes the success of some of the most effective and highly lauded educational institutions in our state.

    We ask that you commit your energies to solve CPS’s current budget crisis and to seek a long-term solution to educational funding. At stake is the wellbeing of our children and the economic health of this great state.


    (Your Name) _________________________

    Parent at Northside Preparatory High School

    5501 North Kedzie

    Chicago, IL 60625

  • 337. anonymous  |  June 21, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Great read by one of the smartest reporters around, Chris Hedges, entitled, “Why the US is destroying her education system.”

  • 338. Just a Neighborhood School Teacher  |  June 21, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    Northside College Prep only lost 10% of funding? That’s the smallest percentage of budget cut I’ve seen so far. I wish all parents were as responsive and forceful in advocacy as Northside parents. Well done!

    I can only hope that Rahm has finally gone too far by pissing off white parents, wealthy parents, and other parents who are heavily invested in the education of their children.

  • 339. Larry  |  June 21, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    Just a Neighborhood School Teacher,

    If parents are not invested in their kids education then who will be?

    Funny thing is my kids went to a private school with Rahm’s kids prior to them going to Washington. Yes, I am pissed. The Selective Enrollment schools are at the top of the state’s list in education for a reason.

    You have other schools such as Jones, starting to model’s Northside’s education model since it works. This school should be held as a model school to base some other less achieving schools after. Have principal conference’s and see why and what they are doing and why it is working for all our schools.

    I don’t want to have an elitist attitude, but something is wrong when cuts are made for the sake of making cuts.

    FYI- I sent the letter to local politician’s and Lisa Madigan since she lives in the area and has kids, Arne Duncan-slnce he is the education czar and from Hyde Park and yes the governor and Obama and yes Rahm.

    Rahm’s kids are going to Lab School for security reason’s but could of figured out a way to send them to a CPS school also.

    Ok enough venting……

  • 340. larry  |  June 21, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    OK, more venting but I think you will see my point.

    After reading some remarks about charter schools etc consider this. I live in Lakeview. All the schools when we moved here (1992) were horrible and by the time my kids where school age around 2002 or so is just when Blaine Elementary was starting to get tax dollars from the Southport business and a few years later really came into it’s own. Their current graduation class of 8th graders have lot’s of kids getting into the best schools since parents, community came together. I am jealous since it truly became a very fine neighborhood school. If it was around when my kids where of age (just a few years to early to really consider it), they would of never of gone private.

    Look what is happening at Hamilton School in Lakeview also. This school was on the “watch list” and now with a new principal, is flourishing and becoming a really good school. Again with parent and community support.

    Look especially at Lakeview High. In the last few years , with both parent and community support and yes more funding, it “was” becoming a neighborhood school again and started to attract top students. So why would you consider cutting funding to schools that are turning around and making positive improvement?

    Look at Jones, just like 7 years ago you would not want to send your child there. Dr. Powers comes in and in a few years it is one of the best schools and has a great “buzz” about it. Jones has become the “it” school. Ask any kid or parents of kids going there. They love it. Dr Powers told me personally years ago on a tour of the school that you follow success (or something like that) and one reason they are looking at Northside IMP math and other programs.

    The state has to run these schools like a business. The stories above are in every area of the city not just the northside. There are stories like these on the South, West, East side also.

    If you have a successful business model and you want to expand that you just copy what is successful. Look at McDonald’s. Even though most of the stores look the same each one has it’s own personality to match it’s environment. That is what the schools in Chicago have to do.

    I am not opposed to the school closings and it is horrible what others are going through but if it makes for stronger schools and better educated students then that is great. My kids school went from 8:00-3:30 every day for elementary to Middle school , so I never understood the getting out at 1:30 or so school day.

    Fund successful schools, period.

  • 341. JMOChicago  |  June 21, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    Larry, I can’t disagree with you about funding schools. In fact, I’m going to do you one better. I’ll declare that the reasons that these schools are doing better than other schools on south or west sides is that they are, in fact, better funded AND/OR they restrict who gets to access them.

    Nettlelhorst didn’t improve because just any parents got involved. Nettelhorst improved because parents who could get money (grants, in-kind donations, partnerships, etc.) got involved. Knowing how to find/apply for/manage grants is specialized knowledge. Having the time and experience writing/managing grants is specialized knowledge. Let’s be frank here. I can get my child’s school special donations and partnerships because I know people…through my career, my own schooling, through my network.

    Not everyone has those contacts, those skills, that experience.

    All of the schools you mentioned have more than one of the following variables working to their advantage: stable neighborhood; involvement of well-connected/confident/highly-educated parents; influx of donations/grants/OFK funds; very strong principal; the ability to restrict who gets admitted in some way (through testing, through location, through lottery, through other barriers to access such as fees/fines/etc.)

    Northside is Northside because they accept the students who already excel on tests and give them even more resources. I’m not taking anything away from those kids or that school…it’s just not the school itself has kids who start on 3rd base and slide easily into home plate. Okay, great! That’s fine. Give me a school who gets kids still in the dugout and brings them to 3rd base. That is the school I want to see.

    I believe that if you apply many of the same variables to any other school, you will begin to see improvement. I would hope that it would be the type of improvement which means any child could enter and leave much better than when they arrived. However, in many of our CPS success stories, the original low income kids are replaced by higher income kids and the same ratio of low income kids is no longer bused in.

    If it takes the cries of Northside, Whitney Young or Blaine parents to get the attention of the Board of Ed, okay, whatever works. It’s a bit insulting to the VERY involved, highly motivated/engaged low-income parents at our neighborhood school that they are not acknowledged in the same way, but if we all get to the same goal…creating a common definition of what should be funded in all schools versus cut? Well, then bring it on.

  • 342. Larry  |  June 22, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    JMO Chicago,

    I agree with what you are saying. You know a lot more about this then I do. I just know what I see around me in my neighborhood.

    I hope what I said was not insulting but rather that we “ALL” together with one loud voice need to let the higher ups know what “good” is going on in the schools. All you hear about is the “bad”, especially in the media.

    This is why I posted the letter above. You can copy and adjust with your schools name on it and tweak it to fit your schools profile and then send it out to your alderman, the mayor etc.

    All the best,


  • 343. EdgewaterMom  |  June 22, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    I have a question about counting the students on the 10th and 20th days. Are they counting the kids who are still enrolled, or the kids who are actually in school that day? In other words, if my child happens to be sick on the 10th day of school, will her school lose $4,000? I sure hope not!

  • 344. realchicagomama  |  June 22, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    Yes – it’s 10th of student attendance, not enrollment. That is why student attendance is so important generally within CPS.

  • 345. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  June 22, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    @231 Thanks for posting that sample document; it is what schools should do. For those of you that missed it:

    If people have similar info please email it to me at: info @ skepticismiscertain .org

    Our school, Mayer, received some cuts but we mostly took it on our non-personnel operational budget, turned RtI tutoring in-house, and had increased enrollment y-o-y, so we came out OK, but we needed parent money to close the gap.

  • 346. cpsobsessed  |  June 22, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Coonley also did not suffer big cuts as the schools is growing a lot and I assume some $ is safe as part of the RGC.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 347. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  June 22, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    My kids school went from 8:00-3:30 every day for elementary to Middle school

    My private grammar school had 6:50-day, but we also had :35 for lunch and daily PE was over an hour because we changed, and then showered and changed afterwards. We had art, music (non-instrument), instrumental music, and library each week to break up the day as well. So our regular classroom day was more like 5:10. CPS only allots 1 hour of non-instructional time under the 7-hour day, and not all CPS schools have art or music. Some must choose between a PE teacher or a librarian.

  • 348. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  June 22, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    @323 Yes, SEES and magnets have the regular per-pupil line that all neighborhood schools have and then get separate lines for their specialized programs.

    Nevertheless, some did worse on per-pupil funding depending on the seniority of their teachers. If school A had 10 teaches at $55k and school B had 10 teachers at $69k school, the school B would have to cut more positions than school A would if they had an equal number of students. However, if a teacher’s salary exceeded the average district salary, CPS will supposedly make-up the difference between the average salary and the teachers — I have been told this; I have not seen it in writing by CPS.

  • 349. edgewatermom  |  June 22, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    @344 So what happens to that $4,000 (or whatever the exact amount is) – it goes back to CPS? That seems so crazy! Does it make any difference if your child has a medical condition (that is documented in an IEP)?

  • 350. cpsemployee  |  June 22, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    @349 – it’s the enrollment on the 10th day of school, not attendance. Attendance counts for funding throughout the school year but budget is based on enrollment. If a school’s current budget is based on the assumption of 800 students enrolled but on the 10th day, only 780 are enrolled then the budget will decrease. If 820 are enrolled the budget will increase.

    Enrollment will be revisited some time in October and again in November. Dates/days have not been specified.

  • 351. edgewatermom  |  June 22, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    @350 Thank you for clearing that up! I was ready to get out the calendar to calculate the 10th day and make sure that my kid was there even if she was sick (which obviously might not even be possible). At least that makes a bit more sense!

  • 352. NBCT Vet  |  June 23, 2013 at 12:30 am

    348 Christopher Ball,

    My school has a highly veteran staff. I think we have the highest teacher retention rate of any high school in the city, magnets included. When teachers get to our building they stay. They leave for one of three reasons, a) retirement, b) a professional shift to administration, or c) relocation out of state. That’s about it.

    We received an additional $1 million dollars in our budget for next year because we have a strong, veteran staff, but we have been told that is a one time allotment only. Still, we have lost $3 million from our budget. It could have been much worse and next year it will be.

    In our current budget cuts we have teachers with 15+ years of experience that have been laid off. Few of them can hope to catch on at another school under current, and presumably continuing, budget constraints, especially given the shift to per pupil funding. Student based budgeting (SBB) – what CPS calls it – provides a powerful disincentive to keep or hire veteran staff.

    Hire a veteran educator with a master’s degree at $85,000/year plus family insurance contributions or hire two first year teachers at $48,000 each plus benefits? The costs are comparable. Adding an extra teacher and class to the building makes it an obvious choice.

    Our administration does an outstanding job hiring and, just as importantly, retaining excellent educators. I do not see that trend continuing under the new system. Veteran teachers, no matter how good they are, just take too much money away from all the other necessary components of a well functioning, non-selective, neighborhood school.

  • 353. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  June 23, 2013 at 8:12 am

    @352. NBCT Vet: “It could have been much worse and next year it will be.”

    We heard the same thing at our school. It will be worse next year, and CPS will be turning its attention to the magnet & SEES programs beyond what they have already done this year.

  • 354. IB obsessed  |  June 23, 2013 at 8:14 am

    Well, I was among those that defended Rahm choosing Lab for his own kids. I saw it as irrelevant at the time. It is certainly easy to believe now that since he knew his plan to gut the schools, he would not want his own children to suffer the deprivation and experience the turbulence. Way to go Rahm.

  • 355. IB obsessed  |  June 23, 2013 at 8:29 am

    .ELL positions funded by downtown have been cut from schools all across the city. Very smart; cut services for children whose parents are least likely to yell about it. They’re too busy working 3 minimum wage jobs with no benefits. And just happy their kids are at a school in the great US of A where everyone is educated and you can make a great life if you just. work hard enough. Riiiiiiight?

    Unhappy with what has been cut at your school?The PR machine at CPS can say that it was the principal’s choice, talk to them. Brilliant.

  • 356. Window  |  June 23, 2013 at 8:54 am

    Has Rahm even commented on any of this? Is he still out of town?

  • 357. Iheoma  |  June 23, 2013 at 11:32 am

    subscribing here in order to unsubscribe from the reader post.

  • 358. local  |  June 23, 2013 at 11:34 am

    “Veteran teachers, no matter how good they are, just take too much money away from all the other necessary components of a well functioning, non-selective, neighborhood school.”

    Realistically, what are these experienced teachers going to do in this shrinking CPS system where no principal can “afford” to hire them? What is their list of income/career options???

  • 359. Iheoma  |  June 23, 2013 at 11:35 am


  • 360. Chicago Kelly  |  June 23, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    The money has run out. Illinois has at least $100B in unfunded pension liabilities. State taxes were raised 67% a couple of years ago and the state still can’t control spending to even cover current expenses. The politicians paid off unions with taxpayer $ in exchange for votes.

    1) Layoffs
    2) Paycuts
    3) Benefit Cuts
    4) Eventual bankruptcy (see Detroit)

    If none of those sound appealing, the only option we have any control over is to move out of state. My family is close to that point now. Hopefully we can hold out here a few more years. However, if there are additional tax increases or if crime continues to increase in Chicago, we will have to accelerate our plans (at a bigger financial hit in the short term).

  • 361. Chicago Mama  |  June 23, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    The personal income tax in IL is 5%, a one-time increase that will sunset in 2015, decreasing to 3.75% and then later to 3.5%. From 1990-2011, the income tax rate in IL was 3%, not nearly enough for the state to pay its bills. It started underfunding the pensions in the mid-1990s rather than raise income taxes.

    The state is really not spending that much – the debt load they have to pay is HUGE, which means most of that tax increase in 2011 went to pay debt service, not fund schools and other health and human services (like police!).

    If you move out of state, you are going to have to choose your next state carefully to avoid higher taxes – all of the Midwestern states except IN and MI have graduated income tax rates.

  • 362. North Center Mom  |  June 23, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    @361 So true. I just looked up Wisconsin’s graduated tax rates for this year.
    For earnings between $20,360.00 and $152,740, you’ll pay 6.50% plus $1,094.35
    But in Wisconsin you also get something for your educational dollar. They have the highest percentage of teachers with master’s degrees of any state.

  • 363. Alcott cuts  |  June 24, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Alcott lost $750,000 in funding. Principal is weighing what to cut. While parents are still making decisions on 2013-14 I think it is important to share funding cut information. Please chime in with cut information.

  • 364. Murphy cuts  |  June 24, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Murphy is going from a 5.2 mil budget last year to a 4.4 mil this year

  • 365. Alcott cuts  |  June 24, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    From the Chicago Public Fools blog:
    Alcott lost $700,000
    Audubon lost $400,000
    Beasley lost $550,000
    Belding lost $400,000
    Bell lost $750,000
    Blaine lost $665,000
    Burley lost $569,000
    Burr lost $365,000
    Darwin lost $723,000
    Gale lost $500,000
    Goethe lost $275,000
    Grimes-Fleming lost $486,000 and 3 or 4 positions
    Jamieson lost $200,000
    Kozminski lost $250,000
    Mitchell lost $788,000
    Murphy lost $700,000
    Portage Park lost $900,000
    Pritzker lost $186,000
    Ray lost $400,000
    Sauganash lost $375,000
    Sheridan Magnet lost $516,000
    Suder lost $750,000
    Sutherland lost $253,000

  • 366. mom up north  |  June 24, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    Raise your Hand IL has a sheet and they say that we lost about $77 million based on info from 100 schools. I will try to find the link.

  • 367. mom up north  |  June 24, 2013 at 2:42 pm


  • 368. Alcott cuts  |  June 24, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Very helpful, thank you Mom Up North. Anyone – how did some schools get spared?

  • 369. edgewatermom  |  June 24, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Some of the differences could be from teacher salaries. If a school has retained many experienced teachers with advanced degrees, the schools are now responsible for those salaries (instead of being allotted a set number of positions, which were funded by CPS) and will be taking a bigger hit than a school that has many new teachers with smaller salaries. I am not sure what other factors go into the differences though.

  • 370. LUV2europe  |  June 24, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    what is the link for chicago public fools? i would really like to read it.

  • 371. Alcott cuts  |  June 24, 2013 at 3:08 pm

  • 372. MayfairMama  |  June 24, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    FYI – Beaubien will be losing about 700k, but the principal has assured parents that no homerooms or specials will be cut. The money will come from materials/supplies. Also for anyone entering K, there will be 3 full day K classes instead of the 4 half day they had in the past.

  • 373. cpsobsessed  |  June 24, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    So if my math is right, say
    500 schools lost an average of $500,000 each.
    That is $250,000,000.
    $250 million, correct?

  • 374. cpsobsessed  |  June 24, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    @368: regarding why some schools were spared, if I look at Bell and Coonley (both RGC+neighborhood) and Bell lost $750 and I understand Coonley had minimal loss. Coonley has Sped, Bell has deaf program. So much is equal.
    However Coonley is growing while Bell has been fairly static in size (full for a long time) and Coonley, since it’s grown a LOT in the past 5 years has a lot of young, new teachers who were hired in recently. I would imagine that Bell has a lot of experienced teachers on staff whose salaries now have to be accounted for. *If* the reports are correct that this is now an expense that is covered at the school level (whereas it used to be covered by the “board money” that each school got) that could explain the difference, as some readers here have hypothesized.

  • 375. Chicago Kelly  |  June 24, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    That 67% income tax increase from 3% to 5% will never go down. The politicians called it temp, they will make it permanent. Raising taxes even higher will hurt employment and population even more in this state. And you just can’t look at state imcome tax, you have to look at total tax burden (e.g. income, property, sales). Illinois ranks #9 out of the 50 states in total tax burden (with #1 highest burden). Most of the other Top 10 are in the Northeast (plus Calif & Minn).

    It’s not that taxes were never high enough, it was spending was always too high. The answer is not to leave the high spending with annual increases (at rates much greater than inflation) the answer is to cut the spending and get business and jobs to come back to Illinois. Wisconsin went from a budget deficit to a surplus in the last few years, the same with Michigan. Yet here we sit in Illinois getting worse by the year.

    Detroit could tax their residents at 100% and they would still never pay off debt and cover annual costs. We elected these clowns into office so it is our own fault. If parents don’t like a schools cuts they are free to donate funds to the school or change schools or vote for a candidate who understands fiscal responsibility (or move like many have before). Making promises they can’t keep are the politicians we have now. Their friends get rich, the rest get left with the tab. The money is gone. Cutting millions is a drop in the bucket; this state needs to cut billions. Illinois is over $100,000,000,000 in the hole.

  • 376. NBCT Vet  |  June 24, 2013 at 3:37 pm


    Principals receive budgetary numbers and then must figure out how to staff and operate the building based on the allotted amount. While experienced teachers do cost more the impact of retaining a veteran staff only takes place after the funding from CPS has assigned. The differences in budget cuts are not a result of teacher salaries.

    However, it is true that schools with veteran educators, like mine, will in fact take a heavier hit in the end exactly because we have retained strong staff long term and built an ongoing, stable learning environment.

  • 377. Alcott cuts  |  June 24, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    NBCT, that’s what I thought, that these “cuts” have nothing to do with experienced staff. This is the number of fewer dollars the school has to work with. Right?

  • 378. NBCT Vet  |  June 24, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Yes, 377. The budget reflects devastatingly lower amounts of money in all schools regardless of the relative experience of the teachers in each building.

  • 379. CPSUnless  |  June 24, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    @374 cpo: that’s true. Schools that have remained somewhat stable in school population will lose more money than a growing school that is only losing 1 or 2 8th grade classes but picking up 2-4 kindergarten classes. Their biggest problem is space but I think they find that easier to deal with than the $ lost.

  • 380. Pete  |  June 24, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    @ angie

    You really don’t get it. My wife works for a private investor and is overwhelmed. Lets stop pretending that the state is broke because of the teachers. City didnt pay its part. State will go bankrupt. I should not be held accountable for feeding, teaching, and raising your children, then be slammed for the city becoming Detroit south. Lets spend 300mil on depaul, 300mil on mil on river walk and 55 mil. DaMaggie daley park. Priorities here are f’d up and we wonder why money is gone?

  • 381. Alcott cuts  |  June 24, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Thanks NBCT. I couldn’t figure out mathematically how the current cut level could take into account teacher tenure. I read somewhere that some schools will decrease the amount of supplies to save the hundreds of thousands of dollars less they’ll have. That won’t work at our school, kids already use the backside of used office papers parents bring in from the office.

  • 382. edgewatermom  |  June 24, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    @NBCTVet I am definitely NOT trying to “blame” the budget cuts on experienced teachers. I was just trying to explain why there might be such a big range in cuts across schools, and I know that teacher salaries is just one factor. CPS is making harder for schools to keep experienced teachers, which I think is a shame.

  • 383. HS Mom  |  June 24, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    seems like there are some benefits to having ties with DePaul. City colleges have a transfer program.

    University of Chicago also has a deal with the city for debt free graduation.

    Go CPS kids!

  • 384. anonymouse teacher  |  June 24, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    Christopher School on the south side, which primarily serves students with all types of disabilities, is losing 9 teachers and 11 aides. They have about 300 kids. This is a HUGE loss in terms of their ability to serve students due to the extensive needs the kids have. My aunt teaches there and her class of 10 (with severe special needs that she and an aide serve) is going to double. I asked her if she could get all those students out in a fire. Her answer? “Even with the staff we now have, we can barely do it. So, no, no way. We could not all get out in a fire. I am not guessing, I am telling you, we could not get out.”

  • 385. edgewatermom  |  June 24, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Does anybody know if any groups of parents of special ed students are planning to sue CPS as a result of these changes? I hope they do, and I hope they win. That is criminal!

  • 386. HS Mom  |  June 24, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    @385 – If CPS cannot provide a sped program then families are entitled to go private pd by city. Many already do this (probably with exception of those who could really use it). One impact will be in the way of IEP and 504 assistance. This has always been an issue. Most who can afford already get speech and other therapies outside of CPS and just pay for it.

  • 387. disgusted  |  June 24, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    #300 very good post

  • 388. mom up north  |  June 24, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    #385 some parents with SPED kids at Trumball which closed are suing CPS and BBB under the umbrella of the Americans with disabilties Act. I’m sure if you google it, there will be links to the story and I’ve seen the actual document, maybe the suntimes had it.

  • 389. local  |  June 24, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    @ 385. edgewatermom | June 24, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Contact Rod Estvan of Access Living to learn the latest on sped families’ actions re closings.

  • 390. local  |  June 24, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    “I asked her if she could get all those students out in a fire. Her answer? ‘Even with the staff we now have, we can barely do it. So, no, no way. We could not all get out in a fire. I am not guessing, I am telling you, we could not get out.'”

    Isn’t the Chicago Fire Dept responsible to inspect schools for fire safety for evacuation? Would inspection reports be public record (and FOIA-able, if needed)?

  • 391. Pete  |  June 24, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    The CFD is responsible for inspections. I asked during the strike. Guess who, downtown. Responsibility for inspections in now on a central unit (which I wouldn’t be surprised if it was manned by 4 clouted people tops) local CFD branches don’t inspect their districts anymore.

  • 392. anonymouse teacher  |  June 25, 2013 at 6:16 am

    Yes, the CFD is responsible. I told my aunt that she should call Wendy Katten and see if they could get some local college film students to film next year’s first fire drill. And then get it all over the news.
    Here’s the deal with fire drills. We almost always know they are coming in advance and almost always start lining kids up, getting coats on, etc, in advance. Someone needs to film the chaos of 20 disabled children with 2 adult staff members, while some of the students are on mats or in an assistive device, or on a mat, trying to all get out of a building during a fire drill with no notice. CFD has looked the other way more times than I can count in my career, so I wouldn’t count on them to do the right thing. I am sure they are being pressured from “on high”.

  • 393. local  |  June 25, 2013 at 7:21 am

    And consider the autistic kids who might freeze or hide during a fire drill, with no aide.

  • 394. cpsobsessed  |  June 26, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Press release today about budget cuts:


    Additional $400 Million Pension Payment Driving CPS Deficit

    • CPS faces a historic $1 billion in FY14, which is being driven by a new $400 million pension payment. During this past legislative session in Springfield, CPS worked tirelessly to pass meaningful pension reform which would save the district hundreds of millions of dollars in this upcoming fiscal year and give us the funding needed to prevent impacts on our schools.

    • However, when session ended on May 31st, the legislature in Springfield adjourned without an agreement on how to address our pension crisis. Our leaders in Springfield have pledged to work throughout this summer to address the state’s own pension crisis and Mayor Emanuel, the Board of Education and CEO Byrd-Bennett will continue to seek similar pension relief for CPS.

    • In the absence of pension reform, CPS CEO Byrd-Bennett has directed her financial team to continue to identify additional cost saving opportunities throughout the system in order to restore as many classroom dollars as possible.
    CPS Has Eliminated Hundreds of Millions in Central Office Directed Spending To Address Deficits

    • CPS has cut Central Office spending by nearly $600 million since 2011, and is eliminating another $52 million next fiscal year to keep cuts as far away from the classroom as possible. CPS will continue to do everything possible to minimize the impact on schools to reduce the historic $1 billion deficit facing the District next fiscal year. However, some impact on the classroom cannot be avoided altogether.

    Multiple Factors Impact School Funding

    • A school’s budget is driven by many factors, such as drops or increases in enrollment, the number of students at the poverty level, the number of students with special needs and others. These are factors that occur every single year and can significantly impact how much funding a school may receive.

    • A school may also see a reduction in their budget that doesn’t necessarily mean the service or program has been eliminated, as some programs and positions may be moved from schools to the Central Office. This change will be reflected as a reduction in a school’s budget, but those dollars have simply been shifted to Central Office; however those services or positions may remain in place. For example, in FY14 engineering positions are being moved to Central Office in order to create a more efficient system that will save the District money, but schools will still receive all the engineering support they need. Those positions and the money to support them will no longer be in school budgets, but the services will remain intact at each school.

    School-Based Budgeting Provides a Fair and Equitable Process to Fund All Schools

    • Student Based Budgeting (SBB) represents 50% of every school’s budget and includes funding for all core education programming (such as the Full School Day or Full Day Kindergarten) and classroom positions. Funding is based on the number of students in each school. All schools are provided a per-pupil rate for every student based on their grade level and whether they are a high school or elementary school student. Most major Districts either use SBB or are moving to SBB as it provides a fair and equitable means to fund all their schools – no two schools are treated differently under SBB.

    • SBB will give principals unprecedented control over how to spend core education dollars, allowing them to create their own education budgets and staffing plans in a way they believe will best meet the academic needs of their students.

    • The remaining 50% of a school’s budget is made up of Supplemental General State Aid (SGSA), Title I programs, English Language Learners (ELL), Magnet, International Baccalaureate, Bilingual, and STEM programs. It also consists of operations funding outside the classroom, including money for transportation, security and nutrition services. These funds are completely separate from SBB.

    • All school-based budgets are currently draft and are not yet final. Some schools will see increases this year, while others will see decreases, which will be driven by enrollment, poverty levels, students with special needs, the District’s budget crisis and other several other factors.

    • CPS is poised to use one-time funding available in our reserves, reductions in Central Office directed spending, and other sources to close the $1 billion deficit in order to keep cuts as far away from the classroom as possible. However, we will not be able to avoid reductions

    STEM and IB Program Funding Remains Intact

    • Claims that STEM and IB funding have been cut are false.

    Nearly $1 Billion in TIF Money Has Helped Build and Renovate Schools Across The City

    • The use of TIF dollars to fund schools projects has enabled CPS to reduce the amount of debt it has had to issue and the use of operating dollars that would have been used to pay down that debt. These resources can be used to fund CPS operating costs while still allowing capital projects to move forward. More than $900 million in TIF dollars have been committed to CPS school construction.

    • Eliminating TIFs would not generate substantial new revenue for CPS as property tax caps on CPS severely limits its ability to tax new property tax revenue.

    Interest Rate Swaps Saves Money For CPS – $70M To Date:

    • Interest swaps, which are competitively bid, have allowed CPS to reduce its interest costs on debt by approximately $70 million. CPS works with banks to reduce the rates it pays on money it has borrowed, similar to how a homeowner who refinances a mortgage to a lower interest rate will save money on a mortgage payment. Renegotiating swaps would signal that CPS can’t pay its debt and would cost the District more money in the long-term.

  • 395. cpsobsessed  |  June 26, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    Still having a hard time seeing how neighborhood schools are going to function. Also, does the press release sort of have the tone of “we didn’t really cut stuff”? I can’t tell what they’re trying to say….

    “The remaining 50% of a school’s budget is made up of Supplemental General State Aid (SGSA), Title I programs, English Language Learners (ELL), Magnet, International Baccalaureate, Bilingual, and STEM programs. It also consists of operations funding outside the classroom, including money for transportation, security and nutrition services. These funds are completely separate from SBB.”

  • 396. cpsobsessed  |  June 26, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Also, any idea whether Charters are still funded at a lower rate than non-charters? Last we heard, CPS didn’t have information on that matter to share with the public.

  • 397. disgusted  |  June 26, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    In the past when subs did not show up the sped resource/inclusion programs were shut down-does anyone not think that this will get worse now that sub monies come from the school-sped teachers will be used as subs more than ever….some years the programs were shut down 20% of the time…parents need to track this as teachers, especially non-tenured are powerless to stop this practice….

  • 398. cps alum  |  June 26, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    “The remaining 50% of a school’s budget is made up of Supplemental General State Aid (SGSA), Title I programs, English Language Learners (ELL), Magnet, International Baccalaureate, Bilingual, and STEM programs. It also consists of operations funding outside the classroom, including money for transportation, security and nutrition services. These funds are completely separate from SBB.”

    And what about schools that don’t get these extra funds? My neighborhood school 10% Low Income, 1% ELL, 14% Special Ed and doesn’t have a magnet, IB, bilingual or STEM program. There is very little money there for my school. It seems like CPS increasingly relies on these extra funds to make up the difference in insufficient funding from the State and local sources. While my neighborhood school has a strong PTA that raises extra money to fill in the gaps in the past, my neighbors are tapped out.

  • 399. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 26, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    398. cps alum | June 26, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    The schools that don’t get the extras will have to take more kids or have larger class size to make it up. Right now, from what I can see every school, including gifted, are expanding class room sizes.

  • 400. cpsobsessed  |  June 26, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    Ergh. Another way for CPS to say they’re not expanding class size but rather leaving that on the shoulders of the principals.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 401. local  |  June 26, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    @ 397. disgusted | June 26, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    “In the past when subs did not show up the sped resource/inclusion programs were shut down-does anyone not think that this will get worse now that sub monies come from the school-sped teachers will be used as subs more than ever….some years the programs were shut down 20% of the time…parents need to track this as teachers, especially non-tenured are powerless to stop this practice….”

    What methods can a parent or guardian use to track this, as you suggest? How can a family get this information?

  • 402. local  |  June 26, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    Wasn’t larger class sizes predicted about a year ago b/c of the money crisis and SB7?

  • 403. cpsobsessed  |  June 26, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    Maybe predicted, but CPS was like “no we’re not.”. And they aren’t. The principals are.
    It’s a brilliant plan.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 404. local  |  June 26, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    Interesting from catalyst:

    Rodestvan wrote 45 min 18 sec ago
    The Mayor’s comments are politically expedient

    I think Mayor Emanuel’s comments relating to the school based budget cuts being made by principals was politically expedient. The actual situation is far more complex than just blaming everything on outstanding pension obligations and the inability of the Illinois General Assembly to come to any agreement on cutting retirement benefits for public sector workers including teachers and public school administrators.

    There are numerous other problems in relation to school funding that Mayor Emanuel simply side steps in his comments. Here are several.

    There is the problem of Tax Incremental Financing districts that divert some funding away from CPS. TIF is a method in theory to use future gains in taxes to subsidize current improvements, which are projected to create the conditions for future gains. The completion of a public or private project can result in an increase in the value of surrounding real estate, which generates additional tax revenue. But in Chicago that has not always been the case, in fact in the down town loop TIF district it has been used primarily to stabilize real estate values from collapse due to the fiscal crisis generated by the overheating of speculative investment in down town Chicago. Sales-tax revenue in theory also may increase, and jobs may be added, although these factors and their multipliers usually do not influence the structure of TIF.

    But the Mayor early on in his administration decided not to abandon the strategic concept of TIFs, so some of the current funding problems CPS faces relate to the continuation of that process. But I do not agree with the CTU that TIF abolition is the key to stabilizing the school district. The world is more complex than that.

    Another problem is the basic property tax rate in the city. Yesterday the Chicago Tribune in an article discussed this issue stating: “Chicagoans have long bemoaned high property taxes, but the new rates illustrate that their pain pales compared with their suburban counterparts. In Chicago, the average school property tax tab, including money collected by CPS and the School Finance Authority, is about $1,252 for an owner-occupied home that would sell for about $150,000, according to the data. By comparison, the public school tax bill in west suburban Oak Park on a home worth about the same amount of money — if one could be found — would be about twice as much, the data showed. Homeowners in south suburban Harvey, which has some of the highest property tax rates in the region, will pay three times as much for public education.”

    Any attempt to get rid of the property tax cap for Chicago might be political suicide for the Mayor given the fact that those living in the city with the most expensive homes often send their children to private schools and commercial real estate interests in Chicago would turn against Mayor Emanuel in mass. We should not forget that even the owners of Water Tower Place (General Growth Properties Inc) had to file for bankruptcy protection.

    Yet another problem for CPS that relates to state funding is our constitutionally driven flat tax where the richest person in Illinois pays the same rate as the poorest person whose income is eligible for taxation. Let’s recall that in California which has income brackets for taxation hits up its most wealthy citizens just for state taxes at a rate of 13.3%, whereas in Illinois these same millionaires have a income tax rate of just 5%. I have never heard the Mayor speak in opposition of our state’s flat income tax system and that is not a surprise either because again it might not be politically popular with many of his political backers.

    But to blame all the woes of CPS on public sector pensions, well that actually politically works since most Chicagoans don’t have any defined benefit retirement plan at all and have no skin in the game for public sector workers. Ask your average drunk late 20s or 30 year old white collar worker in Wrigleyville what their retirement plan is they are more than likely will point to a very weakly funded 401k plan. Even worse ask a 30 year old Chicago service sector worker about their retirement plan and they more than likely have only social security. So the sympathy level for teachers and other public sector worker’s pensions is rather low.

    The CPS budget cuts are not due to just one factor like pensions or TIFs they are a culmination of the fiscal crisis of the public sector in our country. The Mayor’s explanation and for that matter the CTU’s explanation heavily focusing on TIFs ring a little shallow. But then reality bites and we all try to dance around many of the difficult problems our society currently faces.

    Rod Estvan

  • 405. disgusted  |  June 26, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    404 Thank you, Rod. Too bad you left CPS-lots of brain drain…lots of new hires but not too many that will advocate for the child like you have…

    To 101
    I would ask your child everyday,”Did you see Ms______today Y or N AND did she work with you-keep track on a calendar ….
    you need to discern whether your child is saying I saw her (in the hall) but no services were given….. if looks more than normal absences ask when you have parent-teacher conference regarding the absences….some parents request that the teacher initial the assignment book on a daily basis…..if your child misses services due to teacher absences because of illness or subbing your chid may be entitled to compensatory services…you will be doing not only your child a favor but also the SPED teacher who should not be used for subbing or recess/lunch duty…..teachers should not be instructed to write IEP minutes to make sure they can cover lunch/recess duty…….not a good use of personnel….not a reason to reduce a child’s minutes either…..

  • 406. local  |  June 26, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    @ 405. disgusted | June 26, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Ok. Now, who, really in the school/CPS is then “responsible” if the minutes aren’t being delivered? Principal?

  • 407. disgusted  |  June 26, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    If your child is not receiving the minutes as stated on the IEP you should send a letter with the missing days of service to the teacher, case manager and administration. If the situation is not remedied at the school level send a certified letter to OSES at central office-no remedy there send a certified letter to ISBE and investigate filing a due process complaint against CPS.

    If your child’s minutes are being reduced please ask for the justification for the reduction in services. Make CPS prove that it is warranted by improved grades, reduction in grade modification or amount of work modification, improved test scores, (more than one source of test data), improved independence or improved behavior.
    If you are spending hours at home trying to teach your child then he/she may need more services at school.

  • 408. local  |  June 26, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    How can minutes be “tracked” if they’re supposedly delivered in “inclusion” in the regular classroom? The minutes aren’t really being delivered, of course.

  • 409. local  |  June 27, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Destiny for school funds?

    From Chicago Magazine website:

    The New School Board Member Is a Glimpse at the Future of Education /Posted yesterday at 5:00 p.m. /By Whet Moser

    The other day my colleague Carol Felsenthal wrote about Deborah Quazzo, who is replacing new Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker on the Chicago Public Schools board, and why she’s a controversial choice. Felsenthal focuses on how Quazzo, one investment banker from wealth is replacing another, tapping into the class and privatization issues that have surrounded school closings, charter schools, and so forth.
    (unquote – more at

  • 410. local  |  June 27, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    Came across this while reading through various coverage of yesterday’s board meeting at CPS. Funny comment on

    By: Rod Estvan
    Mr. Beinen’s comments at Board meeting

    This has to be one of George Schmidt’s more brilliant descriptions of a CPS Board meeting he has ever written. Praise for George’s searing criticism aside I have to admit I am starting to find Board member Henry Bienen particularly irritating, maybe it’s the fact that I am now 60 plus years old, or maybe it’s that Mr. Beinen attempts to present himself as a fiscal expert when his academic background was in foreign policy.

    It appears that he has decided to play the role of the former CPS Board member Norm Bobbins, but Norm to his credit actually had a background in finance.

    Possibly Mr. Beinen’s most prominent foray into the world of finance was as a member of the Board of Directors of Bear Stearns beginning in 2004 until that firm’s collapse during the financial crisis of 2008. Now that is something to be proud of, being on the last Board of a company that existed from 1923 and watching it’s destruction.

    William Cohan’s book, “House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street,” published by Doubleday,sheds light on the bankers who destroyed Bear Stearns while Mr. Beinen and his fellow Board members read falsified balance sheets and ate lunch.

    Former Wharton School dean Russell Palmer, in his book “Ultimate Leadership,” directly discusses Beinen and his fellow Bear Stearns Board members writing:

    “Boards of directors must provide appropriate oversight, but boards will never know enough about the complex world of finance and the derivatives transactions that are being effected today. Boards need to provide detailed oversight, and so they have the responsibility to see that outside experts are brought in, if necessary, to assess the risk profile of the organization. They have to rely on experts such as their auditors, regulators, and others to see that effective oversight occurs.” Clearly Beinen and his compatriots did not assure that effective oversight occurred at Bear Stearns.

    They sat and watched Bear’s stock price plummet from the high hundreds to an eventual $10 a share offer from JP Morgan Chase. Beinen and his fellow Board members accepted this deal on behalf of stock holders that had just lost millions upon millions of dollars.

    Instead of fiscal oversight the Bear Stearns Board concerned itself with CEO James Cayne’s pot use in the wake of a Wall Street Journal article. Beinen and other Board members more or less forced Cayne to resign as CEO in the wake of his month long vacations to play cards, and other high jinks at the headquarters. The board kept Cayne on as chairman, and Alan D. Schwartz takes over as CEO. By March 14, 2008 Bear Stearns was in full collapse and its chairman Cayne was taking part in a bridge tournament in Detroit. Yes, really you can’t make this stuff up if you wanted to.

    I have a real problem with Mr. Beinen trying to play the role of the fiscal expert on the Board with this track record. His comments as reported by Catalyst in relation to Ms Katten’s and others’ statements before the Board were that he had heard “a lot of things that are just nonsense and ranting” in relation to fiscal issues. I have no doubt Mr. Beinen is familiar with nonsense and ranting he must have gotten a lot of that from the executives at Bear Stearns when he was on its Board. Really a little humility is in order after that experience isn’t it?

    Rod Estvan

  • 411. WesLooMom  |  June 27, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Story in Trib: Glen Ellyn expanding its gifted program for 2013-14, so that more students may participate.

    As a soon-to-be CPS parent, all I can say is…Ugh!

    I can’t fault my friends for moving to the burbs.

  • 412. Irving Park  |  June 28, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Anyone else nostalgic for a Mayor who has lots of foibles but who at least gave a crap about this city?

    CPSO, I’m with you on the brilliance / deviousness of all the “keeping cuts as far away from the classroom” rhetoric while making the Principals do the actual cutting.

    But I do feel like Central office / BBB / Becky Carroll are still actually lying with all the talk about “some schools’ budgets went up and some schools’ budgets went down” (while techically not incorrect as I suspect you could find 10 schools out there where budgets went up due to xyz factors, it is super misleading).

    As a parent who does not HAVE to opt in to CPS at this stage (for K in the fall), I’m beginning to think I’d have to be a total doormat to choose to do so. I also worry that we would be feeding into the rhetoric of “no matter what we throw at you, you’ll persevere.” It also seems exhausting to have to go through this tumult each and every year if we don’t have to. And those uniforms for the catholic school are pretty cute.

  • 413. Angie  |  June 28, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    @412. Irving Park: “Anyone else nostalgic for a Mayor who has lots of foibles but who at least gave a crap about this city?”

    Do you mean the one who got us into this mess in the first place?

    No, thanks, I’ll take the Mayor who is trying to fix it.

  • 414. Peter  |  June 28, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    I’m with Angie on this.

  • 415. HSObsessed  |  June 28, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    I agree with Angie and Peter. Daley kicked the can down the road on so many issues. Total shell games for years.

  • 416. PatientCPSMom  |  June 28, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    @412 and @413 just an observation. The Mayor 412 is referring to started successful urban transformation in my Near North Side neighborhood. The Mayor of 413 wanted to combine the very lowest ranking neighborhood schools in our area into one school assuring no child in our area would have a good safe neighborhood education. I’ve lived in the city a very long time and I will take a Mayor with long terrm vision over a Mayor who has a one-term financial gain agenda.

  • 417. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 28, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Neither one has served our schools well. Can’t wait to vote this loser out of office!

  • 418. cpsmommy  |  June 28, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    @416 It is more than a one term financial gain for the current mayor. He is trying to secure longer term campaign contributions that he hopes will materialize from the billionaires who want to privatize education. He doesn’t give a rats a** about the children or communities of this city.

  • 419. chicagosally  |  June 29, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    ” He doesn’t give a rats a** about the children or communities of this city.”

    Nor do the Chicago Teachers Union, 98% of the Teachers or about 95% of the parents. The public education has worked so well in the USA. If anyone relies on the government for anything they are going to be very disappointed in the end. Weak people create weak kids.

  • 420. jjohnson  |  June 29, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    “Anyone else nostalgic for a Mayor who has lots of foibles but who at least gave a crap about this city? ”

    You mean the guy who sold the parking lot meters for 75 years in exchange for one billion dollars and spent the billion in about 2 years? There is no money left. Throwing money at a horrible school system will improve nothing…except maybe grow the level of corruption. Thanks to plenty of parties, especially the CTU and Chicago politicians, Chicago public schools are a disaster. Chicago is the next Detroit.

  • 421. Leggy Mountbatten  |  July 1, 2013 at 11:19 am

    #420 sure it is.

  • 422. Luv2Europe  |  July 1, 2013 at 11:45 am

    419 agree

  • 423. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  July 1, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    @413-415: I agree that Daley kicked the can down the road on many of these issues. But I don’t see what Emanuel’s plan is.

    He has proposed and implemented several projects without any serious policy analysis (e.g., longer day, school consolidation). These things sound reasonable on their face, but the devil is in the details and we never see evidence that CPS worked through the details. For example, educators and think tanks that pushed longer days had suggestions on how to implement it, and CPS ignored almost all of them. On school closures, rather simplistic formulas were used to make serious decisions. They weren’t the starting point; they were the end point.

    To be fair, there’s not much that he can do given the state and federal role in local education today. But increasing TIFs was not the way to go to help.

  • 424. CPS Parent  |  July 1, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    423. Christopher Ball you seem like a really smart person but your biases always get in your own way.

    You can do the “analysis” on the school consolidations on the back of half a paper napkin. Why waste (public) money on expensive consultants who will make it into a project?

    We do not have a “longer” day now – it’s a normal day. What we had before was an aberration and didn’t require “policy analysis” to normalize. I personally don’t know of one teacher that thinks the day is too long now.

  • 425. SoxSideIrish4  |  July 1, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    424. CPS Parent | July 1, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    I feel with the new budget it’s an UNFUNDED longer day~just filled w/taking up time~no learning~study halls. My friends in the burbs don’t have study halls bc they have art, music, drama, pe, etc. I’m just glad we won’t be in CPS much longer…the burbs are looking too good!

  • 426. CPS Parent  |  July 1, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    425. SoxSideIrish4 Bye bye! So long! It’s been nice knowing you!

  • 427. cpsobsessed  |  July 1, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    I wish I had what it took to make the break. I was out in the distant suburbs this weekend and after 3 hours I was itching to get back to the city. I decided I’m okay working on math with my son during the summer to make up for him having a large class. I just feel city-ish in my DNA that realize the allure of small classrooms and musical instruments wasn’t enough to overcome that. Perhaps if my son were more of a “joiner” I’d feel differently right now…

  • 428. edgewatermom  |  July 1, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    @427 cpsobsessed

    I decided I’m okay working on math with my son during the summer to make up for him having a large class. I just feel city-ish in my DNA that realize the allure of small classrooms and musical instruments wasn’t enough to overcome that.

    I feel EXACTLY the same way (even though I really don’t enjoy the summer math!). We are “lucky” because our magnet school does have art, music, and a great library, but the class sizes are very big – and math definitely seems to be a casualty of that.

  • 429. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  July 1, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    @424 Most elementary schools have a 6 to 6:30 day. Not 7 or 7:30. I’d rather see a 6:30 day w/ more funding for need-based, after-school programs. The data just didn’t support Emanuel/CPS plans: Philly had a longer day and year than Chicago but did no better than Chicago on NAEP tests. Common-sense tells us the world is flat; that’s why we do policy analysis. It need not be external. If you spend money on x means that you don’t spend money on y.

    Closing schools ceteris paribus saves money. But CPS is changing all sorts of things, and that makes the ceteris paribus unreasonable. CPS had to issue over $200 million in new debt to cover the updates to the “welcoming” schools. You do the analysis not to just decide whether to close the school but also how to do so. CPS might have restructured multiple schools to make enrollment more efficient, but instead it set up a small set of receiving and closing schools.

    Over-crowding, new teachers, moving confusion, and other problems in the schools could yield poor performance in the reduced number of schools. Indeed, one would expect a year to work out the kinks, but CPS never discusses how it would account for this in its new performance policy.

  • 430. local  |  July 1, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    @ 426. CPS Parent | July 1, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Ah, I’m guessing SSI is saying her family will be involved with CPS as they finish up high school. But if she had little kids, they’d move to the burbs. Am I misreading? I feel the same.

  • 431. local  |  July 1, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    The same about – thank god we don’t have much time left in CPS.

  • 432. SoxSideIrish4  |  July 1, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    CPS Parent, CPSO, local~sorry, I just read my original post and see how it looks like we would move to the burbs. NOPE! We were in naperville visiting great friends and listening abt their schools and they (high schools) “are looking too good” but compared to her neighborhood elementary and mine~we love ours, she’s not keen on hers (but every school has problems). I meant for HS, I don’t think we’ll do CPS. CPSO~the City is in our DNA, CPS is NOT! I feel like you, loved visiting the burbs and the river walk, but LOVE, LOVE our community, City!

    We couldn’t move from the City, I want to make sure I’m here to help vote Rahm out of office for trying to ruin my kids education w/privatization as he starves schools from resources to make way for cheap, blended learning in experimental charters!!! I’m HERE for the duration!!!

  • 433. CPS Parent  |  July 1, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    432. SoxSideIrish4 Aggh, too bad. Maybe you’ll vote an old Irish man back into office.

  • 434. CPS Parent  |  July 1, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    429. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins) As is said, you’re a really smart guy and I enjoy hearing your insights but I’m glad you’re not in charge – nothing would get done.

  • 435. Kary Martinez  |  July 1, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    The CTU should just declare their current contract null and void. Afterall, wasn’t one of the contract conditions in funding the longer day to hire and maintain 500 plus positions in order to reach a comprise? Now CPS has placed the funding decision on schools in order to avoid any blame. Looks like after this new school year is over, another contract showdown between CPS and CTU will begin.

  • 436. CPS Parent  |  July 2, 2013 at 7:45 am

    435. Kary Martinez The contract stands for four years. The CTU and the CPS will not meet at the bargaining table until then. The hiring of “additional” teachers is not in the contract nor is the maximum number of students per teachers specified. In fact, by Illinois State law, it is illegal for those issues to be negotiated/contracted within the collective bargaining agreement.

  • 437. John  |  July 2, 2013 at 8:40 am

    The CTU/CPS contract is 3 years. It expires on June 30, 2015

  • 438. breathe deep  |  July 2, 2013 at 9:56 am

    I agree the longer school day did not seem well thought out. We asked CPS for the studies that supported the change and were never given anything of substance. I have looked myself and could not find anything but I admit that it is not my area. If anyone knows of valid academic support for the longer day, please send me a link.

    In addition, since the cornerstone of CPS is offering parents “choices” we have a lot of families that commute long times and distances. We have several families who travel an hour to an hour and half everyday, one way. I never heard CPS address the somewhat contradictory notions of families who spend time commuting to exercise choices but still should have a longer school day. We travel 45 every day, one way, to get our son to school. With the longer school day he is rarely home before 4:45 and then starts homework.

    At my son’s school with the longer school day, he gets more time on core subjects but most of the additional time is on things like art enrichment. I know most people really want that but the irony is that in our school most kids were getting that sort of thing in after school programs that were far superior. We had several students who dropped Chicago Children’s Choir (which travelled to San Francisco and India this year) because the longer day, plus homework, made it unworkable. Instead, they had a theater class which was sweet but was no where near the same level. In our case, my son had to give up an after school job helping out an elderly neighbor. The job taught him responsibility and made him a bigger part of our community but with the longer day he got home too late to fit our neighbor’s schedule. I realize this is all very individual to our situation but my point is that there are costs to longer school day when the student has an active life outside of school.

  • 439. Neighborhood parent  |  July 2, 2013 at 10:20 am

    438/you are right; it’s all individual…. 45 min commute is a ‘choice’ and clearly a sacrifice in your case.

    we go to a level 2 neighborhood elem. and our walk is 15 min. – I’m gonna appreciate the art & music that my school has been able to sustain (in most cases that’s the only enrichment these kids get) …. and i believe that our school now can satisfy minutes for RTI AND keep passing-time minutes AND offer recess without shorting anything…. in our L2, plenty-of-students-working-below expectations school…. the longer day works better than a shorter day. I wish more school populations presented like yours, breathe deep, but they don’t.

  • 440. anotherchicagoparent  |  July 2, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Wow why is CPS Parent so harsh? Are you the same CPS Parent with kids at Payton, who sent his kids to catholic elementary school? If so quite a different world you have lived in at CPS than the rest of us,No? You seem just a bit judgmental of others.

  • 441. CPS Parent  |  July 2, 2013 at 10:55 am

    440. anotherchicagoparent I am harsh because, repeatedly, the criticism I see here comes from the narrow perspective, of middle income parents who have no understanding of what is best for the vast majority of CPS students. This is why I was mistakenly celebrating the departure of SoxSideIrish4 who exemplifies that type of parent. 438. breathe deep seems to be another who just doesn’t get it.

  • 442. anotherchicagoparent  |  July 2, 2013 at 11:06 am

    @CPS Parent Just curious Have you ever volunteered in a less fortunate school than your children have attended? Are you basing your keys to turning around “the vast majority of CPS students”only on test scores,data,what you hear from the media and what you have seen at your school? Do you know what is best for these kids?

  • 443. another parent  |  July 2, 2013 at 11:51 am

    “Do you know what is best for these kids?”

    Do you? I didn’t know one needed a resume in order to express an intelligent logical opinion on this site.

  • 444. anotherchicagoparent  |  July 2, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    I didn’t think they did either,but he mentioned that others do not know what is best for the vast majority of these kids so I was wondering if he did? Like i said just curious.

  • 445. Agree  |  July 2, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Kudos to CPS Parent! Your statement really rings true to me ” the criticism I see here comes from the narrow perspective, of middle income parents who have no understanding of what is best for the vast majority of CPS students. This is why I was mistakenly celebrating the departure of SoxSideIrish4 who exemplifies that type of parent.”

  • 446. cpsobsessed  |  July 2, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    I think we would all like to hear criticism from a wider range of families – it certainly would be more enlightening and interesting. Any suggestions on how to make that happen are always welcomed….

  • 447. SoxSideIrish4  |  July 2, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    441. CPS Parent | July 2, 2013 at 10:55 am

    You’ve prolly NEVER been in some of the schools you say your are supporting for the longer day…I have. I have also repeatedly asked for documents/data regarding longer day, but you know CPS…they lie abt everything~so they never produced the documents.

    My ‘narrow’ point is~NO district has ever expanded the longer day as a whole district~bc they knew they couldn’t sustain it. They did between 5-10 schools. NOW CPS can’t sustain their longer day. They should look at the studies that show it benefits ‘at-risk’ children. They should keep those area/schools w/the longer day and target the money there. Schools should have the autonomy to do what’s best for their students in terms if they need the longer day. Our district is too big if Rahm thinks it’s a one-size-fits all. Can’t wait to vote him out of office.

    As for WP ~is losing abt 6 teachers and some AP classes~hopefully, they will be able to buy them back.

  • 448. breathe deep  |  July 2, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    I knew when I wrote my post I was coming from a very privileged place because my son got into a good school through the lottery and has been commuting an hour and half to two hours everyday for the last 8 years. For that, I suppose you can label me as not getting it. And my son doesn’t get it either. You know, the 11 year old who a couple of years ago looked around for a way to earn money after school when I lost my job.

    I am very glad some children are better off with the longer day. Neighborhood Parent, it sounds like it has been great for your child and it’s really important to let it be known when CPS gets something right. I just wish it was true across the board.

  • 449. Mom of 3  |  July 2, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    CPS has money…they just choose to support things other than the academic well being of your children:

    Cut positions, art, language, music etc…but increase funding to yet another private program?

  • 450. cpsobsessed  |  July 2, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    @449: If I am reading that properly, CPS is paying $1,587,500 for 570 Teach for America teachers. That is $2,785 per teacher? For a year? I assume there is some other money that helps fund this, since that is pretty cheap per person. Given the state of the budget, couldn’t this be an efficient use of money? (teacher quality aside…)

  • 451. cpsobsessed  |  July 2, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Also, I believe TFA is not a private company with a goal of raising money. I have other issues with the program based on what I’ve read (first year of service is basically a waste as training has been fairly minimal… seems like using the kids as guinea pigs… etc) but I do believe they’re a non-profit:

    Charity Navigator 4-Star Ratings for 11 Years Straight

    In 2012, Teach For America earned a perfect four-star rating from Charity Navigator for the 11th straight year for exemplary financial health. Less than 1% of all nonprofits nationwide have received this many consecutive four-star ratings, putting us in the 99th percentile of among all nonprofits.

  • 452. cpsobsessed  |  July 2, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Post from @Karet that she emailed to me due to spam issues:

    @429: Most elementary students do not go to school from 6 to 6.5 hours. I found a spreadsheet from the National Center for Education Statistics from 2007-8 organized by state (sorry I couldn’t find anything more recent, but I doubt the numbers have gone down, since the current trend is for longer days).

    National Average: 6.7 hours

    7.2 – 7.0 hours – 8 states

    6.9 – 6.7 hours – 20 states

    6.6 – 6.4 hours – 19 states

    6.3 – 6.1 hours – 4 states

    6.0 hours or fewer – 0

    Here is the link:‎

  • 453. Mom of 3  |  July 2, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    The contract is for the money that goes directly to TFA. This does not include the cost of the individual teacher salary/benefits.

  • 454. cpsobsessed  |  July 2, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    ah, gotcha. I saw on their site that teachers make between $25K and $50K per year and get benefits and pension from the school district. So….now I do wonder…. why??

  • 455. Mom of 3  |  July 2, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Exactly. According to Charity Navigator, they have $350 million in assets. What is this money for? Minnesota just voted to no longer contract with TFA … see here:

    Yes, I disagree with the concept behind this organization, but to fund it to this degree when they have taken this much money away from the school that I teach at is just not right.

  • 456. cpsobsessed  |  July 2, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    The site says that teachers in urban areas get a higher income, so say a TFA teachers gets perhaps $42K – isn’t that comparable to an entry-level CPS teacher? I don’t understand the point of it.

  • 457. cpsmommy  |  July 2, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Since this thread is about money….here is a question for the teachers and/or CPS insiders. My teacher friends tell me that CPS will be getting rid of deferred pay. In the past, teachers did not have a choice – they had to have their salary paid over 12 months even though it was earned during 10 months. I presume that CPS mandated this (about a decade ago…insiders help me out) so that they could invest the money. Even conservatively speaking, this would be a nice little boost to CPS; just pop the $$ in T-bonds for several months…right? Why are they now telling teachers that this is no longer an option? I would think in times of austerity, an employer would love to defer pay and earn the interest…every little bit (or in this case…at least $1M per year in interest) would help. Does someone have some insight on this?

  • 458. cpsemployee  |  July 2, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    TFA teachers hired to work in CPS are CPS employees and thus are paid as a regular CPS/CTU employee. The cost savings comes not in their salary but in the likelihood that they will not stay long and thus not end up costing more down the road. The goal in having TFA staff is in having a less expensive staff overall; one with more turnover that then allows the hiring of a new, inexpensive TFA teacher when the other leaves. The gamble (and hope) is that a TFA teacher will leave before reaching tenure (which happens after 3 successful years).

  • 459. Mom of 3  |  July 2, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    TFA teachers hired by CPS are paid according to the CPS pay schedule. They are paid by CPS, not TFA. I guess I don’t understand your comment “i don’t understand the point of it.”

    What I don’t understand is why CPS needs to pay an organization (for profit or not) to hire teachers when there are so many teachers out of work. I think that those who make decisions in Minnesota don’t understand this either. For what it’s worth, I believe that the COO makes over $300K and the two CEO make int he $200’s. Again, this is teacher training and placement.

  • 460. junior  |  July 2, 2013 at 4:33 pm


    “Yes, I disagree with the concept behind this organization, ”

    I understand that the whole concept of TFA is threatening to traditional teachers. But saying that this investment does not support the “academic well being of our children” sounds more like sour grapes than anything.

    If you want to get rid of TFA teachers, the answer if pretty simple. Tell your union to allow differentiated pay so that schools with the toughest environments can pay teachers more and are better able to recruit teachers. That will obviate the need for TFA teachers. Until then, I say kudos to TFA teachers for going into the toughest neighborhoods, working for a lot less money and producing comparable results.

  • 461. cpsobsessed  |  July 2, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    My ” I don’t understand the point” comment is related to yours: why does CPS need to hire people from outside the education field when so many teachers in Chicago need jobs? I understand the point of the Peace Corp – sending young eager-to-help people to areas where not many people want to spend their time. But doesn’t hold true to teaching in a major city. Even in the rougher neighborhoods I imagine there are plenty of job candidates with teaching degrees.

    But @458: likely hits the nail on the head. These people don’t stay and thus the salary of that position never rises. You have a $45K teacher position for eternity.

  • 462. cpsobsessed  |  July 2, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    @Junior, from what I’ve read a TFA teachers’ first year is usually a disaster in that they’re ill-prepared for the classroom (especially classrooms full of at-risk kids.) I think even Michelle Rhee admits her first year was a waste (well… she went back and did much better in year 2 but there were say 30 kids who spent a year as her test subjects.) The training for TFA used to be horrible (this is what I’ve read from ex-TFA people. It was basically non-existant. Perhaps it’s improved and the people do better from day 1. I really don’t know that they’re producing comparable results. I’d have a hard time believing that. Just as any first year teacher probably doesn’t produce as good results as a teacher with 5+ year experience.

  • 463. HS Mom  |  July 2, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    @462 CPSO – how does the training of a regular teacher differ from that of a TFA?

  • 464. cpsobsessed  |  July 2, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    @463: Well, my understanding is that a regular teacher goes to a 4 year college to learn about education and gets certified (not really sure what that means.) I don’t get the sense from teachers I’ve talked to that they really get prepped for the true day-to-day stuff as much as they probably need, but they’ve learned a lot about education theory and methods.

    A TFA teacher can come from any background (ie English major, math major, etc) and they get maybe a couple weeks (?) of training/seminars that probably are more tactical than what a college provides. But what I’ve read about how TFA had been in the past, the (when starting up) it often came down to almost nothing – close to just throwing these people in the classrooms and hoping their passion and motivation made up for the lack of skills. Michelle Rhee spent the whole summer between her first and second year making all kinds of learning material for her classrooms. (ie, Passion, dedication.) Hopefully the TFA training has gotten better now that they’re better funded.

  • 465. anotherchicagoparent  |  July 2, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    According to this article:
    TFA recruits new college grads sends them to a 5 week summer institute than places them in high needs schools for 2 years.After their 2 years is up they then encourage them to go into business,law,or finance to advocate for education equity.

    I would love to hear from those familiar with TFA because I personally do not know much.

  • 466. junior  |  July 2, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    TFA performance compared to other teachers…

  • 467. Mom of 3  |  July 2, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    I don’t think “sour grapes” is the right phrase. I cannot understand why it’s o.k. to spend $1.6 million dollars on untrained teachers. What about using this money to hire trained, successful teachers? What about using this money to pull additional bodies into classrooms that need aides?

    I have worked with TFA teachers. Two were great, however, they were both in their 8 or 9th years as teachers. They were dedicated to their profession. They now question the logic behind their training and how it could have been better. I have also worked with 4 others who have left teaching after two years. Two left to go back and pursue a graduate degree in business and a law degree. One gave notice at the very end of the year. One quit one week before school started.

    I also do not agree that putting the newest, least prepared teachers into the neediest areas makes much sense. There may have been a time where the philosophy of TFA made sense, but, in my opinion, it is just “bank” for its founders and those who run the program.

    I once asked a TFA teacher (9 years experience) who is one of the finest educators I have had the honor of working with, “Would you send your daughter to a school where their teacher or teachers were all new TFA?” He laughed and said, “No, I’m moving to the suburbs where parents don’t put up with that shit.” Enough said.

  • 468. junior  |  July 2, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Yeah, I understand the resistance and hostility that TFA teachers face. When inexperienced, untrained teachers get similar (or perhaps even better) results than trained, experienced teachers, then potentially a lot of profound, challenging questions get asked.

  • 469. cpsobsessed  |  July 2, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    I cannot read the article on my blackberry. Does it say what they think is making the tfa teachers more effective at teaching math ?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 470. local  |  July 2, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    How about “Aides for America”? Let’s take the “best & brightest” and give them a crack at classroom support. That might work better.

  • 471. local  |  July 2, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    @ 465. anotherchicagoparent | July 2, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    Just google Teach for America and horror stories. (Yes, I’m anti-TFA.)

  • 472. Mom of 3  |  July 2, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    The article is interesting. However, I have to say that I believe that teachers are more than a test score. It’s about challenging students to move on, making relationships with students and their families, seeing their needs, etc. Furthermore, this data only compared the TFA teachers with others as a whole. NOT with experienced teachers (included in the study were those who also had types of speedy certification.)

    All in all, right now, in a place where we are looking to fund our programs, etc, there are PLENTY of applicants out there. CPS does not need to spend $1.6 million so that they can hire teachers.

  • 473. tchr  |  July 2, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    Junior- My school had a TFA teacher last year. Sweet, hopeful young lady. But oh my gosh was it a mess!

    Whether you want to believe it or not, my dysfunctional high poverty school has some AMAZING teachers that care about our students, work hard, AND get results.

    The new TFA teacher? She was so overwhelmed. To work in a school like mine, you HAVE to have strong management. You can’t teach anything unless you can manage the class. If the kids don’t respect you, they won’t relate to you, they won’t listen to you. This new teacher was visibly was not doing well. A look of dread every morning. Her students did what they wanted. It was an awful situation for them AND her. I really wish she would have chosen a different program to become a teacher because her heart was in it, in the beginning at least, but as the year went on, she lost her class. And they lost out on a year of school!!

    There are many alternative certification programs out there that are local to Chicago and are BETTER because they actually teach you how to teach!!! (Besides masters programs through Depaul, National Louis, UIC, University of Chicago, there are programs like Chicago teaching fellows
    and AUSL. And these programs DO have a strong belief in preparing teachers to work in the high needs schools in Chicago. TFA is national and widely known because they have the $$$ to advertise.

    This past year, for the first time, I worked with 3 brand new teachers. 1 TFA and 2 went to traditional teaching programs. Of those two other teacher, 1 had a strong desire to work in a high poverty school and 1 just fell into the job. All brand new teachers. The 1 who had a traditional teaching program and the strong desire to work at our school was the best. If I had children, I would hope they could be in her class. There is just too much to learn with just a summer prep program.

  • 474. tchr  |  July 2, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    Mom3 or anyone- There is a 2 year TFA commitment. Is a school OBLIGATED to keep TFA teachers for the second year? We couldn’t believe that our teacher was rehired for a second year unless the school had signed something saying they would give her two years or maybe there was a monetary incentive to keep her on staff. Anyone?

  • 475. SoxSideIrish4  |  July 3, 2013 at 12:08 am

    And don’t TFA get their university loans forgiven? yes.

  • 476. CPS Parent  |  July 3, 2013 at 7:47 am

    Unbelievable…. Maybe since all the predictable subjects are being discussed perhaps the “forced breakfast for all” could be maligned again. I’m looking forward to how the “taking valuable minutes away from learning” argument will be reconciled with the “the day is too long” sentiment.

  • 477. anonymous  |  July 3, 2013 at 9:09 am

    @476:the “taking valuable minutes away from learning” argument can be reconciled with “the day is too long argument” when you realize that both the (now truly unfunded) longer day and Breakfast in the Classroom or Morning Max or whatever they are calling it now are heavy-handed, misguided attempts to prescribe the same programs for all schools. Here’s another familiar sentiment for you: one size does not fit all.

  • 478. local  |  July 3, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Parents Outraged Over CPS Budget Cuts at Local Schools
    Posted by Dan Lambert (Editor), July 2, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    The ramifications are stark.

    It’s projected that Cassell Elementary School will have upwards of 42 students in their second and third grade classrooms. Morgan Park High School will cut 17 teachers. Kellogg Elementary School’s budget was slashed by 10 percent. They’ll lose a special education teacher, two and a half classroom teachers and a music teacher.
    Three schools, but the story is the same across the 19th Ward and the entire Chicago Public School System. In the proposed budgets handed down to local schools the resources that were once counted on are slipping away.

    “The new normal for our kids is less than what we had, and that just can’t happen,” said Margaret Laraviere, whose child just completed kindergarten at Kellogg.

    Parents are showing up at local school council meetings and grassroots forums looking for answers, searching for the next steps to take.

    At a Monday evening meeting at Kellogg parents talked about what the cuts will mean for their children and how they can fight them. Pressuring local elected officials, outreach to the media and informing fellow parents were all discussed.

    Kellogg, a school of 269 students, will have a budget $365,000 smaller next year. That equates to about $1,357 less in funding for each student. Courtney Sinisi of Cassell’s LSC says they are loosing $500,000.

    Outraged is the first word that comes to her mind.

    She faught againts the longer school day imposed by CPS and says these proposed cuts just reaffirm the fact that the promises associated with the added minutes never materialized. Her school is set to lose four teachers.

    She hopes they can fight and restore some of the cuts, but this battle is on top of the other issue long-facing Cassell — overcrowding.

    The projections Sinisi has are that next year Cassell will have 41 students in first and fifth grade classrooms, 42 in second and third and a classroom of 38 in fourth grade.

    “That is just not a constructive learning environment,” Sinisi said.

    She has taken it upon herself pay for extra help and tutoring outside of the classroom for her daughter to make up for the shortcomings of her large classroom.

    Some parents are taking even more drastic steps.

    Sue McLaughlin sits on the LSC at Kellogg and is aiding in parents’ efforts to pushback against the cuts. However, she has already made the decision that her daughter will not return to the school for seventh grade next year.

    She says she loves the school and believes in a public education, but the uncertainty caused by constant CPS changes and cuts is just too much to risk.

    Advocacy organization Raise Your Hand Illinois has uncovered almost $84 million in cuts to local school budgets. The number is likely to be hire, but CPS will not release the budget figures in advance.

  • 479. Veteran  |  July 3, 2013 at 9:25 am

    This is very good and I hope someone is listening…

  • 480. local  |  July 3, 2013 at 9:28 am,0,705922.column

    CPS secrecy fuels parental ire over school cuts

    Eric Zorn Change of Subject

    July 3, 2013

    Just to begin to get a handle on how next year’s projected budget reductions will hit individual Chicago public schools, concerned parents and staff members have to go to the website of Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education and click through to see the latest version of a spreadsheet…

  • 481. local  |  July 3, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Love to read Rod Estvan’s comments (from District299 blog):

    Rodestvan said 1 minute ago

    Actually Alexander Wendy Katten from Raise Your Hand and other parents from that organization were major organizers of the opposition to school closings. These parents came from these very middle class north side elementary schools. So I clearly do not agree with your statement “CPS has angered North Side parents who largely stood by during the whole school closings thing you may recall we spent the whole year talking about.”

    Now are these parents going to be more highly mobilized over cuts to their own kids schools, you bet they are. But really for the first time many white middle class parents have locked arms with minority parents from lower income communities to take on the CPS Board. In many ways this is a historic event and these parents who have the resources to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to support their children’s schools have recognized that their schools are not islands.

    Many of these parents are highly skilled professionals who know how to read a budget, who are lawyers, doctors, CFOs, college professors, and on and on. They also vote and they are now looking at our Mayor and his promises of a brighter day for public education in Chicago from a very different perspective. No doubt many voted for Mayor Emanuel and now have real regrets over that decision.

    Austerity has fallen on us and neither the very poor or the middle and upper middle class much like it.

    Rod Estvan

  • 482. local  |  July 3, 2013 at 9:36 am

    I missed this TFA + CPS story (some interesting facts along with the opinion):

    Teach for America gets an extra million dollars while CPS keeps talking about its phony ‘deficit’

    John Kugler – July 02, 2013

    In another clear move that contradicts the Chicago Board of Education’s claims of budget deficits and “over capacity,” in Board Report 13-0626-PR46 passed last week on June 26, 2013, without discussion or objections. The Report outlines the Board’s plans to increase from $600,000 to $1,587,500.00 spending on hiring Teach for America temporary certified teachers. …

  • 483. Even One More CPS Mom  |  July 3, 2013 at 9:37 am

    Does anyone know where I can find a list of the 30 schools that are part of this coalition? The article does not say which schools were involved other than Blaine, Edgebrook and Agassiz.

    “Local School Councils from more than 30 schools have joined a new coalition that publicly rejected draft budgets from Chicago Public Schools on Tuesday morning, calling them inadequate to pay for the education Chicago’s children deserve. ”

  • 484. junior  |  July 3, 2013 at 10:24 am

    @482 local

    Ha ha. After holding our kids’ education hostage for maybe around $400 million per year in contractual raises, CTU reps have no moral authority to comment on a few nickels in the budget.

  • 485. anotherchicagoparent  |  July 3, 2013 at 10:46 am

    The other problem with the breakfast for all was that the company offered bribes to CPS before instilling the program and gaining a mutlimillion dollar contract,now a similar program is expanding to a few more high schools quietly this year.Lincoln Park is one.
    Funny thing right before breakfast in the classroom our elementary school was told NO food in the classrooms as it caused rats,roaches allergies etc,Than viola they were forcing us the next year to implement breakfast in the classroom which by the way we fought and lost.It didn’t last long at our school.We were fine if a school chose to go that route by the way as we do not think a single shoe fits every child.Bell’s position wasn’t that much on time lost as it did occur when attendance was taken and kids were arriving it was more on the unhealthy offerings and the children who attended the school with air borne food allergies,money wasted,the mess it created etc.
    This year at my kids’ HS they were allowed to bring in snacks with the longer day until giant roaches appeared in class.NOW all food is banned again in the classroom.So now my child may not bring in healthier food of his own choosing but more high schools are doing the Working Breakfast????? Grab it on the way in and eat on the go. Bell’s position wasn’t that much on time lost as it did occur when attendance and kids were arriving it was more on the unhealthy offerings and the children who attended the school with food air borne allergies ,money wasted etc.

  • 486. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  July 3, 2013 at 10:49 am

    @450: That is a contract for teacher-intern training, not for teaching. The contract pays TFA to train teachers, not to provide on-their-own classroom teachers.


    In elementary school, according to that table, 20 states had school days averaging 6.5 hours or less and 30 had days averaging 6.6 hours or more. What we really want is the median length of the day. Schools with longer days raise the average and shorter days lower the average. The standard errors are high, so we could have 27 states with 6.5 or less, or we could have 43 with over 6.5. Unfortunately, we are not likely to get medians because researchers really care about instructional time (regardless of length of day or length of school year).

  • 487. anotherchicagoparent  |  July 3, 2013 at 10:50 am

    ah sorry for the deja vu writing at the end..
    483 I know Bell had reps there
    Some schools that were there Kelly,Senn,Solomon,Kellogg,Edgebrook,Murphy,Jamieson,Burley.

  • 488. Falconergrad  |  July 3, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    @441 and @443
    Are you the same person posting under two different names? Sure looks that way to me and makes me more inclined to ignore everything you post.

  • 489. cpsobsessed  |  July 3, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Just read this quote up above. Well said, Rod.

    Austerity has fallen on us and neither the very poor or the middle and upper middle class much like it.

    Rod Estvan

  • 490. cpsobsessed  |  July 3, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    I read Junior’s article about TFA teachers vs regular. In the study, where was no difference between reading and math scores in TFA and regular teachers. In math, TFA out performed, however this included certified and un-certified (ie barely qualified) teachers. Comparing to certified teachers, math scores were the same.

    SO…. one *could* possibly question whether a teaching degree is really required to teach elementary school, or if a several-week TFA training program combined with a good college degree could be enough. (And it does sound like they’ve improved the training a lot, at least in length. Can’t comment on quality.)

    I guess the assumption is that a high-acheiving individuals (ie, ivy league and other “good” colleges) with a short training period are as good as a teacher from a regular school with an Ed degree.

    So it sounds like the grades may not suffer, although logic would indicate that it takes a year or 2 to figure out classroom mgmt, how the school system operates, etc.

    So the benefit comes down to cost savings. Is i worth it to continue a flow of cheap teaching labor at the expense of building experienced staff?

  • 491. tchr  |  July 3, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    Now that every school in CPS is dealing with budget and staffing issues, I am curious how middle to upper class families would feel about their schools letting veteran teachers go to hire new, cheaper TFA teachers? According to this study, the new teachers should do about the same as the veteran teachers? Or is this study only for teachers/scores in poor schools?

  • 492. local  |  July 3, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    Don’t ed students still do student teaching? Well-mentored student teaching is critical.

  • 493. Veteran  |  July 3, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    Generally, ed schools do not send student teachers to “high needs” schools. Maybe it is out of concern for a 22 year in an unfamiliar setting or maybe the university supervisors do not want to deal with going into an unsafe neighborhood. Student teachers are paying university tuition for the privilege of working with a veteran teacher-maybe it is a liability issue.

    I taught in the inner city for 18 years and never saw a student teacher until I transferred to a school in a “safe” neighborhood. TFA teachers are sent to “high needs” schools.

  • 494. cpsobsessed  |  July 3, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    @491 Tchr – that is a really good question.
    Say my son’s school had to slash some stuff from the budget. And say we had the choice of using TFA (as noted, it wouldn’t happen since we’re not a school at an at-risk area, but for sake of argument.) So perhaps the school says that from now on, 2nd grade is going to be staffed with TFA people. Those positions will always pay 1st-2nd year teacher salaries, so that could save tens of thousands of $ per year for the school.
    Research is mixed (this is my impression from Junior’s posting.) Some research shows TFA teachers get worse results, some show the same, a new study even shows better in math.
    Does our school admin get to interview the candidates? They have a pretty good hiring record and if there was some way to get a candidate out to work in a classroom for a day, I would be our principal could actually get 2-3 decent candidates. Of course the selection process would have to be every year or 2, ongoing.

    Conversely, we could get a teacher who is committed to the field, intends to stay, has an education background, and will likely become a part of the school community for the long haul, which helps build stability.

    IF the school simply gets assigned a TFA candidate, it feels a little more like a crapshoot. Classroom skills are the wildcard, plus just general “fit” with teaching which isn’t the career many of these people intend to stay in. On the other hand, classroom mgmt is likely easier in neighborhood where parents will work closely with the school if there’s a problem.

    So, ultimately, it’s feeling like a moot point a little. A TFA candidate would potentially do OK in our school because our school is easier to teach in. I’d prefer staff who is more committed to the profession and the school, but if the school had the choice of using TFA in a few positions in the school to save money and we could screen the candidates, it wouldn’t scare me that much, truthfully.

  • 495. JMOChicago  |  July 3, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    @493, that is not quite true in my experience. Quite a few universities/colleges send their student and new teachers through CPS. Northwestern’s NU-Teach, ISU’s StepUp, NEIU, North Park U, Roosevelt, Depaul, Chicago State….

  • 496. Mom of 3  |  July 4, 2013 at 10:38 am

    From what I understand, Chicago schools, as a whole, have the option of hiring TFA. The entire system is high need, thus the contract with TFA. So yes, any school can choose to hire from this pool if they want to save money.

  • 497. local  |  July 4, 2013 at 10:52 am

    @ 495. JMOChicago | July 3, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    I think SXU and Columbia College teacher programs also send student teachers into high needs (poverty) schools.

    Also, I think the Archdiocese or Catholic schools has its own “TFA” styled program. Know of someone doing it.

  • 498. SoxSideIrish4  |  July 4, 2013 at 11:23 am

    497. local | July 4, 2013 at 10:52 am

    I *think* Archdiocese or Catholic schools hires principals after their 2 yr stint as a TFA teacher in CPS; background/degree has to be business. I believe their Catholic school teachers have degrees in education.

  • 499. tchr  |  July 4, 2013 at 11:40 am

    I don’t know that you understand what the high turnover of teachers EVERY year does to a school.  My school hired 12 new teachers last year.  This year, they are filling another 10 posiitions. Some people that were hired last year were let go, some chose to leave, and a lot of veteran teachers are moving on to better positions.  I am very scared to go back to school this fall. This past year was one of the worst and next year, with so many new staff members, like brand new, fresh from  college or TFA, I expect a lot of extra burden on teachers who know what they’re doing.  Every year, things change. I want school to be stable for my students, and I NEED a stable work environment for myself, my own well-being, my relationship with my boyfriend when I get home from a rough day at school.   Every year there are big changes in staff and it is very hard to develop a team or strong sense of unity when you have different people. 

    Think of the programs your child loves most about his school.  Clubs? Assemblies?  Tutoring?  Field trips?  After school nights?  Rti??? There is a disjoint at my school. Things don’t get done!  Programs that happened one year don’t happen the next because the staff that ran that program leaves.  

    When I think about what I enjoyed about elementary school, I think of Reading and Math nights with my mom, the Book It Reading program, after school art and gym, a carnival, lots of things that happened year after year that all my siblings looked forward to year after year.  

    Schools like mine have teachers and administration come and go after a year or two.  First year teachers trying to work on management and even figuring out what they are supposed to be teaching (we don’t have complete curriculum) don’t have time to be doing extra.  We used to have a great check in/out program for students that needed a little extra adult mentoring throughout the day. The staff member that ran it left.  The program stopped.  We used to have an amazing art teacher that put on an AMAZING art show at the end of the year. She left.  We struggle to hold on to an art teacher for even a full school year.  Etc. 

    In your situation, you said maybe 2-3 positions of TFA teachers. But what if the whole school was full of new teachers.  Maybe 2-3 TFA and the rest under 5 years, and EVERY year the school was hiring 10 new teachers.  

    I don’t know that your school would look the same or would be as appealing if all of your teachers were new each year.    Where is the study to show how stability in a school will lead to a stronger sense of community and higher test scores?   I can’t see how my school will ever get out of this hole when we can’t hold on to teachers- and good ones they are- from year to year. It is depressing to think about having 35 kids next year, higher expectations with less support / resources, and a completely new team to work through this mess.   In a few years, when I am right in the prime of my teaching career, I too will not be able to take the craziness that happens at my school and look for a more stable work environment.  Anyone can do 2 years of choosing to work in craziness, but I know I cannot make a lifetime career of it.   And the families at my school lose out. They have to deal with having 22 year olds experimenting on their kids year after year. 

  • 500. anonymouse teacher  |  July 4, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    tchr, there’s no way I’d let my kids attend a school with the kind of turnover you describe. I know what kind of internal chaos that causes, and I know it is largely hidden from parental eyes. I swear that being a teacher is sometimes a curse of “knowing too much”.

    I do tend to be torn on the alternative certification programs and the quality of people they turn out. I’ve seen them come out on all ends of the spectrum. Right now, I have a colleague that is going through an alternative program while teaching and she’s good. If she sticks with it, she’ll be great in a few years. That said, I’ve seen the same coming from traditional ed schools. Personally, I learned very little in my teacher training (traditional). I’d like to see a completely different kind of teacher prep program, that requires a much longer student teaching or internship (at least 2 years) and I’d also like to see a a GPA minimum for entering a teaching program (somewhere between 3.0-3.5, nothing overly difficult). But, I think its also so important to shore up things on the other end of professional support and that doesn’t really exist in CPS. I think of it the same way I think of what I do in my classroom. Super high expectations with super high support. And at the same time, being realistic, none of this will ever happen in this age of cheap walmart type fixes. Its depressing being a part of CPS. Like you, tchr, and so many of the staff that post, I came to CPS to make a difference, and its painful to see policies put in place that make that harder each year.

  • 501. Falconergrad  |  July 4, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    @499 That sounds terrible. If anyone wants a good book about the importance of stability in schools, try reading The Year of Miss Agnes by Kirkpatrick Hill. It’s a children’s chapter book (fiction, though the author did teach in Alaska) about the impact of a teacher in Alaska. There is a cultural aspect to it that I think can compare to teachers in schools in tough neighborhoods.

  • 502. anotherchicagoparent  |  July 5, 2013 at 10:57 am

    483 a partial list of confirmed schools
    other schools that were there jones, payton,kelly, senn burley, kellogg,

    Bell’s next LSC meeting is at NBGC club(Irving and Campbell) July 9th with the coalition.The coalition is looking for all school’s LSCs to get involved.

  • 503. NBCT Vet  |  July 6, 2013 at 9:07 am

    457 CPS Mommy
    re: deferred pay

    CPS pushed hard in contract negotiations to move away from deferred pay, that is, compensation distributed year-round rather than as it is earned. It was refreshing to hear their rationale for it: they admitted they were professionally incapable of accurately and efficiently managing payroll. That particular department downtown has been a disaster for many years.

    I’m pleased with the elimination of deferred pay, in part because I want to invest and manage my own money as I earn it, in part because CPS has, once again, proven itself totally inept. For many years I was paid accurately less than half the time in CPS. I can’t even begin to tell you how many hours I spent trying to figure out what they screwed up, why, and how to fix it. It was exhausting and frustrating. It’s still a problem in my building and we have the best payroll clerk around to help us through it.

    It’s not rocket science but it is more complex than most people think. Two schedules (Track R and Track E) with employees moving back and forth was especially problematic. Deductions for health insurance, pension, taxes, union dues. Tracking sick days, vacation days, personal business days were routinely a mess and in many cases still are. CPS agreed years ago to pay employees the same amount every two weeks year-round. I’m not sure that’s ever happened to me in my 9 years in the system. That does make for some personal budgeting challenges.

    Also, though the length of the break between the end of school in the spring and the start of school in the summer/fall varies from year to year CPS has always deducted a constant percentage for later payout. The constant deductions in the face of varying time periods during which it must be paid out resulted in problems. For instance, sometimes the deferred money employees received over the summer would run out before the next school year began.

    As we all know CPS is a hot mess in many ways. Payroll is just one disaster among many. I hope eliminating deferred pay and moving to a unified calendar will help straighten it all out. If CPS can get it right the first time it will save time and money spent on figuring out and resolving all their screw ups. And, from a purely selfish perspective, I won’t be so darn aggravated every other paycheck.

  • 504. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  July 6, 2013 at 11:23 am

    The Mathematica study is good because it uses random assignment but it had a relatively small sample (1,900 grade 1-5 students) and it controlled for certification, not years of experience.

    Keep in mind that most TFA teachers do not teach beyond their 2-year stint. The program was set up to get highly qualified BAs who would not otherwise teach to teach for two-years in poor schools and then later advocate for education reform. There has been some argument over how many such grads that would otherwise teach enter the program and that they are the ones that stay on in the classroom beyond 2+ years.

    I don’t know of studies that examine TFA at the HS level.

  • 505. another parent  |  July 6, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    @488 – nope, not the same. I’m guessing that the post would read “CPS Parent” if it was.

    Thanks CPS parent for posting a straightforward logical POV that resonates with other CPS parents.

  • 506. アウトレット 豪華  |  November 2, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    Hi there, I enjoy reading all of your article. I like
    to write a little comment to support you.

  • 507. tchr  |  November 19, 2013 at 11:24 am

    I have been looking around and was wondering if someone can clarify a few things for me:

    Schools get around $6,000 for each student in the school. This was calculated on the 10th day and checked again on the 20th day?

    If a school has a lot of students transfer in past those days, does the school get any extra money?

    Title 1 money is calculated from Lunch forms, right? Again, if students transfer in, does a school get any extra money?

    Does anyone know how much extra money per student schools get from free and reduced lunch forms?? Or this money is secretly split up somehow among the district and not given directly to schools with these populations?

    Trying to make the case for teacher’s assistants in our heavily populated classrooms way over our “28 students max”. Trying to figure out how much extra money my school has and how they are choosing to spend it instead.

  • 508. 2nd grade parent  |  November 19, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    tchr, can’t your Faculty LSC reps help you? They have access to budget info that would provide the ‘top line’ numbers.

    At our school, the principal discloses the Title I funding amount (lunch form $) at the opening meeting of the PAC. (I think it’s required disclosure.) And I believe that she also generally itemizes the areas to which the funds are allocated.

    I don’t believe that any $$ ‘moves/comes with’ those ‘transfer’ students. If so, that would mean that their former school would ‘lose’ the money… and that won’t work if it already was spent. (Hope that makes some sense.)

  • 509. cpsobsessed  |  November 19, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    I agree – I’d start asking some questions at the LSC meeting (in a non confrontational way.). Most LSC are usually desperate for anyone to help interpret the budget so they might welcome your help.
    I believe there was a cutoff day to determine funding based on students but can’t recall when it was.
    I think as of a few years ago the extra $ for low income kids was something like $700 per child.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 510. tchr  |  November 19, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    We don’t have an LSC… Any other ideas on how I can get at that budget??

    It makes sense that money doesn’t follow students midyear, but this is ridiculous with how many students have transferred in during the past month!

  • 511. EdgewaterMom  |  November 19, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    @510 Doesn’t every CPS school HAVE to have an LSC?

  • 512. local  |  November 19, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    @ 510. tchr | November 19, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Why are there so many new transfer students at this point in the year? What’s going on with these students?

  • 513. cpsobsessed  |  November 19, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Charter schools and turnaround schools don’t have LSCs.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 514. JMOChicago  |  November 19, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    In our case, it is because the rental turnover in our neighborhood happens in October/November and we are a neighborhood school. So if families move into the neighborhood in October/November (and many do), we get them.

  • 515. tchr  |  November 19, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    It is a very transient population, like I’d guess a lot of schools on the south and west side. And for some reason, I am getting students who have never been in school and are just starting…

    Is there somewhere online that schools must show their budgets?

  • 516. tchr  |  November 19, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    A lot of homeless families without permanent addresses but staying with aunts or friends or in shelters and then moving on when situations change.

  • 517. Raspberry Ketones 100 Mg  |  March 4, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    The reason you have a hard time loosing weight is not the same as
    your friends. Another morte comical aspect of thee brands popularity is the uuse of a color in the
    name of each product. It is a naturally occurrinhg chemical that is
    found in raspberries which is used in foods, cosmetics andd other products as a fragrance or
    flavoring agent.

  • 518. What is current Per Pupil Funding?  |  May 1, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    What is current Per Pupil Funding for 2013-14? I heard another $250 or so will be added but this will just cover the 2% teacher pay hike and the cost of inflation. However, what is the amount per pupil today?

  • 519. cross rings  |  August 29, 2014 at 8:24 am

    Hi there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my zynga group?
    There’s a lot of people that I think would really enjoy your content.
    Please let me know. Many thanks

  • 520. payday loan  |  September 1, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Aƿpreciate the recommendation. Lett mе try it out.

  • 521. deadbolt Derrick  |  April 6, 2016 at 4:47 am


What do you think?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed




Blog Stats

  • 6,163,382 hits

%d bloggers like this: