The CTU and Budget Thread

February 6, 2016 at 9:46 pm 853 comments

The Scream

I’m trying to write something thoughtful about the current situation about the CPS budget and the negotiations with the CTU.  But I’m generally unaware of what’s going on.  The situation makes me feel like the picture above.  I just can’t see a way out and the situation just seems to get progressively worse.

I know from the Trib that the CTU turned down an offer that:

“would bar economic layoffs and provide some moderate pay increases, sources said last week. It would put a cap on privately run charter schools, although the union noted Monday that a state commission can override the district on charters.

In exchange, union members would have to make concessions that included paying more toward their pensions and health care expenses.”

Karen Lewis, being uncharacteristically gracious, said “There were a lot of things that were great,I’m not going to tell you they weren’t. However, the things that will affect the classrooms the most — especially around the budget — were the ones that were concerning to people.”

Forrest Claypool said “This agreement provided pay raises, guaranteed job security and met the union’s key demands, including restrictions on charter school expansion, raises for seniority in addition to cost-of-living increases, and more classroom autonomy for teachers.”

Teachers were also offered the “step and lane” increases (experience and seniority raises.)

So… I can’t fully tell from the article why CTU turned it down.

Jesse Sharkey said: “When asked ‘is it worth actually taking a pay cut for that?’ people said ‘no way.’ Because the skin that we put in the game is concrete and will definitely be extracted from us, and the skin which they put in the game is something which is abstract, in the future and can’t be guaranteed.”

I’m not fully sure what this means.

There seems to be bigger topics at play.  NBC5 reports:  The union’s 40-member team said the proposal “does not address the difficult conditions in the schools, the lack of services to our neediest students or address the longer-term fiscal crisis that threatens to gut public education in the city.” Members said they have “legitimate distrust” of the district and decided not to send the proposal to the full union for a vote.”

Is the CTU going to overcome their distrust any time in the next decade?  Will the CTU have the power to harness more overall spending for CPS?  It would be great if they could use their influence to do so, right?

And the depressing part is that there’s no money to make this all work.  Education is depressingly underfunding here in American and Illinois.

I just circle back to The Scream.  How will we resolve this??


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853 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Vet Teacher  |  February 6, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    You forgot the poison pill: requiring that 2200 veteran teachers MUST retire or the contract would be reopened. That is 10% of the union. From reading the trolls on blogs like these, we all know that you all want your kids’ education on the cheap and you don’t respect experience. Experience matters. I am an infinitely better teacher in ny 28th year than I was in my 3rd year. So are you at your job.

  • 2. SMK  |  February 6, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    CPS teachers pay nothing toward their lavish (100K + annually for career teachers) pensions. The private companies and private employees who pay their salaries would love to have a pension like this but private companies knew how unsustainable this model was 25 years ago. They also pay $50/ mo for family health insurance with no deductible and minimal Co pays. Most private employees are now paying well over $500 /Mo and higher for health insurance . Paying a lot more for pensions and health insurance are important concessions that teachers must make. Every new teacher should be on 401K only.
    Our property taxes are going through the roof and it’s sad that people living on social security which is now a little over $2,6oo/Mo spend their career funding a CPS teacher retiring on 10K /month!

  • 3. harry potter  |  February 6, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    City homeowners pay significantly less in property taxes then their suburban counterparts when comparing two similarly assessed homes in Cook County. Even with the recent increase, it still doesn’t come close to what needs to be charged. Want a school system comparable to a decent suburb? Get ready to pay more in taxes, a LOT more.
    CPS teachers do NOT pay only $50 for family health insurance. Its closer to $200 for the worst option available. That’s still awesome, but it ain’t 50.
    And as for the 120K a year pension, uh, also false. Its somewhere between 40-60K. Still very good, but nowhere near 120K.

  • 4. cpsobsessed  |  February 6, 2016 at 11:27 pm

    Regarding the Poison Pill: So for CPS to agree to the contract, it requires 2200 teachers (what defines “veteran” status?) to retire this year? I assume this is with full benefits/pension? Or does retiring early have a financial downside?

    What is the general % of salary a CPS teachers gets when the pension pays out? (Just curious as I’m sure it will keep coming up about the big payouts.) If my salary the year I retire is say.. $85K, what would my retirement income be? (this relates to question #1 in terms of retiring early.)

  • 5. WesLooMom  |  February 6, 2016 at 11:43 pm

    I agree with CPSO in that it’s difficult to understand why CTU rejected the contract proposal. It would be great to have a more detailed explanation. On the other hand, it helps to remember that CTU is not an education advocacy group. It’s a labor union. No labor union wants a poison pill.

  • 6. Vet Teacher  |  February 6, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    Depends on age and years. At $85 k, between age 55-60, between 40k ( with 27-30 years of service) and 60k ( with a full 34 years of service). Go to, click on Active Members, click on Monthly Annuity Planner. You can fill in a few blanks and play with the numbers.

  • 7. Mike  |  February 6, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    Everything I’ve read has been vague on exactly how having the most experienced teachers retire would help the situation. My guess is that CPS intends/needs to reduce salary and benefit costs by $x next year and they can do that by having 2200 experienced teachers retire or by laying off upwards of 4000 younger teachers (last hired first fired in a layoff situation). Likely the latter option would cause the classroom situation to implode via increased class sizes. It’s another Hail Mary by CPS similar to the assumptions they will somehow get additional funding from the broke and dysfunctional State. CTU is correct to be skeptical of it all but doesn’t seem to grasp the dire reality of the situation yet. Yet.

  • 8. Vet Teacher  |  February 7, 2016 at 12:20 am

    What I think would happen is that after the vets retired, CPS wouldn’t replace the vets and class sizes would rise anyway. The problem is that 2200 vets aren’t going to retire for an avg $40k payout. No way. That means the contract would be reopened and the board would want more cuts. The public will push me on this point, but Chicago parents should not want this to occur. Experience matters.

  • 9. SMK  |  February 7, 2016 at 12:52 am

    I would love guaranteed 40K/ year for life. Teachers have not had to save 1 penny for their retirement. They enjoy high pay and months of time off. I work all year for 3 weeks off. I work holidays and weekends.
    According to the link previously posted, a teacher earning 100K at the end of 35 years career will earn at least 75-80K per year for life. This does not include their generous health benefits during retirement. This is the very definition of lavish. It is high time that the government sector get in line with the private sector in pensions and health care costs. 25% of our state budget is funding state government pensions. This is not sustainable.

  • 10. Vet Teacher  |  February 7, 2016 at 1:29 am

    Well, you weren’t as smart as I was on the matter. I have earned my money. I could have made more in the private sector, but I liked the security of a pension. This was a major consideration when I decided to teach. I wouldn’t become a teacher if I were 18 today. Only a fool would teach. You don’t need any more evidence than this blog. I teach a career research project and use this blog and others to discourage students from entering this former profession (it is now a bridge job)

  • 11. otdad  |  February 7, 2016 at 5:02 am

    @Vet Teacher:
    “but I liked the security of a pension. This was a major consideration when I decided to teach. I wouldn’t become a teacher if I were 18 today. Only a fool would teach. ”
    You might have entered this profession for the wrong reasons. I’m from a teacher family that goes back 3 generations. I know they chose to be teachers because they love teaching and they are good at it.

    While I support giving teachers the best compensation the society can afford, it becomes quite obvious that it’s not fair to give public employees generous packages we cannot afford. There has to be a middle ground somewhere, it’s not sustainable.

  • 12. robin in wrp  |  February 7, 2016 at 6:58 am

    1) Teachers don’t get social security; they contribute to their pensions and expect to be paid pensions when they retire based on legally binding contracts. If you want to have “the best and the brightest” teachers, they need to be compensated at levels that will keep them out of private industry.
    2) The rejected contract did not guarantee that positions being opened through retirement would be filled; this will lead to more overcrowding, especially in schools with kids whose parents are less likely to advocate on their behalf
    3)The rejected contract had small increases that are less than the additional money teachers would be required to pay into pensions and an increase in payments for health insurance
    4) Society benefits from having well-educated citizens. Education doesn’t happen by accident. Better educated citizens have better jobs, pay more taxes, and don’t require public assistance.
    5) There is a lot of really false information posted here; I’m not going to bother arguing with anyone

  • 13. NWside Mom of 2  |  February 7, 2016 at 8:37 am

    Yes, teachers should have some pension pick-up, they do not get SS- but the benefits for the pension are so much richer.

    Below is the Social security maximum benefit (from the SSI website)
    Maximum Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payment amounts increase with the cost-of-living increases that apply to Social Security benefits. This year there is no COLA, so there will be no increase in SSI payment amounts in 2016. The monthly maximum Federal amounts for 2016 are $733 for an eligible individual and $1,100 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse.

    For CTU (I got this off the pension calculator on the CTU website)
    Retirement Monthly Annuity Planner Results
    You indicated that you would be retiring at age 65 with 40 years of service and a final average salary of $85,000.00. Based on your years of service, your pension percentage would be 75 percent and your total annual unreduced pension would be $63,750.00. This is a monthly benefit of $5,312.50.
    According to the data you entered, you qualify for an unreduced pension.

    As for “private sector”- I truly don’t know what jobs people are discussing there. I know lawyers and finance people who are making significant dollars. They are all degreed from elite schools and have chosen a life with zero work/life balance. Everyone I know with BAs/MAs from good but not elite schools working hard but not 100 hour weeks is making similar or less to what teachers are making, with less benefits. I have been in non-profit work (with a masters degree) in management for almost 20 years. I work 50 – 60 hours per week for what a veteran teacher makes, and pay about 600 per month for insurance. My family members who are CPS teachers work similar hours to me – but do have more time off (fully acknowledge they do some work over summers/ holidays).

    It just seems unsustainable. I don’t know the answer.

  • 14. CarolA  |  February 7, 2016 at 8:54 am

    Most all questions have been answered. The website is a great place to “play with the numbers”. Yes, there will always be those on the high end, but most retiring teachers will fall into the $40,000-$60,000 range. Not complaining, just saying let’s be accurate.
    One thing not addressed (that I can see) is the question from CPSO regarding full pension or reduced. The latest offer included a BONUS. That means for teachers like myself (27 years experience) will NOT get a full pension. I have the age (60) so it won’t be reduced for age, but to get a full pension I have to have 34 years. Others may not have the age so they would be reduced for age and years of service short of 34. The BONUS is lovely, but not a replacement for reduced income if you fall into those categories. Also, it is my understanding that retiree positions would not be replaced therefore creating larger class sizes. As mentioned by others, if the necessary 2200 don’t retire (and I don’t think they would), what then?
    I think the biggest concern for parents should be the lingering echo of special ed cuts. MOST sped students do NOT get their current minutes met right now. I encourage you to check out how much time your child gets on a daily basis. Don’t ask the school….ask your child. Minutes on the IEP don’t usually match the minutes given. Now CPS is talking about cutting that. It’s PARENTS who can make the noise on that….it’s the LAW. Speak up for your child. It will help regular ed classrooms as well. I’m not blaming schools. I’m saying that with the staff we have, it’s just impossible to serve the sped students properly. Counselors/social workers don’t have any time to talk to/help students because they are swamped with paperwork regarding sped students. Our students need someone to listen to them.

  • 15. NWside Mom of 2  |  February 7, 2016 at 8:55 am

    One clarification- the CPS pension dollars above are for pre- 2011 hires. Below is the amount for teachers hired post 2011.

    Retirement Monthly Annuity Planner Results
    You indicated that you would be retiring at age 65 with 40 years of service and a final average salary of $85,000.00. Based on your years of service, your pension percentage would be 75 percent.

    Because the combination of your age and years of service does not meet the criteria for unreduced early retirement, your pension will be reduced by 12 percent. Your annual pension after the age reduction has been taken into account is $56,100.00, which is a monthly benefit of $4,675.00.

    Based on the data you provided, if you qualified for an unreduced pension, your total annual pension would be $63,750.00. This is a monthly benefit of $5,312.50.

    And I do recognize that CPS teachers are choosing to work in challenging conditions, and the great ones could choose to go to some of the wealthier suburbs for easier work conditions. I am grateful every day they make this choice.

  • 16. robin in wrp  |  February 7, 2016 at 9:06 am

    NWside Mom of 2 – The pension is a contractual obligation. MANY teachers chose teaching over private industry, in part, based on the expectation of the pension, A PENSION THAT TEACHERS CONTRIBUTE TO! You don’t get a reduction in your mortgage if your neighbor gets crappy and the value of your home drops; it’s the same concept

  • 17. CarolA  |  February 7, 2016 at 9:40 am

    The pension “pick-up” is NOT a guarantee. This was given to teachers years ago IN PLACE OF a raise. It can be taken away at any time. In a sense, taking away a raise. There were many pension “holidays” were payments were not made. In regards to trust…among many things…CPS did not pay out the contract raise in the last year of the last contract. My understanding is that several things in this proposal are very nice on paper, but allow for the opposite to happen via different language. In other words….same thing called something else (school closures, charter schools, etc.)

  • 18. cpsobsessed  |  February 7, 2016 at 9:48 am

    @16 Robin – teachers DID contribute to the pension, surely. The whole state has – but those contributions are not enough to cover the revised longevity assumptions. That was a fatal flaw in the offer to give these generous pensions. Women were expected to live to what – 76? Now it’s late 80’s, early 90’s. The state should have specified the number of years payout but of course did not. The money just is not there.

    Conversely, YES, it would be great if teachers were paid to lure the best and brightest which would surely improve student outcome. I would rather see that in salary and less in pension promise. That would be more comparable with how the rest of the society now gets paid and is more projectible.

    Overall, I agree with NWSide Mom. It’s fair to give people what they were promised. But it’s not sustainable. SCREAM.

  • 19. Jen  |  February 7, 2016 at 9:50 am

    @9, I think you’ll be hard pressed to find a teacher who is not also saving a significant amount of their paycheck for retirement on top of the pension. My spouse and I used to save 25% of our total income, we now save around 40%. We are both in education outside the city. We do this in case the pension either ends up being reduced somehow or disappears altogether. I understand legally it would be nearly impossible to end current pensions, but I’ve also seen all kinds of companies in my life promise things and then it doesn’t materialize. We aren’t counting on that pension. It will be nice if it happens. Teachers aren’t stupid and they are saving.

  • 20. Jen  |  February 7, 2016 at 9:52 am

    And fwiw, neither my spouse or I work in districts where there is a pension pick up. We make significantly less (think in the 5 figures) than CPS teachers do with the same education and experience. But, in exchange, we have fabulous working conditions. Fabulous.

  • 21. cpsobsessed  |  February 7, 2016 at 9:56 am

    Are pension payments taxed when they are paid out in retirement?

  • 22. robin in wrp  |  February 7, 2016 at 10:00 am

    The biggest issue with the pensions is that the employers (both local and state) neglected their obligations to pay in.

  • 23. cpsobsessed  |  February 7, 2016 at 10:02 am

    Info here about the state’s role in (not) keeping up the pension pool:

  • 24. Vet Teacher  |  February 7, 2016 at 10:04 am

    I am first generation college and just won a state award for teaching in my 28th year. You don’t even know me and you are questioning my motives? Let me ask you this:How do you know if you love your career until you EXPERIENCE it? I know 5th generation teachers who couldn’t carry my gradebook!

  • 25. Jen  |  February 7, 2016 at 10:06 am

    When do layoffs happen? Next week? And then a whole lot more this fall right? I would hate to be a student or a teacher in CPS.

  • 26. cpsobsessed  |  February 7, 2016 at 10:36 am

    I think that taking pension (and even summer vacation) into account then choosing a profession is perfectly valid, if not a very responsible in planning one’s life. Those things matter, a lot. And CPS was promising a good life-long pension which (had it been managed well) is a good financial choice.

    You can’t tell me that everyone in the medical profession would be there without the pay. One could argue that they should do it for the love of helping people.

  • 27. CarolA  |  February 7, 2016 at 10:38 am

    Principals are getting their budget cut numbers tomorrow. Most LSC’s will be meeting with the principal to decide on how those cuts will affect their particular school. It is my understanding each school will decide their own cuts based on the budget cut amount. If no contract is agreed upon, then the 7% pension pick-up will cease and it will begin getting deducted from each teacher’s paycheck by end of month. That will free up money to CPS, but not enough to stop potential layoffs in Fall.

  • 28. CarolA  |  February 7, 2016 at 10:41 am

    By contract, layoffs must be done in a particular order. Temporarily assigned teachers would go first, teachers with low ratings, etc. Some staff members have multiple certificates so it’s possible a 6th grade teacher could be shifted to a gym teacher position mid-year based on certification and so on.

  • 29. Vet Teacher  |  February 7, 2016 at 10:50 am

    Yes, and the CTU will win their unfair labor practices complaint in front of the NLRB because CPS is making a unilateral significant change to the contract during good-faith negotiations. In other words, once again, CPS is negotiating in bad faith. This will accelerate the trigger of a strike. Plan for childcare in mid- to-late March. The Red Sea.

  • 30. CarolA  |  February 7, 2016 at 11:02 am

    Vet Teacher…..I disagree with your strike opinion. I HOPE we don’t strike. Right now, CPS and the State of Illinois are the “bad guys”. Why do we have to add to the mess? We can wait and let the cards play out. That’s what I believe we should do. Most delegates, by nature, are strong-willed. The teachers I have spoken to all wish to avoid a strike no matter what. What did the last strike accomplish? CPS and the State of Illinois are doing a fine job of showing their real colors on their own. We don’t need to point them out. We should not have the “eye for an eye” mentality. You do this so I’ll do that. Did you notice that one day CPS had money to buy out experienced teachers and give minor raises and the day after we said no…..all of a sudden there’s no money and cuts will have to be made. Doesn’t that seem odd to anyone? Talk about we are mad at you so we’ll do this……come on CPS!
    I am a union person, but I think the CTU is wrong for taking a strike vote based on one timeline and now that the game changed they are using that SAME strike vote to possibly strike earlier. That’s just not right. You can’t change the rules in the middle of the game. If CTU wants to go out earlier based on a move CPS took, then CTU should take another vote! I voted to strike with the normal timeline, but I certainly would vote NO to strike now. Take the high ground CTU!

  • 31. Vet Teacher  |  February 7, 2016 at 11:33 am

    I didn’t give my personal opinion on the strike. I was speculating that a strike would occur if the pension pick-up disappears. I would poll your staff two Fridays after the pay cut. I suspect your staff’s opinions will change. We will see.

  • 32. Parent and Taxpayer  |  February 7, 2016 at 11:36 am

    I just don’t see how you make the numbers work here. Independent of the vitriol on both sides, the fact remains that there is $20B debt on the CPS balance sheet. The property tax revenues for Chicago are only $2.3B. The structural deficit is $1B. The recent debt financing — and CPS is now shut out from the bond market — only buys 6 months or so. There have been poor actors on both sides (corruption within CPS, CTU negotiators that knowingly went along with generous salary increases that ignored pension obligations while making them worse) and it makes no sense to only point arrows at one side. Fact is that the system is broke. It is simple finance. Everyone (bondholder, pensioners and taxpayers) needs to do more. The only way to do that is through a restructuring.

  • 33. CarolA  |  February 7, 2016 at 11:37 am

    So when you say….plan for childcare in mid-to-late March…you know that FOR A FACT there will be a strike then? My mistake….I didn’t know that was a FACT rather than an opinion.

  • 34. NWS parent  |  February 7, 2016 at 11:38 am

    I honestly don’t think it’s a question of not having enough money. It’s ultimately a question of what our priorities are. What our government is deciding to spend our tax dollars on. There is never a clear definable bottom line benefit to show the bean counters when you talk about public education. The TIF fund is a perfect example.

    “The mayor also says he’s proud of using TIF money to pay for school construction. But only 8 percent—or roughly $105 million—of TIF spending under Emanuel went toward school projects. That’s far less than the roughly $900 million in property taxes that could have gone to the public schools over the last four years if the TIF districts weren’t collecting the money.

    The big winner in the school funding game is Jones College Prep. The South Loop selective enrollment school is receiving $15.6 million for a new sports field as well as $9.3 million to renovate part of its old building”.

  • 35. Parent and Taxpayer  |  February 7, 2016 at 11:50 am

    @NWS parent: Sure, you can do things differently. But the hole now is simply too deep, no matter what you do. It isn’t like there aren’t other serious challenges facing Chicago. But even if there weren’t you can’t make the numbers work here. If you think differently, I’d love to see your plan. Please show.

    A company in the private sector with this sort of a balance sheet would have been BK years ago….

  • 36. Vet Teacher  |  February 7, 2016 at 11:56 am

    No. Poll your staff AFTER the pay cut. You were the one who just were bloviating about a re-vote on strike authorization. And does “we will see” indicate I was stating a fact? What about that phrase don’t you understand?

  • 37. CarolA  |  February 7, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    I think it’s a given teachers will pay the 7% and I’ve said that all along even when CTU said they wouldn’t budge on that. I agree that the private sector doesn’t get that perk. That being said, please acknowledge that it will be a return of a raise given years ago. Please also acknowledge that our medical will go up just like everyone else’s and that just like Parent/Taxpayer said….the hole is just too deep. What else can city and state do? It cannot be entirely on the backs of teachers alone. Can city and state justify their talk? As the saying goes….talk comes cheap. What’s the reality?

  • 38. cpsobsessed  |  February 7, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    To clarify, South Loop is no longer selective enrollment. Current options grades will phase out year by year, so it operates as a neighborhood school going forward.

  • 39. neighborhood parent  |  February 7, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    CPSO – I feel your scream.
    I agree fully with many of the points above…. and have learned from a few of them that help me understand the screaming in my head.

    Our family has spent 6 wonderful years at a neighborhood school… here’s what I”ve learned…

    *tenure doesn’t of guarantee instruction quality. There are good/bad teachers at all tenure levels.

    *The union can’t represent the interests of student & parents… they have a responsibility to their constituents (rightly so). The parents of Chicago are generally not represented and ‘not at the table’. These kinds of negotiations would be different if they were tri-lateral not bi-lateral (union vs. mayor)

    *the pension pick-up CTU talking point is a false representation when the teachers say they are receiving a “pay-cut”. If I fund my 401K by diverting money from my weekly pay, I can’t call that a pay cut.

    *The Bankruptcy process is going to be much worse for teachers and students than any ‘budget tightening/cutting’ now. Maybe if I had a future kindergartner I would take the long view on this… but I don’t.

  • 40. Slow_Nerve_Action  |  February 7, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    “Education is depressingly underfunding here in American and Illinois.”

    No, it isn’t- it is right in line with where it should be on a GDP Per Capita basis:

    We spend 5.6% of our GDP on public education, higher than the 5.3% average that other highly developed nations spend:

    Much like health care in the US, we can argue that the problem isn’t the amount being spent, but the inefficient manner that it is being spent.

    I would argue that we (as a country) often spend a lot of money on suburban education, where the next dollar spent would not do as much good as it would if aimed at certain urban(or rural!!) districts. Think about all the money we have found out was being wasted in the Lincoln-Way school debacles. Public education dollars should be spent on kids, not converting barns for dog training programs.

    The CTU could have joined forces with CPS and really taken the issue of school funding to Rauner/collar counties/Springfield. I would imagine there could be a really good court case there, and it looked like that was where we heading this fall.

    Instead, CPS leadership saw blood in the water with Rahm in regards to the McDonald shooting, and changed course. The enemy all of a sudden became CPS again, and not the state. This will make it easy for Rauner to play divide and conquer, and why a CPS bankruptcy will be declared by year-end.

  • 41. Vet Teacher  |  February 7, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    Your 401k argument is hogwash. You get the 401K money when you retire. It is a pay cut that hits teachers twice: in their paychecks now, and in their pensions later. Carol, you will get your one vote after the strike. The strike vote is in the hands of the delegates now. Your colleagues authorized it by 93%.

  • 42. CarolA  |  February 7, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    It’s a pay cut only in the sense it was previously done for us at the expense of CPS. It’s considered earnings, but we never saw it. It got diverted for us. If I have to start putting the whole 7% in myself, then YES it will result in a lower paycheck for me. It will now come out of my bottom line. Now I will pay for the pension rather than CPS doing part of it for me. We could go back and forth and I definitely see your point, but when CTU refers to a pay-cut, I believe they are focusing on the bottom line. If things go the way they are heading, then YES, my paycheck in March will be less. The money will be in my pension. I didn’t “lose it”. But those who might live paycheck to paycheck will have to adjust. If you decide to fund your 401K, it’s a decision you made for yourself. CPS didn’t make it for you. When I decide to invest in 403B’s, that’s my decision. I can take more or less out of my paycheck depending on my current situation. This is not adjustable. Yours is.

  • 43. cpsobsessed  |  February 7, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    I don’t understand the pension pick-up. So as a starting point so we can discuss, can someone clarify the facts?

    Trib says “The offer would include a phase out of the district’s longstanding practice of picking up 7 percentage points of the 9 percent pension contribution required of teachers. New hires would have to pick up their entire share of pension costs right away. Last year, the district ended the practice for its nonunion workers.”

    Is this correct….?
    So being a union teacher means SOMEBODY has to pay 9% of the salary into the pension pool.

    Currently, CPS pays 7 of the 9% (or ~3/4 of the pension payment.)
    CPS wants to phase this out over time (not sure the time frame but down the road I assume teacher would pay it all.) New hires pay all right away.

    Does this mean that currently 2% of a teacher’s salary goes into the pension fund but the goal is 9% will go into it? (So this is sort of a forced-401K payment for the teacher that would otherwise have been picked up by CPS.) Correct?

  • 44. CarolA  |  February 7, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    In regards to parents not be represented at the table…..parents have a big say on budgets for their individual schools. That’s the job of the LSC. There are only two teachers in that group who tend to get out-voted most times. I know that’s not the same as having a say city-wide as it affects your household taxes, etc, but keep in mind most teachers live inside the city. So I am paying through my taxes as well as my paycheck. That’s a choice I made. I’m not complaining about it, just putting the information out there.

  • 45. cpsobsessed  |  February 7, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    CarolA, I think you just explained it while I was typing 🙂

  • 46. Slow_Nerve_Action  |  February 7, 2016 at 12:34 pm


    Funny how CTU doesn’t mention the money from the pension holidays was used to pay for their 4.2% annual raised from 1998 to 2012.

  • 47. cpsobsessed  |  February 7, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    It does feel like a pay cut to me.

    But… that also assumes that retirement money is part of pay, which is not currently the case for most Americans. Not saying this is the way it should be, but it is.

    The other issue is that if I were a teacher, I’d have NO confidence in the money I put in the pension, given the history. With a 401 K, that money is mine to manage (for better or worse.) I wont blow the way CPS did. On the flip side, it runs out when it runs out… I don’t have a (theoretical) guaranteed income until I die.

    So not sure where I net out on this, but the fact is that CPS can’t keep funding these generous pensions so a gradual phase out seems to make sense to me. So I guess I’m in favor of it?

  • 48. harry potter  |  February 7, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    Teachers paying the entire 9% is pretty much a given no matter what happens. I think many people feel there shouldn’t be a pension regardless because it also costs the city an additional 9% for each teacher to fund it. Plus, its so badly in the hole, it might not make it at all or teachers may end up with only about 50% of what they were expecting. I can tell you that as a teacher who has years in CTPF and years in TRS, even my financial advisor has finally advised me, after a year or two of playing “wait and see” that I roll over my CTPF funds into my TRS (they have reciprocity).
    Even though TRS is badly off as well, CPS as an entity is such a liability and bankruptcy is so likely, that at this point TRS is a safer bet than CTPF. Again, this is why most of us teachers, regardless of being in city or suburbs, save high percentages of our incomes on top of pension contributions. If the system or systems go broke, they have to return our portion of the contributions to us, but that is far less than what we’d get in an actual pension.

  • 49. CarolA  |  February 7, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Good point CPSO. No confidence…which is why most teachers also have deductions into 403B plans. As proposed in the latest contract offer, there would be a phase in/out (depending on which side you are on) at certain percentages each year for the next 2 or 3 years. I can’t remember if it was 3.5% each year for the next two years (nothing this school year since we are at the half way point) or something like 3, 3 and 1. In any case, it would be over a short period of time. There were slight pay raises offered to offset some of the “hit”. But again, where is that money coming from and a “raise” was taken away from us before so……
    Slow-nerve: I feel your frustration, but we’ve never denied having pay raises. We are public employees. Everyone knows our business. Look up our names and you can see what we all make per year. It’s all a matter of honoring your word. CPS can’t say one thing and act like they’ve paid this 7% forever. They act like they’ve done it for too many years and it’s time to stop. We only bring it to the attention of the public so they aren’t misled. You can’t change the past. Let’s move forward. If that means we pay the 7%, then so be it. However, that won’t solve CPS’ problems and that’s what the CTU is arguing. Promise me the moon, but how are you going to capture it? Reminds me of a story I read with my children. Moral: Good ideas, but not thought through.

  • 50. CarolA  |  February 7, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    7%….we already pay 2% which makes a total of 9%. CTPF and CPS work independently of each other. CPS does not control CTPF.

  • 51. harry potter  |  February 7, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    Correct Carol A. I was referring to CPS teachers moving from paying 2% as they currently do to paying the entire 9% as is projected they’ll do in any future contracts. Does that make sense?

  • 52. CarolA  |  February 7, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    I’m laughing because I can’t stop thinking about how often teacher raises keep coming up…..DON’T FORGET YOU GOT RAISES FOR THIS YEAR AND THAT YEAR. Here’s my thought on that… recently as today’s SunTImes and an email to all employees this past week…Claypool continues to talk about how many gains Chicago students have made in recent years and how far we’ve come with test scores,etc. How does he think that happened? It’s teachers working with less and still managing to do more. Simple math…..we are working harder. If you were working harder each year and having less to work with, then your boss appreciates your efforts and offers you a raise for it… many of you would say…..I know our company is struggling so I’ll pass on the raise. Not many I don’t think. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, I’m just saying don’t keep pointing fingers at us for taking a raise. Not many people would pass up a raise when they are working hard.

  • 53. Vet Teacher  |  February 7, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    Chicago is not Detroit and pensioners only got a 4.5% haircut. Rahm,bankstas, and taxpayers had better get together and decide if they value the education of their students. Quit blaming teachers. BTW, let me school you trolls with a little pension history. When the constitutional protections were enacted in the the early seventies, the IL pension systems were only 40% funded- almost exactly what they are funded today. The CTPF is 52.6% funded, after a decade of pension holidays.

  • 54. robin in wrp  |  February 7, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    Look at it this way. Think of Congress passing a law allowing employers to deduct their share of Social Security from their employees’ paychecks.

  • 55. robin in wrp  |  February 7, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    West Rogers Park Community Organization presents

    REALLY!! Where Is the Money for C.P.S.?

    A Civic Forum on Education in Chicago


    •What are the issues in the current contract negotiations
    •Is a teacher strike possible?
    •How we can support our public schools
    •Revenue and how “broke” is Chicago really
    •What is behind all this talk about bankruptcy?

    A Panel Discussion with Questions and Answers afterwards:
    •Dr. Stephanie Farmer, Roosevelt University
    •Erica Clark, Parents for Teachers
    •Martin Ritter, Chicago Teachers Union
    •A Representative from Raise Your Hand
    •A Representative from Chicago Public Schools

    February 11, 2016 • 7:00 PM–8:30 PM
    Community Room of Devon Bank • 6445 North Western Ave.

    For information contact

  • 56. Parent and Taxpayer  |  February 7, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    @ Vet Teacher: no, we are not Detroit. We have a much richer and more vibrant tax base. We also have many times the debt, even on a per capita basis

  • 57. NWside Mom of 2  |  February 7, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    I am saying this genuinely asking – but my understanding is that CPS still picks up 9% in the proposed equation. The shift is the additional 7% cps is currently picking up based on prior negotiations that would shift back to teachers- CPS will continue paying a portion. Am I understanding wrong – entirely possible- please correct me if I am.

    I am still a little stuck on the current monthly pension most that CPS teacher will get is between $4,000 – $6,000, as opposed to the top SS monthly income I could receive of aprox $750. There are many things not fair to teachers going on, but I can’t wrap my brain around that differential. Fully agree many funding structures and priorities are broken to get us here.

  • 58. Vet Teacher  |  February 7, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    Finland is #1 in the world in education 15 years running. They fund poor school AND immigrant districts at 133% the rate of the more affluent districts. IL funds CPS at 73%. It is time for equitable funding for our students. There is institutional racism in IL because our students happen to be black and brown. 66% of downstate and suburban teachers pay 0% into their TRS pension system. Chicago taxpayers are being double-taxed to pay for this inequity. Yet, the trolls on this board don’t even whisper about this. Where is the outrage?

  • 59. CarolA  |  February 7, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Currently CPS pays 7% of the 9%. Teachers pay the other 2%. CPS wants teachers to pay the 7% they are now paying for us so that we will pay the entire 9%.
    If you will only get $750 a month from SS, then you didn’t work much in the system. My hubby retired with a SS monthly income around $2000. He also gets a union pension from a private system. Therefore, he gets both.

  • 60. CarolA  |  February 7, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    I didn’t think of this until right now, but my hubby and I are a perfect example of public vs private sector. My hubby chose a profession that offered a pension plan paid for by the employer as part of his compensation. He also contributed to Social Security. Now in retirement, he gets both totaling about $4000 monthly less taxes/medical insurance. I worked and made SS contributions in my youth, but not enough to get a benefit. I am entitled to half of my hubby’s, but I have a public pension offset so I’ll get peanuts, if any. I’ve heard it’s just enough to pay for the Medicare premium. But something is better than nothing. On the other side, I get a much bigger pension. It will be about $4000 monthly less taxes, etc. So in the end, we both make about the same. Public vs private….we all make choices in life and that determines how we survive during our retirement years. This is the path we chose. If you don’t work for a place that offers a retirement plan, then you have to make one of your own. Again, choices we make.

  • 61. Wendy  |  February 7, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    As a parent and someone who has been following this mess closely for 6 years at Raise Your Hand, I think there are ways to get out of this, but they are not going to come from one source or entity.

    The CPS and CTU are continuing to bargain, and I am avoiding viewing this a “CPS vs CTU” war because no matter how the contract ends up, the district is still going to be short hundreds of millions of dollars, and we need a comprehensive approach to solving that.

    What else can CPS cut? We follow the contracts they approve at monthly board meetings. We think there’s around $140M in contracts that are non-essential, that they could be trying to cut. Are they looking into this? We have no idea. There’s not a lot of transparency there.

    State – has been discussing a new funding formula for education. How will CPS fare? We don’t know yet because there is supposedly a new bill that’s not been shown to the public. Unfortunately, without adding new revenue to an ed funding bill, there’s probably not going to be a huge gain for CPS. There are all kinds of potential revenue sources at the state level (See Voices for IL Children/the Responsible Budget Coalition) but we are stuck with a Governor who obviously isn’t too revenue friendly right now. We should still be pushing our state legislators for revenue. The state is last or second to last in the nation for what they kick in to education. This leaves the onus on local districts, which causes great inequity around the state. Chi does have a lower property tax rate than much of the rest of the state, but the rates are overall high state-wide mainly because our state doesn’t do it’s part in bringing in sufficient revenue for services.

    City- what kind of sustainable revenue can they provide? We are pushing for a TIF surplus right now as a short-term fix to get through the budget crunch, but this isn’t a sustainable stream.

    We need all parties to kick in. The borrowing is outrageous but it’s the result of years of avoiding the structural deficit, and even if the teachers had kicked in more of the pension pick up, the city avoided their payment for years and the state avoided paying into CTPF as they “intended”” to do since the late 90s. We can’t undo any of that. A state takeover would be a disaster given that Bruce Rauner has gone on record as saying he’d like to “blow up” CPS and create small networks of competing contract schools.

  • 62. Troll  |  February 7, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    @Veteran Teacher, you know what “troll” means, right? Hint, it’s NOT just someone who disagrees with your beliefs on a message board.

    (This is why being a teacher with 28 year experience isn’t all you’re crowing about. It also means being less relatable to young students by understanding the current lingo.) See… now I am “trolling.”

  • 63. cpsobsessed  |  February 7, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    Thanks for the info on the forum, Robin.

  • 64. cpsobsessed  |  February 7, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    And please stay civil, everyone…. 🙂

  • 65. Vet Teacher  |  February 7, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    To this board: How’s the state takeover working for Detroit? Deplorable conditions with the Gov. moving Darnell Early (Flint water) to Detroit Public Schools … He recently resigned and will be pleading the 5th before Congress. Rauner is right of Snyder.

  • 66. cpsobsessed  |  February 7, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    @Carol- you guys chose well. Can you adopt me? 🙂

    Do you mind saying what general field your husband works in? I thought those nice pensions were phased out over time, except in some fields. Do new employees just out of college now get the same pension set-up?

    My sister works in insurance, where a lot of unions are covered, so she still has a nice pension plan. I worked in advertising where it was phased out in the late 90’s.

  • 67. One and Only  |  February 7, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    Much of this conversation is focused on the pension pick up, which is a huge problem to be sure. However, as stated before, the teacher retirement clause of the proposed contract is a huge part of why the contract was rejected. If the projected number of teachers didn’t retire, CPS reserved the right to re-open the contract. There is so much mistrust right now, I think the delegates felt this put the teachers/clinicians and the City in a very precarious position. Everyone would be right back where we started.

  • 68. Vet Teacher  |  February 7, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    Really. It seems like the TROLL is speaking about MY business. Dear Troll: You’re all up in my Doritos, but it’s NACHO cheese.” That’s just one of my originals. Let it marinate! How’s that for relatable, Troll?

  • 69. Cheryl  |  February 7, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    CarolA: All government workers are barred from collecting both SS & pension. (Politicians were preventing double dipping) Some people do get a portion of their SS if they have a ton of SS credits – but they are far and few.

    Slow_Nerve_Action: CPS did NOT have the money to put into the pensions which is why they worked to get the pension holiday. And they didn’t save a dime to make up for what was owed from the ‘holiday’.

    The 7% pension pickup was agreed to back in the 80’s so that CPS would not need to deposit owed money for the IL payroll taxes. They deduct from your paycheck a specific amount to pay direct to IL on your behalf. To lesson the amount they owed back then, it was agreed (by all parties) to lower the taxable amount of the paycheck and place a specific amount, 7%, in the pension. This was put in the contract and CPS never renegotiated this item, hence it stayed in the contract.

    Now CPS has decided what parts of the present contract it will follow and which parts they say is null and void because the contract has expired. That is not good labor relations. Nor is taking the lies to the media. What Claypool has not included in his media releases is the fact that over 2,000 staff members MUST retire by June, 2016. If the numbers don’t match, the contract is taken back to the table. Would you have agreed to such a condition?

    I highly recommend you check out Troy LaRaviere’s take on this:

  • 70. Cheryl  |  February 7, 2016 at 2:43 pm

  • 71. harry potter  |  February 7, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    @68, there are states where one can collect social security and their pension. Illinois happens to be one where its not allowed.

  • 72. CarolA  |  February 7, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    @40Vet: It was authorized using a different timeline. It was never asked….if the game changes would you be willing to strike sooner and break the legal timeline? Let’s follow protocol. Just because CPS does something illegal does not mean we should. Even if we go to court to get legal authority…is that how we want to spend our money? I think not. Again, changing rules in the middle of the game without another vote. Maybe the result would be the same. Maybe not. But at least we would be able to have a vote on the EXACT action, not a changed action. Take the high road.

  • 73. Patricia  |  February 7, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    What a mess and “scream” is spot on how I feel. Below is an article that gives interesting info. i chuckled with the teacher edited version of the CPS letter. There is also a chart that shows step/lane, annual raise and pension pick up phase out. I may be missing something, but it seems like a sweet deal given the economic situation and the fact that even social security is keeping COLA flat. It looks like teachers end up with a net gain even after pension pick up is transferred back to the teachers.

    I also understand that part of the “deal” was to raise property taxes ANOTHER $200 million. While Rahm leaked this thought a month or so ago as a condition for teachers to pay the pension pick-up, as a taxpayer I am pissed and insulted that this fact has been glossed over. There already has been a HUGE spike to partially cover police and fire. The services in Chicago are nowhere near the level of the surburbs in any department. The overall tax burden on Chicagoans is rediculous when looked at in total. “Scream” seems to sum it up well.

  • 74. Patricia  |  February 7, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    cpso, I think you asked about taxing retirment income? In illinois, my understanding is yes at a federal level, but NO on the state level. I think taxing retirement income is one of the host of revenue options the state can pursue—-if the state leaders—meaning Madign and to a lesser degree of power Rauner—actually can get anything done. Dysfunctional any way you slice it.

  • 75. Patricia  |  February 7, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Also, I think it is awful to try to force retirement. That is a crappy thing no matter how it is positioned. Was a retirement incentive offered? I know this was done with a sliding scale when pensions went bust in the public sector 30ish years ago.

  • 76. Vet Teacher  |  February 7, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    That OPINION is laughable. Your boy Rauner needs a simple GOP majority before BK is even on the table. There is a democratic super majority. See New Jersey if you want a roadmap. ROTFLMAO.

  • 77. Wendy  |  February 7, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    IL does not currently tax retirement income.

    I am not sure how the $200M property tax levy could be in the contract given that CPS can’t raise the cap on property taxes without a voter referendum or a bill in Springfield. A bill is unlikely as the Dems don’t have a supermajority on revenue issues and the Governor is looking to cap property taxes. Unfortunately, the recent property tax hike doesn’t apply to CPS.

  • 78. robin in wrp  |  February 7, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    You can’t compare Suburban services to City Services. Chicago has tens of thousands of visitors: tourists, students and employees, who use our services daily; the suburbs don’t have this burden. Additionally, most suburbs don’t provide services for the homeless, and those living in abject poverty.

  • 79. Patricia  |  February 7, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    @77 Wendy. I wonder if the $200 million property tax increase was part of the “promises” the CTU did not trust? It was part of the negotiation from what I understand. My point was that there is not much transparency on the deal and it seems like it was an unaffordable deal. It also seems crazy to ask so many teachers to retire.

    @78 Robin. If you do not want to compare services (which I understand your point), then property taxes should not be compared either as #3 above stated. I should have listed the post I was referencing. That said, city services are overstaffed and under deliver—-on this I do not mean teachers as schools have been cut to the bone on personnel and other costs. Other city and county departments have not been touched. Three years to trim a tree, just one of the plethora of poor service examples.

  • 80. Wendy  |  February 7, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    For anyone who wants to read up on potential state revenue options, Voices for IL Children has a good report:

    Click to access Avoid-Cuts-Choose-Revenue-Full-Report.pdf

    I know that a lot of people would like this to be sorted out without having to talk taxes, but there’s no way to cut our way out of this mess, no matter what the ctu ends up agreeing to on the contract. Am trying to remain hopeful that they’ll reach an agreement, but the deficit still won’t be sorted out.

  • 81. robin in wrp  |  February 7, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    Patricia – exactly! Last fall, the city replace a tree on our parkway. There were SEVEN people to plant one baby tree!!

  • 82. Patricia  |  February 7, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    @81 Robin

    Yep, lots of revenue options and I have my personal favorites of taxing retirement income, sales tax and restoring some of the income tax. I also believe better management and efficiency are important in government. Too much waste. No movement to date on anything, but I truly appreciate you and your group pushing change. I personally hope Madigan looses his election coming up.

  • 83. Jen  |  February 7, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    I don’t think there are that many teachers close enough to retirement to do it. The building I came from had 41 teachers. Of those 41, 33 of them were under the age of 35. 6 were under the age of 45, 2 teachers were between age 46-55. Not one teacher had enough years to retire. The one nearest to retirement needs to work to age 60 to get her years on based on her particular situation. While I’m sure there are other schools that may be more top heavy, CPS in general is very bottom (youth) heavy.

  • 84. Patricia  |  February 7, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    Oops—correction, I meant “service tax” not “sales tax” in post #82. I have sales tax on the brain as every day close to 11% gets tacked onto every purchase thanks to the Toni Preckwinkle tax or as lovingly referred to by overburdened taxpayers the “Toni Tax:.

  • 85. CarolA  |  February 7, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    @66CPSO: Sorry for the delay. Had to stop to grade papers and write lesson plans……just kidding (thought we could use a laugh by now). Hubby is in a labor union. Mental stress (mathematical computations) AND physical stress (back-breaking work to fix the problem). He pays high medical premiums but in return gets outstanding coverage. As with everything…pay on one end or the other…bottom line…it has to be paid. So CPS needs to find a way to pay for things BEFORE they start making promises.

  • 86. CarolA  |  February 7, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    Cheryl: LOVE the principal article you referenced. Too bad all principals can’t see that clearly. Thanks for sending it along.

  • 87. robin in wrp  |  February 7, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    Patricia – take that back! The only thing standing between Gov Ruiner going full Gov Snyder is Mike Madigan!

  • 88. robin in wrp  |  February 7, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    Also, taxing service providers will put many health care providers and other small businesses out of business; I work for a sole practitioner, and we have a family handyman business.

  • 89. Patricia  |  February 7, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    @87 Robin, Madigan is an integral part of the mess — past, present and future. He is and has been THE power broker. NOTHING happens without him. He has literally shaped Illinois (physically, legislatively and procedural) to serve him and his party. The people get lost in Madigan’s equation.

  • 90. Wendy  |  February 7, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    @88- I don’t believe the proposal includes professional services. Here’s a good article from Crain’s about it. This would yield over $2B for the state:

  • 91. robin in wrp  |  February 7, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    We were told by the City Small Business Services office to expect to start charging sales tax in 2017 (for the handyman business, not the Medical practice

  • 92. Jen  |  February 7, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    This is a good start:

  • 93. HSObsessed  |  February 7, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    Just wanted to correct some mis-information posted way earlier in the thread about the timing of a possible teachers’ strike. When the CTU negotiating team rejected the CPS offer on February 1st, it started a clock ticking of 105 days, before which a strike cannot take place. This is the time required for both parties to try to work something else out first. So, the earliest a strike can occur this year would be mid-May.

  • 94. Marketing Mom  |  February 7, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    We are so deep in debt I don’t really see any way out of this besides bankruptcy. At least Rauner has a plan. What is Rahm’s plan? Oh yes keep borrowing more money at high interest rates to keep kicking the can down the road. That how we got in this place.

  • 95. Vet Teacher  |  February 7, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    Nope. If CTU files an unfair labor practice and wins, that will trigger a strike in mid to late March.

  • 96. Lanisha J  |  February 8, 2016 at 6:36 am

    Chicago and Illinois are broke. They are over $200 billion in debt including unfunded liabilities. The options are a new contract significant pay and benefit cuts or bankruptcy with significant pay and benefit cuts. Public sector unions have bankrupted most of the nation’s cities and towns. And what does Chicago have to show for all of these money paid out? One of the worst school systems in the country. Sit back and enjoy the show. If you want a preview, see Detroit.

  • 97. Parent and Taxpayer  |  February 8, 2016 at 7:56 am

    An interesting, objective piece on the recent CPS bond offering written without a partisan slant but cognizant of political and financial realities. It is a must read on this issue.
    View at

  • 98. Patricia  |  February 8, 2016 at 10:04 am

    FYI–part of the CTU negotiation did include yet another property tax increase of $170 million, regardless of what Springfield does. See link to Sun Times article below.

    “As part of the teachers contract unanimously rejected by the Chicago Teachers Union’s 40-person bargaining unit, Emanuel promised to raise property taxes by $170 million for teacher pensions whether or not the state does its part.

    That’s the last thing aldermen want to do after approving a $588 million property tax increase in late October for police and fire pensions and school construction.”

  • 99. cpsobsessed  |  February 8, 2016 at 10:12 am

    What would be the basis for the unfair labor practice filing?

  • 100. arghhh  |  February 8, 2016 at 11:04 am

    Something has to be done. I have to pay for my three kids to go to private school because the CPS school in my area is worse than terrible. Teachers pay 2% of their pensions when public sector workers across the country pay 9%. Teachers are paid what I am paid (or more), BUT they receive a whole heap of holidays and summer vacation and pay $200/month for healthcare when I pay $600/mo with worse coverage. And worst of all, I have to hear about their tales of woe all the time. The teachers on my street (who I am friends with and choose not to engage with when this topic comes up) brag about their 6 figure salaries (I make 70K) and rail against the system. Really? The system is bad, but so are you.

  • 101. arghhh  |  February 8, 2016 at 11:16 am

    The 2200 “close to retirement” teachers have to go because their salaries are so inflated. CPS will try to hire new teachers without the crazy salaries and hopefully reign in the automatic pay raises of 3%. My last pay raise was 0.5%. Do you think CPS wants to have teachers with less experience? No they don’t. They need the money. They don’t have a choice. What scares me so much is why teachers don’t see all of this. You’re smart … start putting yourself in CPS’s shoes. Why do Charter school exist? Why will they create more? Because the CPS teachers’ salaries and contracts are too expensive. Does CPS want Charter schools? NO. They are just doing what they have to do to pay the bills. The supply and demand is out of whack. There is a supply of teachers who will work for private sector aligned pay. CPS is just trying to hire these teachers so that they can pay their bills. When supply and demand are out of whack, it will align itself somehow. CTU is going to lose … will they take our CPS children with it.

  • 102. RyanF  |  February 8, 2016 at 11:22 am

    “Why do Charter school exist? Why will they create more? Because the CPS teachers’ salaries and contracts are too expensive. Does CPS want Charter schools? NO. ”


  • 103. arghhh  |  February 8, 2016 at 11:45 am

    It’s a good point. If I had to deal with CPS teachers and CTU, I would want charter schools as well.

  • 104. We do get it...  |  February 8, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    As a long time CPS teacher who left the profession….people need to understand that we were hired under a contract that promised us certain things…pension, benefits, etc. It is certainly not the fault of the teachers that CPS has had a revolving door of inept people running the show. I firmly believe CPS HAS the money – they just have yet to ever spend it properly on the things that matter. Additionally, had CPS and the city not spent all of the pension payments or just not paid the bill perhaps they would not be in this situation. It was not a surprise to them that suddenly they owed pension money – it was part of a contract they were involved in! They just chose to spend the money on people like BBB and other cronies that used teacher money to get their friends rich.

    Please stop blaming the teachers for the mismanagement of the money. They money is there – they don’t get a choice how it is spent. Shame on people for blaming teachers.

  • 105. luveurope  |  February 8, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    104. I’m not blaming the teachers for the current mess. BUT going forward it’s time for teachers to get real and fund their own retirement, 401k folks in the private sector.

  • 106. parent  |  February 8, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    @104: “The money is there — they [teachers] don’t get a choice on how it is spent.” That misunderstanding among teachers is one of the biggest problems in this debate. I’m sorry, but you are incorrect.

    CTU approved the pension holidays, in exchange for raises for teachers. CTU *DID* have a say in how the money was spent.

    I love my kids’ teachers. It makes me so sad they have been misled and manipulated by CTU leadership for such a long time. Please, understand that everyone in the world would side with CTU if what you are saying were true. But it is not. CTU, like Daley and Madigan and CPS, are *ALL* to blame for this fiscal mess. That is why so many of us think that it is fair for CTU to make some concessions now. You don’t have the moral high ground. Please take some responsibility.

  • 107. cpsobsessed  |  February 8, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    @104 – totally agree with you on all counts… except I don’t know if I believe that CPS has the money. I know there was money spent on some stupid spending (BBB had a nice salary and the Supes thing was a full on farce.) Whether it were BBB or a well qualified (non crooked) CEO, the pay would be the same and valid for that position given the size of the district.

    But things like that don’t account for all the money that would be needed to cover the pension obligations.

    I don’t see how “the money is there.” I don’t believe it is. We need a lot of money to make up for the past and future pension payments.

  • 108. HSObsessed  |  February 8, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    @99 CPSO – I would guess that the only basis for an attempted CTU claim of unfair labor practice would be “refusal to bargain in good faith” (the other potential bases listed by the IL labor relations board don’t seem to apply).

    However, I think the CTU would be hard pressed to argue successfully that the city is not bargaining in good faith, given that in the days before the CTU rejected the offer, they called it a “serious offer”, and even subsequently, I remember hearing Karen Lewis on WBEZ saying something along the lines of “there are a lot of good things in there”.

  • 109. Parent and Taxpayer  |  February 8, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    I am empathetic for 104, but the money is NOT there. The system has $20BILLION debt, a $1BILLION structural deficit. Shut out of the bond market and liquidity for a few more months at best. Please download the most recent CPS balance sheet and look for yourself. I am not blaming individual teachers for it — not at all although the CTU is certainly not blameless — but if the state wasn’t so dysfunctional this would have been seized years ago. It is bankrupt — and it fits clearly within the definition behind the statute. I don’t know why this is so hard for people to understand. It is math.

  • 110. Mia L.  |  February 8, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    @100….”brag about their 6 figure salaries”….according to the pay schedule for regular teachers…you must have at least 15 years and a PHD to make a six figure salary WHICH INCLUDES the pension pickup. Seriously, the exaggerations and blatant spreading of wrong information on this site is getting ridiculous.

    See for the complete salary schedule.

  • 111. cpsobsessed  |  February 8, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    Click to access Salary_Schedules.pdf

    This salary schedule is from 2011/2012. I am not clear on how to read it, but I do see $100k+ in columns other than PhD. Perhaps you can clarify, Mia?

    (This is not AT ALL saying that teachers shouldn’t be paid this much. I believe in good teacher pay, for sure.) I just would like to clarify so we can be clear on what the discussion points are.

  • 112. cpsobsessed  |  February 8, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    I *might* be looking at 52-week positions (so those may be rare.) I’m not fully clear on what each page represents. there are pages for 38.6 weeks/42.6 weeks/46.6 weeks/52 weeks. Not sure which is “typical.”

  • 113. mom2  |  February 8, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    I thought I heard Karen Lewis on the news saying that if CPS stopped picking up the 7% pension contribution, that might be considered “illegal” and then they would have a right to strike before that deadline. But it was the news, so I may have the wrong.

  • 114. Patricia  |  February 8, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    There are certainly teachers making six figures that are not PhD. There have been several at all the schools we have attended. Even situations where teachers make more than the experienced Principal.

  • 115. Vetteacher  |  February 8, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    If the board unilaterally materially changes (stripping the 7% pension-pick-up) the previous contract during negotiations, they are negotiating in bad faith. This will trigger the strike in March.

  • 116. CPSAppalled  |  February 8, 2016 at 2:29 pm


  • 117. robin in wrp  |  February 8, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    When teachers’ salaries and benefits become less competitive with private industry, the quality of teaching will drop

  • 118. cpsobsessed  |  February 8, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    @Vet Teacher, are you saying that if the board even PROPOSES stripping the pickup that this is negotiating in bad faith? Or can they just outright strip the 7% pickup?

  • 119. Vicki  |  February 8, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    If you look at the salary schedules, the figures are broken down for weeks worked per year, number of years in (step) and education. MOST teachers in regular school positions are on the 38.6 week schedule. I am not sure about PHD status, but at the SE HS my child attends, there are very few. Teachers make additional money with stipends, however, none of these comes close to the hours they put in.

    I am curious where teachers are making more than the principal. Can you give an example?

  • 120. mom2  |  February 8, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    @robin in wrp – you said, “When teachers’ salaries and benefits become less competitive with private industry, the quality of teaching will drop”. Did you read any of the posts from people in private industry? The teachers salaries and benefits are far far far superior to private industry. Even if the CTU agreed to pay the entire 9% into their pensions, the salaries and benefits would still be more than competitive with private industry. Hate this talking point. It is simply not true. Private industry in the last 20 or so years has no pensions, only 401K’s and triple the payments for healthcare and no regular raises when the company is losing money or only breaking even. So different from public. Very different.

  • 121. Chris  |  February 8, 2016 at 3:26 pm


    Here’s the link to the current salary schedules (scroll down):

    The roman numerals are the Lanes:

    I = BA
    II = MA
    III = MA + 15 credit hours
    IV = MA + 30 credit hours
    V = MA + 45 credit hours
    VI = PhD

    National Board Certified Teachers get $1,875.32 extra

    HS teachers approved to teach an extra period can get a 16.66% bump

    Pay for coaching and other extras is generally limited to about $600 per activity. So that’s not pushing anyone up meaningfully.

  • 122. Chris  |  February 8, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    “Did you read any of the posts from people in private industry? The teachers salaries and benefits are far far far superior to private industry.”

    This is a yes and no thing. It is *certainly* true that some teachers would make MORE doing something else, and *certainly* true that some teachers would make LESS doing something else.

    The question is whether teachers in the aggregate–and without any post hoc “I would have majored in something else”–would do better in non-teaching gigs, and I don’t think that that is true. Which isn’t an indication that teachers, in the aggregate, are paid too much, or too little, it just an indication that it is apples and oranges, to a significant degree.

  • 123. Chris  |  February 8, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    @104: “I firmly believe CPS HAS the money”

    Has the money for WHAT??? To meet the full CTU list of desireables? Including the counselor, nurse, librarian, etc in every school (no matter how low the attendance)? To have max classroom size in the low 20s?

    If you don’t define what “the things that matter” means, you’ve made a non-falsifiable statement, that doesn’t add to anything.

    NOTE: the BBB and Supes stuff, which was inexcusable, criminal, and an obvious waste of $$, is merely a rounding error, and wouldn’t fund any “things that matter” of real consequence, on a district wide basis. We’re talking about $100 per student, for one year. BBB deserves to go to jail, but that money wasn’t solving anything.

  • 124. Chris  |  February 8, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    Patricia (I know you were quoting):

    “Emanuel promised to raise property taxes by $170 million for teacher pensions whether or not the state does its part.

    That’s the last thing aldermen want to do”

    Lucky for the Aldermen, they don’t have to. The CPS BoE is a taxing authority independent of the city council. The Aldermen get no vote on whether CPS raises its levy.

  • 125. cpsobsessed  |  February 8, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    Actual salaries can be found here. I sorted by “regular teacher” and “head teacher.” Interesting, the only $100K+ salaries are at a few schools (Ariel Academy, York Alternative, and Jefferson Alternative.) Other than that, only 3 teachers with base salary over $100k. I don’t know if this includes pension pickup.
    Principal salary appears to start at $120K, so except for one guy in CPS, I don’t think there are teachers making more than principals (based on this spreadsheet, at least.) I do wonder what is up at those alternative schools. Is that a premium teaching position?

    Trivia: the WY principal is the highest paid in the system at $163K.

  • 126. Chris  |  February 8, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    @69 Cheryl:

    “All government workers are barred from collecting both SS & pension”

    No, people who don’t pay in to social security don’t get to collect it. In Illinois (but not all states) state and local government workers don’t (and are not allowed to) pay in to SS.

    Perhaps you meant “In Illinois (only)”, but its important for folks on all sides of this to know that it isn’t the same everywhere. My (non-IL) retired teacher relatives collect a pension and SS, based on teaching salaries.

  • 127. State Employees  |  February 8, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    I’m a state employee and they do take social security out of my check. I’m told I won’t be able to collect it because my pension check will make me above the threshold to collect it.

  • 128. Chris  |  February 8, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    CPSO (125):

    “I don’t know if this includes pension pickup.”

    It doesn’t– there are several hundred teachers on that list with salary of $50,653, which is the Step 1, Lane I salary. You can match the amounts up with the Step/Lane on the CTU contract page.

    Looks like everyone over $93,500 goes over $100k with the pickup.

    And a $31k cost of benefits is pretty substantial–does that number include the pension pick-up?? If not, it is *really* substantial.

  • 129. Chris  |  February 8, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    @127: “I’m a state employee and they do take social security out of my check. I’m told I won’t be able to collect it ”

    Please to explain. Not my understanding, from anywhere.

    There is this, re the WEP and GPO, but they don’t apply *if you are paying social security tax*:

  • 130. robin in wrp  |  February 8, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    Why do we value our teachers less than our CEOs?

  • 131. mom2  |  February 8, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    @robin – just because we are trying to save CPS and our city doesn’t mean we don’t value teachers and where on Earth did the comparison to CEOs come from? We can love most of our teachers and most of us would want them to have a billion dollars a year if we could afford it. Many of them work very hard and care so much and use their own money for things, etc. The whole point is that we cannot afford what was promised and something has to change. There isn’t a money tree and taking more money from tax payers (that already make less than you and have to pay more for their benefits and can never retire or maybe at age 80) or taking money away from all the other areas of the city isn’t the answer. So…compromise, give some, realize that Daley made promises we can’t keep. Realize that our city and state really are broke and can’t keep borrowing at high interest rates, etc.

  • 132. Patricia  |  February 8, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    Also on salaries, Principals work year round, teachers have the breaks. JUST TO CLARIFY—I am not saying teachers do not work hard. They do! After a year in the classroom with a room full of kids day-in-and-out, a well deserved summer break is in order.

    So if you “annualize” the salary of principal to teacher, it certainly adds up. I can see the argument either way regarding annualizing or not. But it does seem relevant when comparing a principal to a teacher. Again, not saying teachers are overpaid, just trying to clarify the principal / teacher comment I made above.

    As I skimmed the list of some schools I am familiar with, some of the top dollar teachers I know of certainly are worth every cent.

  • 133. Patricia  |  February 8, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    @131 mom2
    Well said.

  • 134. Vet Teacher  |  February 8, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    Claypool announced he is doing it within the next 25 days. As soon as it happens, the CTU will file an NLRB complaint. The judge will rule and then a strike wiil happen.

  • 135. Chris  |  February 8, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    “where on Earth did the comparison to CEOs come from?”


    Are CEOs, generally, paid waaaaay too much for their actual value to a business and its shareholders? Yeah. Does that have anything, really, to do with what teachers get paid? Nope.

    Why do Ferraris cost so much more than school buses?

  • 136. CarolA  |  February 8, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    It’s clear that CTU is willing to compromise on the 7%. Just because the bargaining team said no doesn’t mean we won’t pay it in the end. The bargaining team’s major concern was a lack of long term changes so this won’t happen contract after contract. When the teachers start paying the 7% (and they will, whether it’s right away or over 2-3 years) AND insurance premiums go up there will still be a budget problem. So let’s figure it out now where other cuts can be made. I would say another area that could be sacrificed (sorry fellow teachers) is the steps. In this day and age it just doesn’t make sense to get a raise just because you worked another year. This is separate from any cost of living raise and just seems senseless. I do believe that the lanes should remain because teachers need to get additional endorsements to be competitive. Teachers need an ESL or bilingual degrees or principals will not even look at the resume. Soon, due to cuts, teachers will need SPED degrees so the regular classroom becomes a one-stop shop. With all those possible “gives” from teachers…..what can CPS offer?

  • 137. Chris  |  February 8, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    “The judge will rule and then a strike wiil happen.”

    That’s pretty supreme confidence that (1) the NLRB will punt it to a judge (not sure that’s even allowed), and (2) the judge will see it the union’s way. The 7th circuit is not terribly friendly to ‘labor’ (broadly speaking).

    Suspect that, if the NLRB were to rule in the CTU’s favor, CPS would get a TRO and a not-particularly expedited hearing in federal court.

  • 138. Patricia  |  February 8, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    @Vet Teacher
    Question. My understanding is that the pension pick up expired on the date the contract expired which was about a year ago. The requirement is 30 days notice? It has been kind of a side deal point for the past 30 years, but never a part of the contractually guaranteed benefits. Right?

  • 139. CarolA  |  February 8, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    CPS CAN stop paying the 7% at any time. It would not be illegal. It’s my understanding that CPS and CTU agreed that neither side would disrupt the “status quo” until a deal could be reached. More or less a courtesy. In other words, CTU won’t strike. CPS won’t make cuts. Shake hands and play nice. If CPS decides that it must make immediate changes then that’s what it decides, but it breaks the terms of negotiating in good faith. I could be wrong.

  • 140. mom2  |  February 8, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    @CarolA – I just want to thank you for posting here and being reasonable and helping us all understand. I appreciate you and your honesty. It is so nice to have you here. I wish more people would just answer questions rather than making political posts and spinning things, etc.

  • 141. Chris  |  February 8, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    ” I would say another area that could be sacrificed (sorry fellow teachers) is the steps.”

    I think that steps make sense, but not on a strict 1 step for 1 year (I know it’s not all 1 for 1). CPD gets step raises 5 times in first 4.5 years, then at 10, 15, 20, 25, for 10 total steps–that schedule doesn’t make the most sense for teachers, but makes more than the 16 plus two half-steps (so, 18) of CPS.

  • 142. Patricia  |  February 8, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    As always, it is great to get your perspective. How is it “not in good faith”, since it was after the CTU flat out turned down the “serious offer”? Maybe there are more technical rules to negotiations?

    Either way, I certainly hope a strike does not happen earlier than the end of May. It will completely screw over the High School kids taking AP classes as well as those graduating. Not to mention all the other headaches with a strike.

  • 143. Vet Teacher  |  February 8, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    Good luck. I’d plan for childcare just in case. We will see. My staff will be apoplectic and I work at a large school. Maybe Carol is right; time will tell.

  • 144. CarolA  |  February 8, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    You’re welcome! I tend to be a person who just “says it like it is”. That doesn’t always work for me. LOL
    Patricia: Just because we said NO doesn’t mean CPS can pout and be a sore loser. One day they can give us raises and the next (because we said NO) there’s no money. HMMMM Strange I think. Also, did I hear they are expanding the preschool program to full day for all?????? Does that require money from CPS or is it all state money? By the way….for those that actually pay for the preschool program….where does that money go?

  • 145. Chris  |  February 8, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    “I’d plan for childcare just in case.”

    How can anyone plan? There are at least 3 variables in the timing, so it could be anytime from the first week of March until next fall.

  • 146. CarolA  |  February 8, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    In regards to steps: When I worked for another government agency (before teaching), each job had its own pay range. Job A got paid at level 5 to start, then after one year jumped to level 7. Year 3 was a level 8 and that’s where you stayed until you tried for a promotion. Maybe something like that for each position within CPS. If you want a higher paying job, apply for it. Otherwise, you stay where you are. In that scenario, if you got additional education, it would be because you were working your way up the ladder and once in that job you’d get the raise. Just throwing ideas out there. But who has time to figure that out! CPS would have to hire at least 100 people at high salaries for at least 3 years……etc. lol lol

  • 147. Vet Teacher  |  February 8, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    Conduct away from the bargaining table may also be relevant. For instance if an Employer were to make a unilateral change in the terms and conditions of employees employment without bargaining, that would be an indication of bad faith.- Taken directly from the NLRB website. Good luck!

  • 148. State Employee  |  February 8, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    I had always been told that the pension check would be over the income limits for collecting the social security check. The retired state employees I know only get their pension checks.

  • 149. CarolA  |  February 8, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    For those that are talking about making SS payments…..look at your check. Are you sure it’s SS? I pay into SS Medicare….but not SS itself. It was the same when I worked for the other government agency….pay to Medicare only. The retirees I know get a very small amount….enough to barely pay the Medicare premium.

  • 150. Chris  |  February 8, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    “over the income limits for collecting the social security check”

    What income limits, as they relate to pension income?

    Yeah, there are limits for *earned* income, but not for pension, that I am aware of, or can find reference to.

  • 151. CarolA  |  February 8, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    It’s called pension offset…what the terms are…I’m not sure….but everybody who’s anybody says we have it so it must be true…LOL

  • 152. State Employee  |  February 8, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    They take $302.58 out of each of my checks for social security FICA) so that’s not just Medicare.

  • 153. cpsobsessed  |  February 8, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    @128 Chris, regarding cost of benefits from the spreadsheet – I think that is fairly low. My understanding in the corporate world is that the total price of an employee when all is factored in is twice their salary (so non-salary benefits are equal to one’s salary generally speaking.) This may include some “soft costs” like… overhead? computers? But the CPS ratio seems low to me vs private business. Probably not apples to apples though.

  • 154. Chris  |  February 8, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    “It’s called pension offset”

    Yes, the GPO (Gov’t Pension Offset) That applies when you don’t have FICA taken out, and applies to spouses and widow/ers benefits:

    “If you receive a pension from a federal, state,
    or local government based on work for which
    you didn’t pay Social Security taxes, we may
    reduce your Social Security spouses or widows
    or widowers benefits. This fact sheet provides
    answers to questions you may have about
    the reduction.”

    Click to access EN-05-10007.pdf

    That linked publication also notes the WEP (Windfall Elimination Provision):

    “The Windfall Elimination Provision may
    affect how we calculate your retirement or
    disability benefit. If you work for an employer
    who does not withhold Social Security taxes
    from your salary, such as a government agency
    or an employer in another country, any pension
    you get from that work may reduce your Social
    Security benefits.”

    SO: a government pension MAY reduce the social security benefits earned with ANOTHER job, but ONLY IF the job BOTH (1) has a pension, and (2) does NOT withhold FICA. If your government job takes out FICA, you get full social security.

    Ask an accountant, or a good financial planner. Don’t rely on word of mouth from your co-workers.

  • 155. cpsobsessed  |  February 8, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    Why we “value” CEOs more than teachers.

    CEOs are not paid by the government. The CEO of a company runs a business. If that business can generate a buttload of money, they can get paid a buttload of money. It has nothing to do with society “valuing” them. Same argument when people say we don’t value teachers as much as athletes. But I don’t get that one at all since I’m not into sports! 🙂

    Conversely, this is why teachers and other public employees need unions – because without having an income-generating business to pay them, they are going to look to get squeezed all the time!

    And government-paid CEOs are not very highly valued either by that model!

  • 156. Chris  |  February 8, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    CPSO: “My understanding in the corporate world is that the total price of an employee when all is factored in is twice their salary”

    “This may include some “soft costs””

    That (somewhat mythical) ‘twice your salary’ ABSOLUTELY includes soft costs–rent, furniture, computer, systems, software, etc, etc. (note: I say somewhat mythical bc it’s all over the place–for some, it will be much more than 2x, others far less; I’m sure that at some companies it is mainly correct for many employees, and right on for the “average” employee)

    I’ve worked for a couple of companies that hand out “Your Value to [Company X]”, wherein they are trying to show the maximum amount of $$ that they spend on you. They include *everything* that they pay for directly on account of your employment.

    I looked at mine from 2015 earlier–before I posted that comment–including the company’s half of FICA, and a smallish 401k match, the total ‘benefits’ cost was about $28,000, with a family medical plan (would be a ton lower with an individual plan). The employer portion of the medical plan has gone thru the roof, while the coverage has mostly gotten worse.

    Now, especially if the pension pickup counts in that CPS benefit number, I am in no way saying its “too much”, but it certainly ain’t cheap.

  • 157. cpsobsessed  |  February 8, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    It’s not cheap. And it’s a fact that we have to pay it. But it’s not fair to imply “look at all you get, teachers!” when it’s just a cost of employing people.

    Well, at least in our district. A friend of mine’s husband is a teacher and they want to move to AZ to live near family, but the schools do not (or at the time did not) give health insurance to teachers. As a teacher you basically had to be married to someone with health insurance.

  • 158. cpsobsessed  |  February 8, 2016 at 7:59 pm

    @Chris, since you looked at the spreadsheet, any thoughts on that one realllly highly paid teacher?

  • 159. cpsobsessed  |  February 8, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    Actually maybe I’m looking at something wrong. What is:

    Annual Salary
    FTE Annual Salary


    Maybe this teacher isn’t making $170K like I thought he was.

  • 160. Jen  |  February 8, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    What about the soft costs they don’t pay for? Books, paper, staples, staplers, sticky notes, games, bulletin board stuff, shelves, tape, bins, pencils, markers, dot stampers, ink for printers, the good pencil sharpeners that actually work and cost a good $100, markers, individual white boards for kids, computer software, pushpins, sticky tak, alphabet stamps, number stamps, dice, playing cards for math games, more books, rugs, comfy chairs for the class library, paper sorters, art drying racks, ziploc bags, cleaner for the tables, a bucket, a broom and dustpan, ALL the science supplies, a globe, maps, outdoor play materials, clothes for kids, and on and on and on. 3-5% of a teacher’s take home pay, particularly if they teach primary age kids.
    This is a hefty amount for teachers to shell out. And while I do think the city cannot afford to pay teachers what they currently are paying them, it is also important to recognize this is a very significant way CPS and many other districts save money.
    @157, that’s one of the reasons Arizona has such an awful teacher shortage. They are always recruiting around the country.

  • 161. Chris  |  February 8, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    “But it’s not fair to imply “look at all you get, teachers!” when it’s just a cost of employing people.”

    Agree 100%.

    ” any thoughts on that one realllly highly paid teacher?”

    It looks like his 0.50 FTE salary corresponds with a ‘normal’ 1.00 FTE salary, so I would guess it’s a data entry error–his 1.00 salary should be 1/2 the size.

    After that, 18 of the next 20 highest paid work at the school in the Juvenile Detention Center, so I presume they have a special supplement to their salary.

  • 162. Chris  |  February 8, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    “Annual Salary
    FTE Annual Salary”

    If you look at the ones that have a difference, they have a number under the FTE column that is not 1.00. He’s listed as a 0.50, twice, which a number of teachers are–say if they are the .5 gym teacher and the .5 spanish teacher.

    I think that the correct salary number got entered in the wrong column.

  • 163. cpsobsessed  |  February 8, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    Ah, yeah, that makes sense.
    So those are the Juvenile Detention schools? I guess that is good pay but also in the “you couldn’t pay me enough” job category. I suppose there may be other credentials needed.

  • 164. cpsobsessed  |  February 8, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    Salary of ~$95K – $110 k for anyone wondering.

  • 165. harry potter  |  February 8, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    Out of the 500 CPS schools, I’d put at least 50 in the “just as bad or worse than any JDC” category.

  • 166. State Employee  |  February 8, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    Well thanks everyone! It’s good to know I can get social security because the state’s pension system is a mess just like the teachers’ pension system with the only difference being I have been paying my full amount and the state just didn’t pay there full amount (pension holidays). **sigh** I actually do wonder if the pension will be there when I retire.

    Also, state employees only have 8 steps and after that you only get COLAs (if there is one) and some type of $25 a month longevity pay. I can’t remember how many years you have to work to get the longevity pay. If you want an increase in pay then you have to get a promotion to a salary grade higher than the position you already have.

    Finally, we can retire using what’s called “Rule of 85.” When your age plus your years of service add up to 85 then you retire with full benefits. You become “vested” at 10 years meaning you don’t have to pay the insurance premium when you retire. BTW–the teacher’s don’t get health insurance when they retire…

    Illinois & Chicago has ONE GIANT MESS on their hands. Actually–I don’t see any way out of this mess. I am willing not to have any steps or COLAs for the entire 4 years of the contract BUT Rauner wants to increase health insurance premiums to an astronomical rate and I am not willing to bring home less. I can stay the same for 4 years BUT bringing home less isn’t right. A lot of state employees feel that way too. Rauner is also trying to take away bumping & seniority rights during layoffs and wants to keep contractors on if lay offs should occur. He too is trying to get rid of veteran employees.

  • 167. Chris  |  February 8, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    Oh, and PS re:

    ““But it’s not fair to imply “look at all you get, teachers!” when it’s just a cost of employing people.”
    Agree 100%.”

    The flip side matters–CPS teachers *do* get more expensive benefits than many (I would say *most*) in the private sector. And recognizing that that is part of the bargain is important.

    Also that the ‘benefit cost’ of the pension pickup is not reflective of the actuarial present value of the future benefits (NOTE: neither is FICA-tax to social security; tho I’m pretty sure that mine is the wrong way–I pay more than I will get back)–that is, the ~$5,000 that is included in that benefit number is “worth more” than $5,000–it’s just the current cost of the 7%, not the actual cost, nor the present value of the future pension (assuming Rauner doesn’t get his way).

    AND, on yet another note (an aside to a PS):

    It is not nearly so easy as some teachers seem to think to get $100,000 jobs with decent benefits. Because that is the assertion–that the majority of CPS teachers would be able to easily get $100k jobs in the private sector. Not *some*, *most*. And that’s kinda nuts, imo. $100k jobs–in non-specialized fields–aren’t just sitting there for the taking.

  • 168. Chris  |  February 8, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    “So those are the Juvenile Detention schools?”

    I had to look it up, but Nancy B Jefferson Alternative School is in the Cook County JDC.

  • 169. Chris  |  February 8, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    “Rauner is also trying to take away bumping & seniority rights during layoffs”

    There is *some* legitimate basis for wanting to at least limit that. I think we can all agree that there are some senior employees in some agencies who really should be forced out, but the bumping/seniority allows them to hang around being not quite bad enough to fire for cause.

  • 170. Patricia  |  February 8, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    Health insurance is a burden. In all but government jobs, one can expect increased insurance premiums and reduced/worse coverage every single year you “select” your annual health insurance. It is crazy! Family coverage is in the range of $900 – 1800 in the open market or even more depending on the details. Also, huge restrictions on the doctors and networks. With an employer, it is still expensive as employers cover less and less. Wow, looking from the outside, expecting no increase in health insurance is kind of hard to imagine.

  • 171. CarolA  |  February 8, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    There is a system in place to “weed out” those not working up to the expected potential. Seniority is not what it used to be. No one is safe.

  • 172. arghhh  |  February 8, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    Funny part – can you believe that Karen Lewis wants to make more concessions than the 40 members who voted this down unanimously. I never thought I’d see the day when there were 40 people who thought Karen Lewis wasn’t tough enough …. there is dissension in the ranks of the CTU. This is why it is so very important for teachers to education themselves about this mess.

    The issue with unions (not just teacher unions but all unions) is that the union members have responsibility for the union’s actions. In the past CTU and Daley negotiated poorly. I love teachers (I could never do the wonderful work they do). However, CTU (that means all CPS teachers) and CPS are to blame for this fiscal mess. I’d like to see teachers take some responsibility and encourage their union to make concessions, and at a minimum side with karen lewis (yikes … did I say that).

    Teachers need to pay into their pension for the full 9%. It’s what public sectors across the US pay for their pensions. 1% is a normal annual pay increase these days. $600/mo is a normal health insurance monthly payment for a family of 4. Sucks I know, but it’s normal. CPS teachers are paid more than the average US teacher. That’s fine, but appreciate your pay. It’s good pay, and you deserve it. Be appreciative.

  • 173. Vet Teacher  |  February 8, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    I would be more willing if 66% of the downstate and suburban teachers paid their full share. They pay 0%. This is the game: Chicago taxpayers are double-taxed to pay for their pensions-the state picks up the district’s pension-the district incentivizes the teacher by picking up their share. They pay nothing! This has been going on for decades. To his credit, Emanuel has railed against this inequitable practice recently.

  • 174. arghhh  |  February 8, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    I totally agree you vet teacher. It does suck. Of course two wrongs don’t make a right. but it does suck.

  • 175. Jen  |  February 8, 2016 at 11:28 pm

    Can someone please explain why the overall education funding formula is always associated with and mentioned with the fact that Chicago pays for both its teachers pensions and the TRS pensions? What I’ve heard is if pension payment equity is passed (meaning Chicago would only pay its own) that the overall formula also would change at the same time, and Chicago would lose quite a lot of money on the overall funding, coming out worse than it is now. Middle and upper income suburbs would lose the most, lower income suburbs stand the gain the most as they get cheated even more than CPS does out of funds. At least that’s how I’ve always perceived this when its been explained.

    Both my district where I work and the district I send my kids to have projections of what they’d lose or gain in the new formula. My workplace would remain about the same, my kids district would lose some, but we’re doing so well it could be absorbed.

    And I’ve also heard, they’ve thrown out that whole idea and now there’s some new plan that they won’t tell anyone about in the legislature. Or am I completely misunderstanding?

  • 176. SmilingWide  |  February 8, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    “That’s fine, but appreciate your pay. It’s good pay, and you deserve it. Be appreciative.”
    My new favorite kind of teacher basher, the one who throws in the occasional “I love teachers, buuuuuttt…” between their axe-grinding vitriol.

  • 177. Ay Caramba  |  February 9, 2016 at 5:55 am

    “The cost to educate young illegal immigrants over $761 million – a bill for all 50 states”

  • 178. Vet Teacher  |  February 9, 2016 at 8:28 am

    See you on the streets, despite what Carol thinks. I’d rather go down fighting. Bring on bankruptcy, if Rahm’s massive ego will allow it.

  • 179. Parent and Taxpayer  |  February 9, 2016 at 9:18 am

    Pensioners typically take a smaller haircut than bondholders or taxpayers in bankruptcy. That path is inevitable; the only reason we aren’t there now is that it would be embarrassing to those holding office. $20Billion debt and a $1Billion structural deficit with no access to the credit markets makes for an impossible situation.

  • 180. southside mom  |  February 9, 2016 at 10:33 am

    Why shouldn’t pensioners take a “smaller haircut”? THEY WORKED FOR THAT MONEY. CPS: “How about you take a pension pick up instead of a raise?” Teachers: “OK” Ten years later… CPS: “Just kidding! Oops, we spent your pension! Spent it on bank fees and high interest rates (but those same banks made GREAT political donations for us!), spent it on SUPES Academy (But it’s for “principal training!”), spent it on Aramark (so our kids can have DELICIOUS, HEALTHY FOOD AND CLEAN SCHOOLS….oh, who cares, it’s just poor kids). Teachers earned every cent, including their pension. My child’s teacher should be paid MORE, given all the work she does. Are teachers going to have to compromise? Unfortunately, yes. But the BLAME is not shared. It is entirely CPS and politicians who shoulder the blame. Not teachers

  • 181. michele  |  February 9, 2016 at 11:04 am

    I would like to share this video from Chicago Tonight with Mr. Claypool.

    There is an active group of CPS parents,Parents for Equitable Education Funding (PEEF) that sees similar data that there is continued inequity of education funding by the State of Illinois for Chicago students. Please take the time to listen to Mr.Claypool’s comments about the funding inequity in the interview.

    PEEF is advocating for three things, long term we need equitable IL state education funding for district 299 and we need reasonable concessions from ALL CPS employees not just Teachers and unions. Short term the City Council and Aldermen need to allocate and free up TIF dollars for continued school operations in the 2016-2017 school year

    Parents on this blog, I would like to ask each of you for every post you make here you also write a letter to an elected official asking them for equitable funding for our kids. This definitive action step will build the extra momentum that is needed to keep this effort moving forward – otherwise all the banter here is just for entertainment.

    My Best,

  • 182. Parent and Taxpayer  |  February 9, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    @180. i was not emotively assessing blame, but rather being factual and objective. It is something needed in this discussion and all too often missing from this board.

  • 183. southside mom  |  February 9, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    @ 182 It is a FACT that teachers work for their money and were promised to have money put into a pension. It is a FACT that CPS spends millions on bank fees and high interest rates. It is a FACT that CPS has spent millions on SUPES academy and Aramark. It is a FACT that principals rated the SUPES academy training as garbage. (That may be their opinion, but it is a fact that they gave it very poor ratings). It is a FACT that parents have had to clean schools themselves and have expressed complaints about the cleanliness of their child’s school. It is my OPINION that teachers should be paid more. It is my OPINION that Rahm is beholden to the big banks that contribute to his campaign.

  • 184. Chris  |  February 9, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    “SUPES academy training”

    $20 million.

    So, 2.5% of this year’s funding deficit.

    Or 0.1% of the pension deficit.

    It sucks. And the person who approved it was fired.

    It was criminal. And the person who approved it is being prosecuted.

    It didn’t help anything. And bringing it up over and over doesn’t either.

    It is not material to the actual funding issue.

  • 185. Tone  |  February 9, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    FACT: CPS spends millions on “bank fees and interest rates” because it is insolvent. The sooner we accept that and allow Rauner’s proposed BK for municipalities, the better off we will be.

    There is no money to pay for CTUs desires.

  • 186. arghhh  |  February 9, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    I like smiling wide’s comment –

    “My new favorite kind of teacher basher, the one who throws in the occasional “I love teachers, buuuuuttt…” between their axe-grinding vitriol.”

    A person can love teachers, and not love the CTU (aka CPS teachers who think they have a raw deal). The private school teachers down our street make very small wages (less than half of what a CPS teacher makes), and yet they don’t strike or complain. They love their students and we love them back. I don’t dislike teachers, I dislike CPS teachers who think they have a raw deal. If laws provided, most CPS teachers could be replaced in a heartbeat. Supply and demand will prevail in the end whether with bankruptcy, with charter schools, or with a new contract. The question is whether the CTU will try to take our children down with them? The crazy thing is I think most CPS teachers would be happier if they quit fighting. They could try to move to another city, but they won’t get the same deal they have here.

  • 187. southside mom  |  February 9, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    This type of attitude is DEFINITELY going to attract the best teachers to the profession! CTUs desires??? Seriously? There is a school that has over 40 kids in a single kindergarten classroom. CTU “desire” is that this doesn’t happen. Students will IEPs are in classrooms that have more students than is legally allowed. CTU fights against this. Make the cuts somewhere else.

  • 188. mom2  |  February 9, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    @southside mom – this is such a repeat from the last time CTU had a strike. I am nearly 100% certain that every parent on this forum would support the CTU 100% if their demands were simply that the classroom size should be limited to 25 kids (or something like that). However, that is NOT what they were asking for. They wanted money and benefits and job security for themselves. Change the demands to only things related to better quality of life within the school (which benefits teachers, too) and parents will be more on board – smaller class sizes, more aids, improved facilities, air conditioning, etc.

  • 189. Tone  |  February 9, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    CPS spends $15,000/student and it is not enough. How much is enough?

  • 190. arghhh  |  February 9, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    I would support the CTU if it’s demands were smaller class sizes, more aids, improved facilities and air conditioning. Instead the CTU wants to not pay 9% of its pension like most of the public sector around the country, it wants 1200 teachers (at the top of the pay tiers) not to retire, it wants to continue to pay 1/3 as much for benefits as the private sector, it wants pay increases over 1% annually (unlike the private sector), and it wants automatic increases for seniority.

    The problem with “going down fighting” as #178 vet teacher said is that you will do harm to your students and your city. It’s selfish. One of the most unselfish careers has become selfish. It’s painful to watch.

  • 191. Tone  |  February 9, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Rauner’s BK plan for municipalities is likely the best we can hope for at this point.

  • 192. Parent and Taxpayer  |  February 9, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    @ Tone, I agree. The vitriol of Southside mom and others who spout talking points is not helpful. The math is the math. Given the size of the imbalance and debt load, the BK plan is probably best for the children. I am a parent and that unnerves me, but I believe it to be the case. Rahm et al won’t admit it, in my opinion, because it is politically toxic for them.

  • 193. arghhh  |  February 9, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    Here’s what happened in Detroit to pensions after they went bankrupt:

    “In the bankruptcy, the city cut $7.8 billion from payments to its retired workers, who saw their pensions cut by as much as 18 percent.”

  • 194. Tone  |  February 9, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Parent and Taxpayer, I am a CPS father so this is not something I look forward to, but it is the most likely outcome and the sooner we get to it, the better off the CIty will be.

    Thanks for posting that story about Detroit’s BK, very encouraging for CPS.

  • 195. CarolA  |  February 9, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    I guess what we all agree with is that this is a big mess and the sooner we find a solution, the better.

  • 196. Tone  |  February 9, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    Seeing as the State is broke as well as the City. BK is the answer for CPS.

  • 197. Chicago Dad  |  February 9, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    There are many CTU members on this blog who state the sanctity of their contract. What they conveniently leave out is that the process of contract agreement for public sector unions is inherently flawed and not in the best interests of society. This is why FDR, liberal in so many ways, was opposed to the idea of public sector unions.

    Private sector unions deal directly with the owners of the company, trying to get their share of the profits. Since any funds paid to the union comes directly out of the owners’ pockets, the owners have an interest in hard negotiations.

    Public sector unions, on the other hand, do not deal directly with the taxpayers, most of whom earn far less than the union members. Instead they deal with politicians who do not have to foot the bill during negotiations, and therefore have little incentive to negotiate on the taxpayers’ behalf. Indeed they have an incentive to cave, so they’ll have a solid block of voters (the public sector unions) come re-election time. This arrangement hardly benefits society in the long run.

  • 198. Parent and Taxpayer  |  February 9, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    Tone: Me too. My son is in second grade in CPS. Best of luck to both of our children.

  • 199. Vet Teacher  |  February 9, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    Spoken like a public-sector welfare recipient. Dig deep because your taxes are going up. Who cares what you think? Who are you? If you don’t like it, move! NOBODY is forcing you to live in Chicago. Your $8.50 an hour salary isn’t contributing much to the city coffers anyway. How about I come to your job and tell you what to accept from your employer? And save the BS argument that the CTU is hurting the children. Your children will still get their 180 days of instruction this year; you just may have to reschedule your summer vacation plans. Oh, and you should line up some childcare soon. You won’t get the deal you are getting now, about $2.50 an hour like we provide, but maybe you can talk some teenager into it for $5 an hour. Maybe he/she will even tutor for an hour a day. See you on the streets!

  • 200. Vet Teacher  |  February 9, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    Yawn. The avg. teacher’s cut was 4.5%. Quit trying to scare intelligent teachers. We are not as dumb as the trolls on the board. I am from Detroit so you can’t BS me. I have friends who are retired teachers. LOL

  • 201. Chris  |  February 9, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    I *almost* missed the “teacher” screeds here. Almost, but not quite.

    Made me think of this:

    “Now the mayor’s got CTU as a partner. Any problems, he goes to CTU. Trouble with the bill? He can go to CTU. Trouble with the cops, deliveries, Tommy, he can call CTU. But now the mayor’s gotta come up with CTU’s money every week no matter what. Business bad? F*** you, pay me. Oh, you had a fire? F*** you, pay me. Place got hit by lightning huh? F*** you, pay me.”

    Always good to come across like a movie mobster.

  • 202. Chris  |  February 9, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    ps: Hi, “Jay”!

  • 203. Vet Teacher  |  February 9, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    Good afternoon! See you on the streets. Still living here? I thought you’d be long gone by now. I guess all those threats to leave were all BS, eh?

  • 204. Chris  |  February 9, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    “Yawn. The avg. teacher’s cut was 4.5%. ”

    Since you know soooooo much:

    Can you explain how it was that the Detroit bankruptcy resulted in a pension cut for Detroit school teachers when Detroit teachers pension is paid out of the Michigan Public Schools Employees’ Retirement System?

    Things that make you go hmmmmmm….

  • 205. Chris  |  February 9, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    “I guess all those threats to leave”

    What threats to leave? I never threatened (or stated, or implied, or any other variation) to leave.

  • 206. Vet Teacher  |  February 9, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    Detroit Federation of Teachers belongs to the AFT. Of course,the troll doesn’t know this. That is why Chris is a troll. I am glad you are staying! I want you to pay for my gold-plated pension. Taxes are going up;dig deep!

  • 207. Jeb  |  February 9, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    So… I guess the Marco Rubio of the CTU is saying we should get childcare lined up?

  • 208. Vet Teacher  |  February 9, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    Bernie Sanders! A political revolution of teachers standing up to the public-sector wwlfare recipients and bankers. See you on the street!

  • 209. Jeb  |  February 9, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    Not really “Bernie Sanders” when you want to be in the 1%, pension-wise.

  • 210. arghhh  |  February 9, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    This has become pretty entertaining. I hope the teachers do not strike. I hope CPS does not go bankrupt. I hope CPS and the CTU reach an agreement. I hope teachers give up some of the extras that they receive and if so, I will pay more in property taxes. I appreciate Rahm’s statement about everyone giving a little. Most of all, I hope we can move forward. I’m not used to disagreeing so strongly with my neighbors and I don’t like it. I hope the emotion behind this issue dissipates.

  • 211. Vet Teacher  |  February 9, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    Bernie! He will make the public-sector welfare recipients like you pay your fair share so teachers get the repect and compensation we deserve.

  • 212. cpsobsessed  |  February 9, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    @Vet teacher – honestly, you’ve lost me. What or who are “public sector welfare recipients?”. Are you referring to people who actually collect welfare? Or implying something else?

  • 213. Chris  |  February 9, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    “Detroit Federation of Teachers belongs to the AFT.”

    What does that have to do with the Michigan teacher pension system? Does membership in a different umbrella union group get you into a pension system that *doesn’t exist*???

    Here’s an article about the possible bankruptcy of Detroit Public Schools, which discusses the amounts DPS owes to Michigan Public Schools Employees’ Retirement System:

    I’m really at the point where I think that “jay”/”vet teacher” is somehow on Rauner’s payroll, to make the CTU look like the most frothy-mouthed, know-nothing, B-Movie-stereotype union morons that could be imagined.

    Either that, or a semi-brilliant parody penned by a HS kid.

  • 214. cpsobsessed  |  February 9, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    Do you remember that fake Rahm twitter account before he got elected? Maybe it’s that guy.

  • 215. Vet Teacher  |  February 9, 2016 at 8:07 pm

    I am talking about Chicago taxpayers who want public services on the cheap. Teachers, not bankers, change society. We are forced to live in the city: our taxes rise also. The US is making a grave mistake: disrespecting teachers ( we are the union) is leading to shortages all over the country. In Clark County, NV, there are 700 unqualified subs in regular classes. California has a 60,000 teacher shortage. Teach for America is down 33% yoy. Education programs are down 10% yoy. Why would any 18 year old want to enter this bridge job? These are your children! People think teachers are greedy pigs in this country. They are wrong! Our kids should be THE priority. The Charter 5-year teacher attrition rate is over 90%. I dissuade my students from entering this bridge job. I can assure you that I care infinitely more than others on this board about your children. However, I have earned every penny I have been promised, as have most of the teachers I know. Not all, but the overwhelming majority. I will fight for my compensation. If you think your taxes are too high, move! I think this board is more reasonable than most, but still the taxpayer mantra is that there is no money. Let me ask you this: How come IF we accepted the contract, Claypool was not going to cut anybody this year AND the new contract wasn’t kicking in until next year? All of the sudden, he is slashing 120 million. It doesn’t pass the smell test. See you public-sector welfare recipients on the street.

  • 216. Concerned Parent  |  February 9, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    If CTU is going to strike? I hope they go on strike on the day after the last day of school. But that might affect the CTU’s summer vacation plans!

  • 217. Vet Teacher  |  February 9, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    I stand corrected. I can still tell you that my retired Detroit teacher friends suffered a 4.5% cut. How that occurred I didn’t research. Three of them gave me the same number. I didn’t do a research analysis on the matter. Good luck with that summer strike. I am still betting on late March. We will see what the NLRB rules.

  • 218. Tier4Mom  |  February 9, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    The CTU is your child’s teacher! If you think the CTU is full of crap take your kid out of your teacher’s class because clearly this is what you think of them. As a parent, I would not have my child sit in front of someone that doesn’t have my child’s best interest at heart. Go elsewhere!

  • 219. Vet Teacher  |  February 9, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    The CTU is the teachers. 92% of the teachers voted YES! to authorize a strike. You wouldn’t even think of removing your student from my class. I was one of 15 statewide educators to win an award in Dec. I lead the state in two important competitions. However, feel free to move your kid anywhere you want…I will just get another student off of my school’s waiting list. What a threat! LOL

  • 220. Hi Jay  |  February 9, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    It is ***…and it is vile. Welcome to Chicago!

  • 221. Vet Teacher  |  February 9, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    Tier 4 mom,

    You are absolutely correct. I was responding to any troll on the board who wants to bash teachers by separating the union from the teachers. Parents and teachers must fight the public-sector welfare recipients who want our services on the cheap. If you are unhappy, move!

  • 222. CUTS!!!  |  February 9, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    Lane Tech College Prep stands to lose the most cash from the cuts, according to CPS numbers released Tuesday evening. The school will lose $542,951, a reduction of 2.77 percent of its budget.

    The school losing the highest percent of its overall budget is Northside College Preparatory High School in North Park, which will lose $218,407, or 3.48 percent of its overall budget. Ten other schools lost at least 3.3 percent of its overall budget, according to the district’s numbers.

  • 223. cpsobsessed  |  February 9, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    I haven’t looked at the list yet, but someone on FB commented that some schools actually came out ahead… so not sure how the $ was derived.

  • 224. CarolA  |  February 9, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    Did you notice that many of the biggest cuts are in NWside schools?

  • 225. Jen  |  February 9, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    I did 224. My first thought was, “I’m so glad they didn’t only cut the south and west sides, like they screwed them over in the closings”. My second thought was, “My god, I’d hate to be a principal, trying to figure out how to lay off one or two teachers, redistribute kids to new classrooms and then move teachers around to new rooms mid year in a scramble to meet seniority and certification rules in the middle of the domino effect”. The school I came from won’t be able to just cut materials. I talked to herl on the phone on the way home and she was swearing and talking early retirement.

  • 226. @jen  |  February 9, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    Principals were told not to lay off teachers. It will be support staff or maybe their APs. It will hit clerks, teachers aides etc. Also the principals can decide not to fill vacancies. Maybe for schools like Lane it may be unavoidable to cut a teacher because of the large budget cuts but principals were told not to cut teachers. Principals could also cut programs though…

  • 227. Jen  |  February 9, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    Just because they were told to “try” not to lay off teachers, doesn’t mean they won’t have to. My former school doesn’t have a single teacher’s aide that isn’t already there for sped support and they can’t cut any and meet minutes. They can’t go down to one clerk, its not possible. There aren’t any vacancies open to leave unfilled. She’s beside herself.

  • 228. Marketing Mom  |  February 9, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    Everyone knows the north side schools can absorb these cuts better than south and west side schools. These schools, including SEHS, can host a fundraiser and or request help from their middle and upper class parents and they will come through. Plus, we all have known from the beginning of the school year that hard times were coming. Any smart principal shouldn’t have been caught off guard and should have been tightening the purse strings since the first day of school.

  • 229. Pension Mess!!!  |  February 9, 2016 at 11:36 pm

    This doesn’t sound good…

  • 230. Karen!!!  |  February 9, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    Has Karen gone bonkers?!? This makes the teachers look silly! I don’t think she should have done this…

  • 231. CarolA  |  February 10, 2016 at 7:07 am

    @229: It may not sound good, but it’s basically true.

  • 232. Jen  |  February 10, 2016 at 7:28 am

    New teachers, if they don’t get a pension but rather a 401K plan then qualify for Social security right? (not that SS is good, but you can’t say no pension and no SS)

  • 233. CarolA  |  February 10, 2016 at 7:45 am

    Yes, I would say that would be true about SS. However, that would mean they would have to start contributing as well.

  • 234. CarolA  |  February 10, 2016 at 8:29 am

    I noticed that there are many schools districts outside Chicago that are also facing major cuts. Is that because Chicago can’t solve its mess or are there other state issues involved?

  • 235. Patricia  |  February 10, 2016 at 9:59 am

    Regarding budget cuts. While big numbers and unfortunate to do mid-year, many schools were anticipating cuts and planned accordingly. Lane, while a big number, is not cutting any staff or programs because they prepared. Kudos to the principals, LSC’s and supporting parent groups for helping weather the storm. That said, a solution is needed!

  • 236. North Center Mom  |  February 10, 2016 at 11:30 am

    If Northside collected $10k from every student/ resident of Lincolnwood, Skokie, and Niles, they could come out even.
    jk. kinda.

  • 237. Chris  |  February 10, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    “I noticed that there are many schools districts outside Chicago that are also facing major cuts. Is that because Chicago can’t solve its mess or are there other state issues involved?”

    *tons* of state issues. *TONS*

    I don’t believe it has anything directly to do with Chicago.

  • 238. Chris  |  February 10, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    CPSO: “Do you remember that fake Rahm twitter account before he got elected? Maybe it’s that guy”

    Yes, I remember. That was actually funny.

    Whoever this is should take some comedy writing classes.

  • 239. CarolA  |  February 10, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    @chris. Thanks for clarifying. It was kind of a trick statement. Everything in Chicago seems to be the fault of teachers but the suburbs seem to have similar problems and I don’t hear about those teachers being the source of the problem. Plus….what’s with the deal that all cuts will be reversed if we sign a contract? Does CPS have money or not? They’ve already said by end of month they won’t contribute to the pension….problem solved. No cuts. But they are saying we must sign a contract. Why?

  • 240. cpsobsessed  |  February 10, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    @236 – Not a bad idea! give principals 5% of their seats to “sell” for whatever they can get to raise extra money for the school! Or heck, open the new Obama high but every seat is $10k/year. At 1600 students that would be $16/mil a year (although really just a drop in the bucket.)

  • 241. Chris  |  February 10, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    “At 1600 students that would be $16/mil a year ”

    And a budget of ~$10m (based on Payton’s budget of a little under $5m for 890 students), and the rest would be just about enough to retire the construction debt for the building.

  • 242. arghhh  |  February 10, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    CarolA – The contract will most likely include cuts that are already being made and include different agreed upon cuts. CPS does NOT have money. We have to stop thinking that they do. The do NOT have money. JUST cutting the pension contribution does not solve the problem. It only saves $80M or so. CTU needs to agree to contributing more to their benfits, possibly a 401K (with Social Security), retirement of 1200 workers, lower pay increases (1% would mirror the private sector), and elimination of automatic pay increases for seniority.

    Let’s all get it through our heads – CPS IS BROKE. CPS IS BROKE. CPS IS BROKE.

    Also note: The CTU is a union that doesn’t like to compromise. The police union in chicago was much more able to compromise with the city and they have a winning contract that moves us into the future. The problem is the negotiating skills of the union. They and you can’t get it through your heads – CPS IS BROKE.

  • 243. arghhh  |  February 10, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    CPS is not manipulating you. CPS is broke. CPS is not manipulation you. CPS is broke. CPS is not manipulating you. CPS is broke. Watch this again.

  • 244. Chris  |  February 10, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    “CTU needs to agree to contributing more to their benfits, possibly a 401K (with Social Security), ”

    CPS can’t afford to pay social security, and give the raises that would be expected. The employer’s half of FICA is 6.2%–basically the amount of the pension pickup–and cannot be skipped *for any reason* (not even a bankruptcy filing).

    AND, more importantly, then there would be no more employee contributions into the CTPF, but the benefits would still be due–meaning that CPS would be on the hook for the full pension deficit over the next several decades. Unless the IL constitution is changed, it wouldn’t be possible to terminate it, and short everyone on already-earned benefits (and, imo, even if the constitution were changed, that wouldn’t be possible). So there is not really anything to be gained from converting current teachers to 401k + SS going forward, tho there may be something to be gained by putting new teachers on that plan.

  • 245. Chris  |  February 10, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    “CPS is not manipulating you. CPS is broke. CPS is not manipulation you. CPS is broke. CPS is not manipulating you. CPS is broke.”

    The problem is that they have been able to plug “Billion Dollar deficits” repeatedly in the recent past. They are the school district that cried Billion Dollar Hole too many times, and now that it is real, too many think that it is once again fillable.

    The credibility gap is 100% understandable.

  • 246. Marketing Mom  |  February 10, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    They have been able to plug those million dollar holes in the past by borrowing more money. Now we are borrowing money to pay off the interest on money we borrowed years ago. This is putting us further in the whole. Folks , CPS is really broke.

  • 247. Tone  |  February 10, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    Chris is functionally insolvent. It needed to borrower in order to not default on obligations. The borrowing won’t happen again.

    Rauner’s BK plan is the best option.

  • 248. Tone  |  February 10, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    CPS is functionally insolvent

  • 249. Tone  |  February 10, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    CTU will be taking a hair cut. There is no way around this. At this point, as a taxpayer, I prefer BK to negotiating with Lewis and Sharkey.

  • 250. Tone  |  February 10, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    Karen Lewis as Emperor Palpatine was just perfect on the twitters!

  • 251. Vet Teacher  |  February 10, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    Raise those taxes. See you trolls on the streets. CPS credibility gap is as wide as the Grand Canyon. Are any of you visiting the DePaul arena when it is built? LOL

  • 252. Tone  |  February 10, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    BK is the best option. Thank goodness we have a governor who understands basic math.

  • 254. Tone  |  February 10, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    “In the bankruptcy, the city cut $7.8 billion from payments to its retired workers, who saw their pensions cut by as much as 18 percent. The city also has escaped $4.3 billion in retirement health care benefits.”

    Music the taxpayer ear.

  • 255. Vet Teacher  |  February 10, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    Better vote Republican down ticket. You will never get it with a Democratic super majority. The only BK on this board is the employer of many of the trolls on this board. Now get back to work flipping Whoppers! You have to pay for my pension!

  • 256. Tone  |  February 10, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    It’s fun watching CTU squirm. Bankruptcy will be the result. There is no money.

    “In the bankruptcy, the city cut $7.8 billion from payments to its retired workers, who saw their pensions cut by as much as 18 percent. The city also has escaped $4.3 billion in retirement health care benefits.”

    Music to the taxpayer ear!

  • 257. Chris  |  February 10, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    “They have been able to plug those million dollar holes in the past by borrowing more money.”

    Sure, but that is not always made clear enough. And, yes, CTU wants everyone to ignore that the “found money” is found from our grand kids tax dollars. But it’s *still* understandable why there is a credibility gap.

    Here are the amounts borrowed (by fiscal year issued) for bonds outstanding as of 6/30/15 (not original issue amounts, some amounts will have been ‘scooped and tossed’ into later issues):

    FY-98 $11,131,899.00
    FY-99 $257,043,662.00
    FY-00 $419,559,983.00
    FY-01 $0.00
    FY-02 $9,440,000.00
    FY-03 $36,255,000.00
    FY-04 $131,735,000.00
    FY-05 $203,820,000.00
    FY-06 $6,852,800.00
    FY-07 $305,875,000.00
    FY-08 $1,317,895,000.00
    FY-09 $0.00
    FY-10 $784,775,000.00
    FY-11 $851,585,000.00
    FY-12 $493,710,000.00
    FY-13 $967,045,000.00
    FY-14 $0.00
    FY-15 $478,100,000.00

    The pre-08 average is about $140m, the since -08 average is over $600m. Most of the difference can be explained by the normal cost pension contributions that Daley didn’t make, and the effects of those skipped payments once the Edgar Ramp kicked in.

    Remember–the pension was over 90% funded *until 2006*!!

  • 258. CarolA  |  February 10, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    My point was that CPS had loopholes with their offer. I agree we need to pay our own pension. I agree health costs will go up. I agree it was a generous offer. I agree it should not have been voted down in a flash. I agree if we asked members that most members would have liked the deal IF there was a plan B that was in place with specifics if the number of retirees didn’t happen. There wasn’t. All it said is we will reopen the contract. Let’s have a solid contract without loopholes. Regarding “the JEDI”…..embarrassing.

  • 259. Vet Teacher  |  February 10, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    That was a municipal bk, not a school system bk. Those workers were city workers, not teachers. CPS cannot go bk under current IL law. Rahm won’t allow it because he doesn’t want a judge to look at the books of the CPS cesspool of corruption. You are going to need a Republican majority at a minimum to have a BK. Now go back to flipping burgers; you have my pension to fund!

  • 260. Tone  |  February 10, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    CTU is in for it. Rauner has proposed BK be allowed. CPS could file under the law. It’s the solution as there is no money.

  • 261. Chris  |  February 10, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    So I wonder if the real *** asked that “jay” change her screen name, because it was too embarrassing.

    Makes “the jedi” seem like a well thought out concept.

  • 262. Vet Teacher  |  February 10, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    You had better check again! The gov. is posturing! In case you haven’t figured it out: Cullerton and Madigan run IL. Ooooh Tone talks a big game. Vote Republican and if your boy Rauner gets re-elected and he gets a Republican majority, (good luck in IL), then you can bloviate about BK. Now get back to flipping burgers; you have to pay for my gold-plated pension!

  • 263. Tone  |  February 10, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    Rauner’s muncipal bankruptcy proposal has Lewis $hitting her pants. It’s fun to watch.

  • 264. Vet Teacher  |  February 10, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    Carol will get her one vote. My vote will offset hers. Who cares what Carol thinks? Did you get a second strike authorization vote yet? Blah, Blah, Blah…. Keep on posting. Let the board know when you get the CTU to have another strike authorization vote! We are all waiting since you think you are so important.

  • 265. Vet Teacher  |  February 10, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    The only sh*t on this thread is the BS coming out of your mouth. Your boss is going to fire you if you don’t get back to work.

  • 266. cpsobsessed  |  February 10, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    On behalf of vet teacher I have changed the image for this post.

  • 267. cpsobsessed  |  February 10, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    @Vet teacher, please monitor your language as we occasionally do have students on here.

  • 268. Tone  |  February 10, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    Love watching CTU squirm. BK is coming. There is no money.

  • 269. Tone  |  February 10, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    “In the bankruptcy, the city cut $7.8 billion from payments to its retired workers, who saw their pensions cut by as much as 18 percent. The city also has escaped $4.3 billion in retirement health care benefits.”

  • 270. Tone  |  February 10, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    267. cpsobsessed | February 10, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    @Vet teacher, please monitor your language as we occasionally do have students on here.

    That’s awesome!

  • 271. Vet Teacher  |  February 10, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    Yes. Tone wrote, “Karen Lewis is $hitting her pants,” first. Why don’t you admonish him as well? Of course not! Does the blogger have a double-standard? Of course! AWESOME! LOL

  • 272. cpsobsessed  |  February 10, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    No, I’m just trying to update this while looking at my phone in one hand and flipping burgers in the other so sometimes I miss things. Thank you for pointing that out though. See you on the street.

  • 273. Vet Teacher  |  February 10, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    Still didn’t see the admonishment. Of course not! Why don’t you just limit the blog to those with whom you agree? Still waiting for the admonishment of Tone, the poster who first used language that offended your sensibilities. After all, students occasionally read this blog! LOL

  • 274. Chris  |  February 10, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    Wah, wah, wah.

    Why don’t you go whine to someone that cares about your middle school level ‘humor’?

  • 275. Vet Teacher  |  February 10, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    Equity is something that eludes Chris and CPS Obsessed. Under the guise of political correctness and niceties, there is a teacher-bashing agenda. That is fine. I expect it from the public-sector welfare recipients. It is par for the course. Most teachers go along to get along and the taxpayers take license to excoriate them on these boards. Feel guilty: ” it’s about the kids” ” the CTU is a bunch of greedy pigs” Yet look at what happens when a teacher calls them out: “watch your language!” Students read this! Still waiting for Tone’s admonishment…It sure us taking a looooonnnnngggg time. I don’t really expect it. That is why I don’t give a hoot ( hopefully that won’t offend) about disingenuous taxpayers. Obviously, the big bargaining team was correct in rejecting the fake contract.

  • 276. CarolA  |  February 10, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    Love the image CPSO! LOL

  • 277. cpsobsessed  |  February 10, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    Vet, if you really want to get into the minutia of this – When I did a search for the bad language you mentioned I found Tone spelling the word “$hit.” If you noticed, I changed yours to “sh*t.”
    Do you see the common element there and the difference in the initial posts?

    I’m sorry to squelch your broader conspiracy theory.

  • 278. cpsobsessed  |  February 10, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    Anyhow, back to discussing CPS and not Vet Teacher’s persecution.

  • 279. Vet Teacher  |  February 10, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    Yes, I am sure that the students who read the board won’t know the difference between $hitting and sh*t. Yet I was scolded by cpso. Tone gets off with no comment from cpso. I expect equity, but obviously cpso doesn’t believe in equitable treatment. I am just thankful that I am in front of Chicago’s children and not cpso! Fairness is the cornerstone of my classroom. Maybe that is why I am so popular among students.

  • 280. Chris  |  February 10, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    “I’m sorry to squelch your broader conspiracy theory.”

    By asserting that you are squelching it, you are merely stoking the fire CPSO.

    I think you need to try on a tinfoil hat to get into the right mood to apply remedial 7th grade logic to the situation. Then you’ll see clearly that you and I and Tone and Patricia, etc etc are not merely coordinating comments, not merely teacher bashing, not merely Rahm-lovers, not merely [whatever other fool thing is being asserted], but actually a part of a collective consciousness, controlled by BRUCE RAUNER!!!!

  • 281. Vet Teacher  |  February 10, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    All the sarcasm in the world doesn’t mask the inequitable treatment. Nobody accused anybody of a conspiracy. It is a feeble attempt to obfuscate the truth. I am still waiting for cpso ro scold Tone. He wrote $hitting first. I was responding to his comment. I am glad that the double standard has been exposed. It just exposes the bias on this board. Honest discourse is impossible when one side isn’t equitable. I stood corrected on the DPS pensions. I admitted it. That is integrity. Your honor means more than something you tell a judge. It is obviously lacking on this blog.

  • 282. Jen  |  February 10, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    @239, Carol, yes some suburbs are having big financial issues and teachers either are not blamed or are blamed much less. I don’t know why this is. The district my kids go to is in excellent financial shape and the teachers are pretty much revered. Revered. I think it has something to do with the suburbs being less anonymous than the city. I also think it is because it truly is a hub of the neighborhood. And, this is just my opinion, but our teachers make less than most people in the neighborhood and I think some people are fine with teacher pay as long as it is less than what “they” make. I think people forget they themselves made the choice to pursue a career other than teaching which may or may not pay them less.

  • 283. HS Mom  |  February 10, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    Hello – Interesting discussion

    Just wondering what people think about many of the colleges now going union in terms of yet another factor complicating CPS money issues. I mean, yeah, good for the unions….what they lose in CPS layoffs they gain elsewhere. With the state being as budget restricted as it is, we’ve got another contingency of folks wanting a piece of the budget.

    I don’t see how CPS BK is avoidable without a speedy cooperative resolution between parties. As mentioned, the easy contracts will get theirs’ first. A true disservice to CPS.

  • 284. themama  |  February 10, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    Since Chicago public school teachers earn well above what the average Chicago family earns, maybe this is the difference? Do Chicago parents feel more entitled to scrutinize pay when it is more than theirs? Or, is it the pension pick up the issue, which I believe is unique to CTU? Or, the poor performance of our students nationally?Or, the threat of a strike only 3+ years after the last one? I don’t know. But, yes, I agree that Chicago parents do seem more critical.

  • 285. themama  |  February 10, 2016 at 10:03 pm

    My comment, #284, was in reference to #282. Fyi,

  • 286. Vet Teacher  |  February 10, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    To Mama: Unique to CTU? You are being double-taxed so that 66% of the downstate and suburban teachers pay NOTHING into their pensions! CPS teachers have been paying 2% since 1982.

  • 287. cpsobsessed  |  February 10, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    @HS Mom – good question about the college unions. I have (personally) gone through many stages of what I think about unions. I think the more one understands about labor and govt pay, the more (I) realize the need for unions. To me, given the situation with college professors being squeezed out of the profits of colleges, it seems to make sense to unionize. Colleges have the ability to raise money, unlike CPS – so there seems to be more rationale for paying fair wages. College obviously aren’t being threatened by charters the way public elem and HSs are, but the same concept is hurting the teachers – those who are not union/tenured are getting a bad deal (same as the charter teachers are.)

    We all know college is super expensive now… I wonder who profits from the high tuition? Where does that $ go?

  • 288. Db  |  February 10, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    I’ve been reading these comments and I’m shocked. First, being a teacher was a decision that use to mean low pay but great pension. That was the trade off agreed to. Now teachers in Chicago are paid well above the average private salary along with a retirement plan that so good it’s unaffordable. The love of teaching and it’s about the children went out the door decades ago so please, it’s about the pay and bennefits.

    Second, 12.4% is paid into social security. Half from employee and half from employer. Anyone should be more then willing to pay 7% into a pension that pays 10’s of thousands more a year then social security would.

    I do agree the cps has not held up their end of the agreements. That being said, to think the ctu which is paid to represent the teachers couldn’t have stopped the pension holidays is foolish. The ctu and teachers will strike for pay raises knowing the pensions are short 1.3 billion. How ever, most comments here say the teachers have no control. The salt in the wound is simple, ctu and teachers were given raises that were simply given to keep them quiet about the pension problem.

    What I haven’t seen, which also supports the idea teachers are simply relying on tax payers money, is no talk of firing the leaders of ctu that are paid to defend the teachers. Get it, cps, ctu and teachers are equally responsible for this pension mess. If I put some one in charge of my retirement, they get fired if they screw up.

    How about the teachers stand up and show the students, parents and taxpayers they realize what happened and demand all union leadership be fired?

    Apologize to the people of Chicago and take steps to show us this won’t happen again.

    At least pay the same amount as the private sector into your much better pension. Is that really too much to ask?

    Yes you agreed to a pension only a fool thought would be affordable. Just like all the people that blame banks for giving loans to people that knew they couldn’t pay.

    The only people getting hurt are students, parents and tax payers. How about no political donations, no pay raises, and or anything else a normal person would do that is broke. Too much to ask? How about a 50% property tax increase for nothing we did, now that is too much to ask. Screwing not only low income families but middle class and upper. Yes we have given you the trust and responsibility to teach our children, that should be an honor not a threat if we don’t meet your demands. In order to do that, how about growing up and taking responsibility for what you have allowed to happen.

  • 289. arghhh  |  February 11, 2016 at 6:08 am

    Hear, hear.

  • 290. Vetteacher  |  February 11, 2016 at 8:03 am

    Taxpayers knew that the politicians were giving the teachers contractually-obligated raises and pension holidays but yet they kept re-electing these same politicians into office. It is the TAXPAYERS’ fault. The only difference between you and me is that I have s contract and you don’t. I am just like the bank and you are the homeowner. Your whining and complaining won’t save your house from foreclosure. And, more importantly, you will pay my pension. All the rest of this board is just noise…

  • 291. Patricia  |  February 11, 2016 at 9:26 am

    One could also argue that the unions and their political donations / voting of membership is what has made Illinois a one party ruled state. That said, yes, Madigan, Cullerton, and other lifelong politicians have all the control. Good reminder to taxpayers to vote them all out of office. Illinois government is not working and those in control that enabled the pension holidays need to go.

  • 292. CPS Parent  |  February 11, 2016 at 9:30 am

    The vitriol from Vetteacher, a teacher at WY and the Director of the Chicago Teacher’s Pension Fund) is amusing.


  • 293. cpsobsessed  |  February 11, 2016 at 9:58 am

    @CPS parent, edited your post so the person can choose to post their own name (and I can avoid a defamation lawsuit) 🙂

  • 294. michele  |  February 11, 2016 at 11:28 am

    To everyone here posting about Teachers, I would like to suggest the concept of shared sacrifice at CPS and the BOE. No matter where you are on the Teachers issue it’s been my experience that organizations who ask everyone to give back a little some thing thrive in the long run. Why not ask non union Central office staff, the BOE, and execs to take a slight pay or benefit reduction as well? Seems fair doesn’t it? If things are as bad as they say everyone shouldn’t we be looking everywhere for revenue not just Teachers and unions?

    Please let’s all look for actionable sustainable solutions and communicate these to the appropriate political people. Write a letter today to the Governor, the Mayor, your Alderman, or the CTU. There’s things each can do – Governor and the state must provide equitable funding for district 299, Mayor and Alderman you can release TIF dollars to help in the short term, and CTU you and all CPS employees can negotiate for reasonable market driven sustainable pay and benefits.

    Parents we are the only ones with out a voice in the conversation – make your voice heard. Contact those who can evoke change otherwise all these posts and all their energy is lost.

    Parents for Equitable Education Funding (PEEF)

  • 295. karet  |  February 11, 2016 at 11:42 am

    @287: CPSO, there has been much discussion about where the high tuition is used at universities. The short answer (depending on the school) is: athletic departments, administrators, STEM departments, and building projects/improvement (especially at private universities. Have you walked around Loyola or Northwestern lately? So much construction!). (BTW, I’m on the faculty in a humanities department at UIC so I can tell you where the money DOESN’T go!)

    As for unions at universities, HS Mom I’m not sure why you think the CPS budget would be affected? Both University of Chicago and Loyola have recently voted for their non t-t faculty to unionize (I assume that’s what you’re referring to?). Since both are private universities, I don’t see the connection. UIC does have a union which includes both t-t and non t-t faculty, but I don’t believe our budget or union has any bearing on CTU or the CPS financial crisis. Our union is remarkably modest and reasonable in its negotiations.

  • 296. Chicago Dad  |  February 11, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    To Karet and CPSobsessed—–the CPS budget is affected by universities only in an indirect, negative way—-in that all these universities, even though they rake in huge amounts, are considered non profits and therefore do not contribute to the tax base—-not just in Chicago, but throughout the country. So even though they manage to pay their football coaches and presidents obscene amounts, these schools don’t have to pay taxes, since they don’t make profits.
    Cpsobsessed, one of your earlier posts mentioned the profits of these universities, and how the unions can get their share of the profits, but according to the way the system is set up, there are no profits per se at these schools.
    It is true that their employees pay taxes, but that’s true for the employees of private businesses too. Corporations pay their own set of taxes, but universities do not.

  • 297. Chris  |  February 11, 2016 at 12:28 pm


    “I’m not sure why you think the CPS budget would be affected”

    My read was that she wasn’t tying the Uni-Unionization to the CPS budget, but to the underlying health of the umbrella unions–that the ‘union’ is gaining membership from UC and Loyola, while losing some membership from CTU.

    Even if CTU and UC and Loyola unions are members of the same umbrella union (which I think is unlikely, but possible), it still matters to *CTU* individually how large its membership is.

  • 298. Vet Teacher  |  February 11, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    Dig deep into your pockets to pay for my pension. Post your address and I will send you a box of tissue.

  • 299. luveurope  |  February 11, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    298 are you an ass*** in the classroom like you are here? Just askin.

  • 300. Vet Teacher  |  February 11, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    Ad hominem (look it up) attacks don’t work. Time to face reality and dig deep. Taxes are going up. You won’t be able to afford your Old Style anymore. LOL

  • 301. luveurope  |  February 11, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    301 sorry dude. i’m already collecting a city pension. Bark up another tree.

  • 302. Tone  |  February 11, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    CPS balance sheet as of 6/15 shows total assets of $8.8Billion and total liabilities of over $20 Billion. CPS has a negative “NW” of over $11Billion.

    In conclusion, CPS is bankrupt. The sooner the financial reorg as proposed by Rauner starts, the better off the students will be.

  • 303. Tone  |  February 11, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    Very much looking forward to this.

    “In the bankruptcy, the city cut $7.8 billion from payments to its retired workers, who saw their pensions cut by as much as 18 percent. The city also has escaped $4.3 billion in retirement health care benefits.”

  • 304. Tone  |  February 11, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Parents need to get their heads out of the sand and stand up to the CTU thugs.

  • 305. Vet Teacher  |  February 11, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    They should stand up to bankers and the unelected school boards, who are profiteers because they own stock in charter school operators.

    Of course, they go after teachers, 80% of whom are women. It is easier for them to kick the crap out of their mothers and sisters than to take on corrupt male politicians and bankers. Who’s your daddy? Daddy knows best! LOL.

    That being said, your and my taxes are going up. Prepare yourself. Buy a Kia instead of a Lexus; you will be fine.

  • 306. CarolA  |  February 11, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    Thugs???? Oh brother. Is the name calling necessary? I thought this was a place where people can give an OPINION. I’m teaching my “little ones” all about character traits. Try the good ones! Grow up!

  • 307. Tone  |  February 11, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    CPS balance sheet as of 6/15 shows total assets of $8.8Billion and total liabilities of over $20 Billion. CPS has a negative “NW” of over $11Billion.

    CPS is facing a $1Billion operating deficit next year as well.

    CPS is bankrupt. The sooner the financial reorg as proposed by Rauner starts, the better off the students will be.

  • 308. Tone  |  February 11, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    One can sense the fear from Lewis and CTU.

  • 309. Tone  |  February 11, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    Pigs at the taxpayer trough.

  • 310. Vet Teacher  |  February 11, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Tone: CPS cannot go BK without a change in IL law. Come back in a few years with a Republican majority in the IL congress and you might get a vote. Until then, save your money because YOU get the honorable duty of partially paying for MY pension. That will be the sweetest part of my pension- Tone’s tax increase.

  • 311. NS Parent  |  February 11, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    I notice VetTeacher did not deny their identity. If this is true that a union leader is making these comments it:
    1. makes me sad
    2. explains a lot about the lack of successful negotiation between CPS and CTU given we have a “wah wah, dat’s not fair” childlike pension leader and a Jedi warrior running the show. (I say this part in Jest, Ms Lewis seems to be more professional now than in the past.)

  • 312. Tone  |  February 11, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    There is nothing professional about CTU. They are extortionists of taxpayer money.

  • 313. Vet Teacher  |  February 11, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    If you get too sad and start crying, I will spring for a box of tissue. I would have bought you Kleenex, but I can only afford tissue since you want to cut my well-earned pension. If it makes your nose raw, you only have yourself to blame.

  • 314. Tone  |  February 11, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    The saddest part is that the most hurt by CTU are the poor and lower middle class. I will be fine.

    You can see CTU true colors by watching Lewis talk about ‘war’ and *** aka Vet Teacher laugh at taxpayers struggling.

    Wake up Chicago, CTU does not care about the kids. They pigs at trough getting ready for slaughter.

  • 315. Tone  |  February 11, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    I get no greater pleasure than seeing their true intentions laid out for CPS parents.

  • 316. Vet Teacher  |  February 11, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    40 people are on the big bargaining team. Yet, parent is blaming one person. The big bargaining team unanimously voted to reject the bogus contract offer. You are giving to much power to one person.. It is just like this thread; people think by whining and moaning that they are going to influence others. Time for a reality check; nobody cares one iota about what you think. It is for amusement purposes only.

  • 317. Vet Teacher  |  February 11, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    “Wake up Chicago” the great Tone is speaking! Tone, if I were you, I would shout a little louder. LOL. I am sure you will change hearts and minds. You are the most amusing of all the trolls on this thread.

  • 318. Amused  |  February 11, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    Is this “Tone” person really Dwayne Hoover from every single Chicago Tribune message board regarding an article on CPS for the last five years? The dead giveaway was calling every professional educator in Chicago “pigs in a trough” lol.

  • 319. Vet Teacher  |  February 11, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    Wouldn’t it be great if teachers could go to Tone’s employer (if he/she even works) and call him/her all kinds of names when he/she is negotiating a contract? LOL. You will have to excuse Tone; he probably can’t afford the extra hundred bucks a year for those educating the children of Chicago. Just think if instead of spending hours complaining on the various boards, he/she actually worked an extra 12 hours ($8.50 an hour), he wouldn’t be so burdened. LOL

  • 320. Chris  |  February 11, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    NS Parent:

    “did not deny their identity”

    I can’t believe that an actual person would want to be associated with the ill-informed spittle sprayed around here by ‘jay’. But the implied association suits the purposes of ‘jay’ on here.

    In any event, back in the spring ‘jay’ mentioned in the middle of a rant that her school was going wall to wall IB; however, it is well established that the real person you are referring to teaches at Whitney Young.

    Thus, I believe that this is actually a parody sock, and we are getting the distinct pleasure of the ‘humorous’ stylings of an anti-CTU goof, or a semi-precocious 7th grader.

  • 321. cpsobsessed  |  February 11, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    True. Given the nature of the Internet let us not jump to conclusions.

  • 322. Vet Teacher  |  February 11, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    Ouch, my feelings are hurt! LOL. Chris has no arguments so she resorts to ad hominem attacks. She has to attack me personally. News flash! You can attack me all you want. The fact is taxes are going up to pay for my pension. There will be no BK until there is a Republican majority in the IL congress. You should spend your energy campaigning for your Republicans. Your boy Rauner won’t even get a vote on the Springfield floor on any legislation that limits union rights. Madigan and Cullerton run this state. Even if you get a vote, you need a constitutional amendment to change the pensions- 2/3rds vote for that. You obviously didn’t read the 7-0 IL Supreme Court decision. All the blathering by the trolls on this board is just that: blather. Now you can continue with your fantasies. Please proceed. ..

  • 323. Vet Teacher  |  February 11, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    What would you feeble-minded trolls do if I gave you my identity? Ya all meetin’ and getting a posse together? Ya all got yer pitchforks? Oooh I am really scared. Ok, I will tell you: I am Donald “J” Trump. I was using “J” to conceal my identity. I wanted to see what the powerful people were thinking. I mean, if you want action, this is the decision-making blog. Herein lies the power-brokers and decision-makers for the city of Chicago. All these powerful posters like Chris and Tone have the power to sway the Aldermen and Mayor! ROTFLMAO. This blog is for amusement purposes only! I am thoroughly amused. Chris, I thought you were moving out of the city? Yet you still remain here. Is Chris short for Christ? Jesus, is that you? Forgive me for my sin of not agreeing with the all-powerful taxpayers on this blog! LOL

  • 324. Parent and Taxpayer  |  February 11, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    A similar, obnoxious message and tone is found on their Facebook page. Just sayin’…

  • 325. cpsobsessed  |  February 11, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    And…..this is why I stopped making posts like this.

    Ok, on topic, no taunting, let’s go back to thoughtful discussion please. If a post annoys you I encourage you to ignore it. If it annoys me I may delete it to keep the conversation on track.

    Thank you for the discussion so far.

  • 326. HS Mom  |  February 11, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    Thanks for the thoughts on college unions and the clarification by Chris.

    I guess my concern is about State funds that CPS is trying get more of ……seems like many others with their hands out. I am unclear how this new form of unionization works with private universities. I assume similar to a private corporate union. But what about the public universities? Don’t they take a piece of the state budget that CPS is aiming to get? It does make sense that the impact would be minimal on CPS, as described here. The timing seems funny to me on colleges looking to unionize all of a sudden.

    I still think that with all the needs of the state and the lack of funds, time is of the essence to come to an agreement before CPS is cut out.

  • 327. cpsobsessed  |  February 11, 2016 at 11:45 pm

    Article by Ben Jarovsky on “the bond”.

    I still don’t fully get it. What’s the interest rate on this bond?

    From the article:

    “Basically, the mayor had to give the lenders what people in the industry call an “original issue discount.”

    That means they’re not lending us the full amount of the loan.

    In this case, instead of lending CPS $725 million, they’re only lending it about $615 million. But CPS still has to repay the full $725 million.

    Think of it this way. They’re lending us $725 million and we immediately give them $110 million right back.

    I’m telling you—I could use one of these “original issue discounts” for my next birthday.

    Actually, we don’t really even wind up with $615 million.

    That’s because, in addition to interest, we have to pay about $9 million in fees to the bond merchants who underwrite the deal—the usual collection of characters that include J.P. Morgan, Barclays, Loop Capital Markets, and so forth.

    What—you thought these guys did this stuff for free too?”

  • 328. Vet Teacher  |  February 12, 2016 at 12:49 am

    Censorship. I wonder whose posts will get deleted. Have at it. Lol. Not Tone’s or Chris’ s; that’s for sure.

    Taxpayer- Remember, ignore all my posts. In fact, only read posts with which you agree.

  • 329. Vetteacher  |  February 12, 2016 at 1:00 am

    Good for Rahm’s Wall Street Banker buddies, eh? Gov. Rauner BK commentary was timed perfectly, eh? Those damn greedy teachers! 124 million in discount-exactly the same as the CPS budget cuts for the schools. I am shocked. Going back to eating my slop at the trough…

  • 330. Parent and Taxpayer  |  February 12, 2016 at 5:38 am

    CPSO: please read the article I posted earlier in the thread. There were all sorts of shenanigans in this issue. This is what happens when insolvent organizations issue debt to make a payment for which they will be in default in just a few days. It is ugly. Without the self dealing and usury interest there was no way this deal was going to get done. CPS bought a few more months before the a very high price.

  • 331. Tone  |  February 12, 2016 at 10:21 am

    It’s only a matter of time. Banktruptcy is near for CPS. There will be no more borrowing. There is no more money.

    CPS balance sheet as of 6/15 shows total assets of $8.8Billion and total liabilities of over $20 Billion. CPS has a negative “NW” of over $11Billion.

    CPS is facing a $1Billion operating deficit next year as well.

  • 332. Chris  |  February 12, 2016 at 11:00 am

    “A similar, obnoxious message and tone is found on Jay’s Facebook page. Just sayin’…”

    Well, if that’s true…I dunno what to say. SMH.

  • 333. Chris  |  February 12, 2016 at 11:05 am

    HS Mom:

    ” The timing seems funny to me on colleges looking to unionize all of a sudden.”

    It’s not all of a sudden–there have been unionization movements here and there among TAs (ie, PhD students) going back at least 15 years, and the rapid rise in the %-age of adjunct faculty at many schools (and the crap way that most schools treat their adjunct faculty), and combine that with no increase in the number of tenure-track positions (that is, no carrot for the adjuncts), and you have the perfect situation.

    There are a ton of articles out there about the issue.

  • 334. Chris  |  February 12, 2016 at 11:10 am

    CPSO: “I still don’t fully get it. What’s the interest rate on this bond?”

    Per the IRS (first result for my search), Original Issue Discount:

    “is a form of interest. It is the excess of a debt instrument’s stated redemption price at maturity over its issue price (acquisition price for a stripped bond or coupon). Zero coupon bonds and debt instruments that pay no stated interest until maturity are examples of debt instruments that have OID.”

    So, essentially, it is ‘pre-paid’ interest. It’s like paying point on your mortgage–CPS ‘bought down’ the annual interest by “paying” it upfront, and then had the payment rolled in to the principal.

  • 335. Chris  |  February 12, 2016 at 11:15 am

    From the real person’s web presence:

    “My objective is to become a more decent human being every day. Still working on it.”


  • 336. karet  |  February 12, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    HS Mom, In addition to what Chris said (the trend of unionization is not new — and it’s national), it’s not as if the union at UIC can guarantee or demand a certain percentage of the state budget. Rauner just announced huge cuts to the University of Illinois:

    “Feb. 18 Gov. Bruce Rauner called for state funding to the University of Illinois to be cut by 31.5 percent — nearly $209 million, including about $60 million at UIC — for fiscal year 2016.”

  • 337. cpsobsessed  |  February 12, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    So people can’t buy those bonds and make interest. Who is getting the interest then?

  • 338. Tone  |  February 12, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    Hey taxpayers, do you only contribute 2% of your salary to your retirement?

    Social Security alone takes 6%. How much will you get in Social Security?

    How about your 401k, do you all contribute to that as well?

    CTU is bleeding the taxpayers of Chicago dry. Time to end it.

  • 339. Tone  |  February 12, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    No, part of the bond proceeds are essentially pre paying interest. The bondholder get the payment. Thanks CTU!

  • 340. Vet Teacher  |  February 12, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    I will speak for CTU on this one: you are very welcome! Now get back to work; you have my pension to fund!

  • 341. Parent and Taxpayer  |  February 12, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    Rich, objective commentary on the just completed, last gasp financing, from a bond professional. I apologize for the firewall.

  • 342. Vetteacher  |  February 12, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    I miss the flipping burger picture; it encapsulated the posters on this blog. On the brink of Bankruptcy? LOL! I would love a BK. I would buy some popcorn and be mesmerized by the cesspool of corruption that is the City of Chicago opening their books to the judge. It will be the greatest horror show of all time. Let the mayor squirm. Too bad for taxpayers that his ego is so large that he will never let it happen. Gov.Rauner needs a Republican majority first. Good luck with that. Dig deep; daddy is about to retire!

  • 343. Parent and Taxpayer  |  February 12, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    Vet I read your commentary on your FB page. For someone who directs a pension fund, I would expect at least minimal understanding of municipal finance. Disappointing…

    And YES, Chicago is a pool of corruption

  • 344. Vet Teacher  |  February 12, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    Taxpayer, I am disappointed that you don’t understand IL state law and the political reality that we taxpayers are up against:

    1. Rauner’s legislation will not even make it to the floor.

    2. Rahmbo will NEVER let Chicago go BK on his watch.

    3. CPS cannot go BK under current IL law.

    4. Chicago can,but no way will the 3rd largest city in America go bankrupt.

    5. There was an IL SC decision (7-0) last summer that didn’t even allow the Cullerton bill to “diminish pensions in a slight way”

    6. You are going to need a 2/3 majority of IL legislators to pass a constitutional amendment. Your boy Rauner is a Republican. The legislature is 67% Democrat. That means you will probably need a Republican super-majority to even pass the amendment.

    Good luck! Save your money; taxes are going up. Look at it this way; I am worth every penny. I am sooooo good that I deserve a big raise.

  • 345. Chris  |  February 12, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    “4. Chicago can,but no way will the 3rd largest city in America go bankrupt.”

    So, smart guy, when did that law change?

    Such a wonderful grasp of facts you have…Detroit Teachers took a 4.5% pension cut in the city bankruptcy; DPS has a separate pension fund, Chicago can file ch.9 under current IL law…LOL!

  • 346. Vet Teacher  |  February 12, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    Yes. I am a super smart guy. We finally agree on something!

    Chicago can. ( Do you need a literacy course? What part of “can” do you not understand?) Not CPS. Chicago won’t; no way. You can hope and dream but the 3rd largest city in the US won’t go BK. President Clinton will bail her buddy Rahm out before she would let that happen. He is a HUGE fundraiser for Hillary. Good luck! Time for a reality check for Chris (t). Jesus is about to get crucified by Vetteacher!

  • 347. Parent and Taxpayer  |  February 12, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    Vet, I was referring to your note to the Trib that the recent financing could be completed at a 4% rate, save banker greed and BR comments. Look at the balance sheet. There is NO WAY that was going to happen, especially with no way to bridge the gap and no teacher contract. You need to go back to school, teach.

  • 348. Vet Teacher  |  February 12, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    Never commented on the Trib article. You had better learn to READ before you criticize. Now get back to work; the drive-thru customers are getting antsy. Throw in a few extra small fries to appease them.

  • 349. otdad  |  February 12, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    @Vet Teacher:
    You need to learn some math. Not only Chicago, the whole country is spending borrowed money. Sooner or later, there has to be a change or correction. You obvious think this can go on forever.

    I don’t side with either CTU or the city. I think they should work together to give the best education to Chicago’s children. Personally, I think Karen Lewis should repeat elementary school, calling nasty names to everyone who she doesn’t agree with, it’s not an acceptable behavior in CPS elementary schools.

  • 350. Vet Teacher  |  February 12, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    You need to learn subtraction. Your taxes are going up. Learn to live on less. I have been called all kinds of names on this thread.

    I like taxpayers trying to “school” the teacher. I have had plenty of schooling; A LOT more than you.

    Here’s the difference between you and me: I have an opinion and a contract. You only have an opinion. You should have voted in better politicians over the years;politicians that protected you. You sat quietly while I was busy building my pension.

    If you are so smart, why do I have a constitutionally-protected contract and all you have is “hot air.”

    I will retire comfortably on your dime. Dig deep; you will pony up for my pension.

    All your commentary is just blather. If and when things change, you can revisit the topic. Until then, you are nothing more than an armchair economist.

    See you on the streets, sucka!

  • 351. otdad  |  February 13, 2016 at 12:29 am

    @Vet Teacher:
    I’m shocked those are from supposedly an adult. Are you really a teacher?

    Frankly, I don’t care that much about tax increase, but I do care a lot about my children’s education. Aren’t you tax payer too?

    Speaking of education/degrees/or years in school, you are way not in the same league. Please don’t mention that.

    People come here for information and a insightful discussion. I’m not sure what you are doing here.

    Calm down. Not good for your health.

  • 352. MarthaRaddatzHasGreatLegs  |  February 13, 2016 at 12:34 am

    On one thing, I agree with Vet Teacher: we should have paid more attention to the politicians we were electing. Given the toxic symbiosis between teachers’ unions using taxpayer money to bribe politicians, who in turn would see to it that the unions got their plush pensions and benefits (once again at the taxpayers’ expense), we should have elected less corrupt people to represent us.

  • 353. Patricia  |  February 13, 2016 at 12:59 am

    Agree. It is important to change the political nature of Illinois. It is a fiscal disaster and corrupt. Vote out the politicians who have created this situation—-AND those who are defending business as usual politics. I wish there were more independents running for office. The polarization of the parties is not working! We need to get back to the center and have meaningful conversations.

    Critical changes IMO include (1) amend the state constitution to allow for logical change to pension benefits; (2) allow for entities such as CPS to declare bankruptcy; (3) change the political districting to a grid, no more gerrymandering. Number 3 is probably the most important one to actually effect change—and then enable 1 and 2 to happen. If status quo continues, not sure I will be living in Illinois long enough to see if change happens.

    I used to be disengaged and vote by party (Dem), then I evolved to an independent issues voter, now I am gravitating toward, “anyone but the establishment.” Nothing is working, nothing is happening, nothing is being accomplished, nothing is being resolved, nothing is even being discussed in a rational matter. The Madigan way has to go!

  • 354. Parent and Taxpayer  |  February 13, 2016 at 9:27 am

    @otdad, Vet Teacher is ***. There are many, many wonderful teachers in CPS, but the CTU leadership is imbecillic, impetuous scum, as evidenced here.

  • 355. BC31  |  February 13, 2016 at 10:11 am

    My wife and I have two kids who aren’t even in preschool yet. We really want to stay in the city and send our kids to a CPS elementary school in Roscoe Village or North Center. But everything you read or hear on the CPS budget and the state obviously has us very nervous. The easy decision is to move to the suburbs and avoid CPS all together. We have toured the CPS schools and met parents and the community feel of these schools is absolutely amazing. My question is to those parents or teachers who are in CPS now or have been in the past, if you had to make the decision all over again, would you choose a different school? Are the CPS schools worth the headache? Has your child’s education been materially affected at all due to budget cuts? Thanks in advance for your feedback!

  • 356. Teaching Tolerance  |  February 13, 2016 at 10:36 am

    For the record: vet teacher is not a union leader. He is a fellow teacher at my community high school. I just spent the morning reviewing his posts. As usual I’m impressed by his detailed, research-based knowledge. Is his word choice sometimes inflammatory? Sometimes. But you must understand – we teachers who dedicate each day attempting to ease the burdens, build the confidence, ignite the spirit AND teach skill mastery/critical thinking are done being maligned. You have NO idea what our kids face. I had no idea until I made a mid-life career change 11 years ago. Why do we need “wraparound services” for our kids? Just yesterday I had the self-confident, good-looking, athlete who wrote an essay at the beginning of school how being a teenager was “easy” literally breakdown sobbing in my classroom. I was eating lunch and was lucky enough to calm him down and find a social worker who was on lunch duty (yes, she also is charged with hall duty in addition to helping our 1600 students). I also listened to a girl complain that the stress she was experiencing was so bad that her hair was falling out. Another girl, one of my brightest, limped into class again clutching her side. I had mistakenly thought it was a twisted ankle earlier in the year only to learn she has an enlarged pancreas. Within the last month, I’ve called DCFS after a student asked me if it was “OK for my mom to hit me and threaten to cut off my hair while I’m sleeping.” I’ve called Catholic Charities and asked a counselor to please reinstate one of my students on her caseload because he told me he was feeling suicidal due to the violent death of his younger brother….I could go on. I don’t claim to be a saint. I entered this profession because I am passionate about creating change. I am physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted every day when I arrive home. But I know that I have truly done my best to contribute something valuable to this planet and the youth I have the privilege to teach. Here’s something that might surprise you. Vet teacher is one of the most popular teachers in our school. He has a fan club who scream out his name every time they see him. He has kids who skip lunch just to spend it talking to him. He has mentored countless young adults and has helped many choose a better path in life. I also know that time and again he has reached into his own pockets to buy everything from food for a wheel-chair bound student whose family literally had nothing to eat (last week) to prom tickets for a deserving student who never could have experienced this important rite of passage without his help. There is no one in my school of whom I am more proud to call my friend.

  • 357. Chicago Dad  |  February 13, 2016 at 11:32 am

    Sounds like a tough job.

    Not sure what it has to do with funding your own pension and going without raises like 99 percent of Chicago residents have to do.

  • 358. walker  |  February 13, 2016 at 11:50 am

    @Teaching Tolerance, we have wonderful teachers, no doubts about that and big “thank you” for what you do.

    As I understand the problem correctly, there is not enough money to support the current level of spending at CPS. I do hope all parties will be prudent enough not to go Jedi but instead come up with a wise thoughtful solution.

  • 359. Teaching Tolerance  |  February 13, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    “A better move would be to resurrect the Chicago School Finance Authority that oversaw CPS finances from 1980 to 1995. The Authority was a “clear deterrent to make sure they not only balanced the budget but they didn’t give away the store in the out years.” The Authority’s oversight ended in 1995 when the Legislature gave Mayor Richard M. Daley permission to divert money earmarked for pensions to other uses. It was an irresponsible move by the mayor and the state. CPS took its first partial pension holiday and a bad habit began.”

  • 360. Teaching Tolerance  |  February 13, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    “TIFs are a surcharge on property tax bills, supposedly to eradicate blight in low-income neighborhoods. Unfortunately, the money mostly goes for projects in relatively wealthy neighborhoods.At last count, there was $1.4 billion sitting in various TIF-related bank accounts. Several Democratic legislators have proposed a bill that states if there isn’t a binding contract obligating TIF money to be spent on a precise project, the mayor has to spend it on CPS.”

  • 361. Jen  |  February 13, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    @355, I was in your shoes a few years ago. We got incredibly lucky and our kids were admitted into one of the best schools (due to having families who care about education) CPS has to offer. We moved for my husband’s job and I look back and regret not doing it earlier. Yes, our CPS school was good, but there was also 32 kids in a classroom and constant fundraising to ensure we had what we needed. Now, our kids can walk to their elementary, middle and high school and are in class sizes of the low 20’s. There’s little fundraising because we have what we need already. There’s guaranteed entrance to a solid high school. We don’t worry about our teachers going on strike because they’ve tied their pay raises to the consumer tax index so our system is sustainable. And the feel within the schools? Awesome. CPS is going to fall apart. I personally don’t feel even their top, top, top schools are worth it. Others feel differently.
    I was a teacher in CPS and now I teach in a suburb. I felt like CPS was always about educational triage. And I was in a good school. But we never had what we needed. Never. Especially when it came to adequate staffing. Now, I work in a place with a full time nurse, two full time social workers, 1.5 psychologists, 1.5 reading specialists, triple the amount of teacher aides we had in CPS, and much more. My CPS school had a nurse 1 day a week, 1 social worker, a psych 1 day a week, 0 reading specialists, not enough aides. I always felt like CPS was setting up their teaching staff to fail. Now, I feel that there’s nothing my district wouldn’t do to ensure our success. I taught 30 early primary students in CPS, no aide. Now, I have 17 kids and a full time aide.
    Knowing the full ins and outs of CPS, I do believe if one gets their child into one of the best schools they can get a decent education if their parents supplement. But I don’t think its worth it and especially not given the terrible financial situation CPS is in. Yeah, you can do it, but you can get so much more in some (not all) suburbs. CPS does have a handful of schools that test far better than any burb, this is true. So you have to decide how much that matters to you. If your child turns out to have any special needs, are you willing to gamble on CPS? Are you okay with constant labor strife? It depends of course on where you work too. A long commute into and out of the city each day would be awful.
    No amount of money could ever convince me to return to teach in the city again. I’m finally able to really reach every single one of my kids and differentiate for each one of them at deep levels and not have to do it completely alone. Kudos to the teachers who stayed. You are doing a job that is beyond impossible.

  • 362. Teaching Tolerance  |  February 13, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    “In summary, (1) Past teacher sacrifices have already saved the district more than half a billion dollars, (2) We are willing to engage in additional shared sacrifice, so long as it is shared, and (3) We will protect students and taxpayers by using these negotiations to ensure future fiscal discipline by officials in CPS and City Hall.”

  • 363. Teaching Tolerance  |  February 13, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    And you thought it was Mississippi…” Illinois ranks last among the 50 states in “funding equity” for public schools, leaving districts in poor areas with less money for special education and other programs that impoverished students are more likely to need, Cullerton said.”

  • 364. Teaching Tolerance  |  February 13, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    “Unfortunately, Mayor Emanuel seems determined to carry on the great Daley tradition of throwing around money like it was confetti. When all is said and done, I suspect that Emanuel’s South Loop project—involving a new basketball arena and Marriott hotel—may rival the Block 37 underground train station as Chicago’s dumbest waste of money, and that’s saying something.”

  • 365. Teaching Tolerance  |  February 13, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    “Rahm Emanuel Is Trying To Pay Wall Street Banks Even More for Chicago’s Bad Financial Deals”

  • 366. Teaching Tolerance  |  February 13, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Meanwhile students ask… “Are we really equal?”

  • 367. Teaching Tolerance  |  February 13, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    “Parent Group, Raise Your Hand Blasts CPS for Budget Priorities – Cuts Disproportionately Hit District Run Schools while Charter and Central Office Spending Increases”

  • 368. Teaching Tolerance  |  February 13, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    Parent Group, “Raise Your Hand” proposed budget solutions:

  • 369. Teaching Tolerance  |  February 13, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    @Chicago Dad — I hope posts 359 & 360, 362-368 provides the help you seek.

  • 370. BC31  |  February 13, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    @361 Jen, thank you so much for your detailed response. We have our heart set on Coonley, Bell, Audubon, or Hamilton. (Can’t come close to affording Blaine). My thought is that the fundraising you do at the CPS elementary schools is a big reason for cultivating the community atmosphere of these schools. I went to Catholic school when I was a kid, so I am used to constant fundraising, and I remember how much of a tight knit community that created, when everyone has a shared responsibility.

    My fear was that this sort of community wouldn’t exist at the suburban public schools as there is less of a burden on the parents to stay involved, as there is adequate funding. I could easily be completely wrong in that way of thinking, though.

    The city is great, but one of the hardest things to wrap my head around is that you have to spend $1.2 million on a single family home (which needs work), with no backyard. Also, it seems common for people have kids in CPS in these neighborhoods and leave for the suburbs when the oldest is in third or fourth grade. Kind of like waving the white flag of surrender, saying “we tried.”

    You could always stay in the city and go the route of private (non-elite) or Catholic Schools, as they have good reputations as well. But then you are talking about spending more money.

    We will continue to deliberate and I sincerely appreciate your honest insight!

  • 371. parent  |  February 13, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    @370, You don’t have to spend 1.2 million. Look around Norwood Park, Edison Park, Edgebrook or Wildwood. Great schools and you can spend half that on a nice home with a yard.

  • 372. SoxSideIrish4  |  February 14, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    355. BC31 | February 13, 2016 at 10:11 am

    Those are such hard questions to answer realistically since CPS is so totally different than when my children first started. I know for a fact that we would stay in Chicago but I don’t know if we would send our kids to CPS. I knew the grammar school I wanted my kids to attend so we moved into the neighborhood even though my husband wanted them to go to Catholic schools. After touring the schools, the Catholic grammar school didn’t have what my CPS school did~HS Algebra, Computer Lab, Math Club, Science Club, World Language Club, etc. Now they do. I knew all of my kids would be interested in and participate in the above clubs. However; now, I can’t say even hypothetically what I would do. I would tour your neighborhood CPS school, along with any other schools on your list and make the best choice for your family. Good luck!!

  • 373. SoxSideIrish4  |  February 14, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    ^^^I guess I’m so upset with the janitorial contract and the lack of cleaning going on in CPS~it’s disgusting. But I think I would enroll my kids in the neighborhood school if CPS could keep the school clean. Since Aramark doesn’t fulfill their obligation to keep schools clean, CPS should be able to void the contract.

  • 374. mom2  |  February 15, 2016 at 10:20 am

    @361 Jen, would you mind sharing what district or town you teach in? The support for IEP kids sounds wonderful.

  • 375. Jen  |  February 15, 2016 at 11:21 am

    Western suburb area. Think one of these towns: Glen Ellyn, Lombard, Wheaton, Villa Park, Elmhurst. It sounds stupid, but I wake up every morning so excited to go to work each day. It also helps that I have a team of teachers I work with who are amazing. Our school is not high income even though you’d think it would be given the area. Its actually pretty comparable income wise to many city schools. But the services are great, there’s a strong gifted program, and every day, you see some teachers’ cars in the lot by 6 a.m., some until 6 p.m. and several every single weekend. (My team tends to come in 2-3 weekends a month so I’m there to see it)
    My kids attend the school in the town we live in, but I’d send them to my work school in a heartbeat.

  • 376. mom2  |  February 15, 2016 at 11:46 am

    Thank you! So sad that CPS can’t do this. Makes me crazy trying to figure out if we should move or not.

  • 377. Chris  |  February 15, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    “Chicago can. ( Do you need a literacy course? What part of “can” do you not understand?)”

    Can what? File Bankruptcy under current Illinois law?

    Do you honestly believe that?

    If so, I refer you to Section 109(c) of the Bankruptcy Code, and the IL state code. I’ll even spot you the following:

    109(c)(2) requires that a municipality seeking to file chapter 9 be:

    “specifically authorized, in its capacity as a municipality or by name, to be a debtor under such chapter by State law, or by a governmental officer or organization empowered by State law to authorize such entity to be a debtor under such chapter”

    Now, just read the IL Rev. Stat. and find the provision that authorizes a municipality (of any size) to be a debtor. Take your time, as it’s an awful lot to read to prove a (well-known) negative.

    ps: For Bankruptcy Code purposes, CPS is also a “municipality”, so, unless the (well hidden) IL statute requires ‘home rule’, CPS could, too.

  • 378. Chris  |  February 15, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    “For the record: vet teacher is not a union leader. He is a fellow teacher at my community high school.”

    He’s encouraged a different impression.

    “As usual I’m impressed by his detailed, research-based knowledge.”

    Like that the Detroit teacher pension was cut by the city’s BK?

    Or that the Detroit teachers don’t participate in the state-run pension plan?

    Or that Chicago can file bankruptcy under existing law?

    All of which mistaken information would have been corrected by a simple internet search, and an aggregate 10 minutes of reading??

    I have NO DOUBT that he’s an entirely different person with the kids, that he’s a great teacher, and well liked. But what is presented here is essentially diametrically opposed to that (I’ll-take-your-word-for-it) real life.

  • 379. Vet Teacher  |  February 16, 2016 at 10:06 am

    For the third time: Chicago can, but they won’t. CPS can’t.

    Chris reminds me of a remedial student. In addition, you keep bringing up the DPS thing. I stood corrected and admitted it. That’s called honesty and integrity.

    Chris NEVER makes a mistake. IT (he/she)is ALWAYS correct.

    Analyze this: You have a useless opinion. I have a useless opinion + a constitutionally-protected contract.

    I will send you some tissue….

  • 380. Chris  |  February 16, 2016 at 11:04 am

    “For the third time: Chicago can, but they won’t.”

    Walk us thru it, smart guy. Walk. Us. Thru. It.

    Even Rauner thinks it requires a change of law:

    Guess your ‘contract’ makes it cheap and easy to be ignorant.

  • 381. cpsobsessed  |  February 16, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    FYI, last names have been removed referring to posters on the thread.

  • 382. michele  |  February 16, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    @374/Jen and others yearning for the simplicity of suburban schools, it is important to remember district 299 has 20% of the students – gives 20% of the taxes to the state of IL – and in return we only gets a little less than 15% of state education funds even though our district has a very high population of low income kids.

    So that extra 5% of state money could be giving our district’s kids more resources in their classrooms too. But presently the state of IL disadvantages our district and the disparity of funding disadvantages our students and our classrooms and gives schools in the suburb more resources. Couple that with extra funds a locale may put in above state funding and you can see how schools are differently resourced by systemic design.

    Lower income students in the city are expected to overcome more with less. Seems like a losing formula to achieve better academic results – doesn’t it?

  • 383. Vet Teacher  |  February 16, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    For the 4th time: Rauner will do nothing until he gets a Republican majority. The City of Chicago can go bk under IL law, but it won’t avail itself of that option. CPS cannot.

    When is Chris(t)’s IEP meeting? LOL

    Post all the links you want. Ain’t happening!

    I prefer patties anyway.

    Chris exhales enough “hot air” to fill a Zeppelin!

    Dig deep; our taxes are going up, up, and away in Chris’ s “hot air” balloon. LOL

  • 384. Chris  |  February 16, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    “The City of Chicago can go bk under IL law”

    Um, no. It can’t.

    Keep repeating it all that you want, it simply makes you sound like a confused, bitter, old bitty.

    Oh, and a dolt.

  • 385. Chris  |  February 16, 2016 at 5:31 pm


    It’s *REALLY* big of you to equate someone you disagree with as someone needing an IEP.

    Hope you keep that BS to yourself when you are in the real world.

  • 386. Vet Teacher  |  February 16, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    Vote for Rauner. Good luck with that. Last time Republicans were in control, Daniels and Phillip removed the Chicago Finance Authority and gave the schools to Daley. Pensions weren’t funded properly and you are where you are now.

    Won’t matter to me. My pension will be around $50k. I won’t have to pay taxes on ny pension if the IL Policy Institute gets its way( which btw I doubt).

    Teachers are soooooooo greedy. LOL.

  • 387. Jen  |  February 16, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    @382, I fully agree and support a more fair educational funding method.
    One thing that does confuse me is how, when CPS receives only 5% less in funding, do they seem to provide so much more significantly worse services that extends past 5% of funding. I’ve taught in CPS so I’m well aware of the inequities, many inside the system itself, not just suburb to city. But how, with just 5% less in funding, does CPS have anywhere between 25-40 kids in a classroom and I only have 17 kids plus 2 sped students? That’s a ball park increase of 50-100% in students. How does my school have all this money for aides, for instructional coaches, for reading specialists, etc, when in CPS we often had to double up on classes if a teacher was sick (meaning put two classes worth of kids into one room) because we couldn’t afford a sub for one day? That’s far more than a 5% problem. Is it just because my suburb pays so much more in taxes than the city does? Is it because us teachers make so much less? Is it because we are actually managed intelligently? Maybe a combo of all of the above, who knows?
    Don’t misunderstand. I fully support a more equitable distribution of funds. It needs to happen. But CPS’s issues are far bigger than just that small amount of money.

  • 388. parent  |  February 16, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    @387. Is it because your union leadership actually cares about the welfare of the children? (and all the other things you suggested!)

  • 389. Vet Teacher  |  February 16, 2016 at 9:03 pm


    Don’t separate the teachers from the union. 92% of the teachers authorized the strike. I can assure you that teachers care about the children FAR more than any other group. In poverty-stricken neighborhoods, almost as much as the parents. Trust the teachers. Yes, we expect to be treated fairly, but the children mean a great deal to the overwhelming majority of teachers. That is why we became teachers. Uncommon acts of altruism toward students are the rule, not the exception. We care a hell of a lot more than bankers and politicians. Respect teachers!

  • 390. Annon  |  February 16, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    bc31: We have three children- over ten years in CPS. Our children have had an incredible education and we stayed in Chicago instead of relocating east where they actually have schools with budgets.
    The years we spent building our school are the only solace in the time since Rahm Emmanuel began to destroy our city schools. The best leadership in CPS has been crushed and demoralized by his terrible leadership. The best teachers are treated like chaff.

    It is hilarious to read this blog full of self serving selective enrollment myopics complain about the very teachers they expect to be central to their children’s over scheduled hyped academic program.
    Lincoln freed the slaves. Move to the suburbs or better go to private school where you have the option to underpay your teachers.
    Get on board with the newbie two year teachers that still have no idea what they are doing. Fill your school with them and top it off with an inexperienced Teach for America CPS principal lister. Brag about your kids useless threee hours of homework at 6 years old and try not to be informed that the average kid in Fiinland who isn;t even expected to read until at least 8 years old will be eating your miserable child’s lunch annually their whole life in every national benchmark that exists- taught by a respected well paid deeply experienced union teacher

  • 391. OMG I'm a suburbanite.  |  February 16, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    @390 Agree.

  • 392. Chris  |  February 17, 2016 at 10:24 am

    “One thing that does confuse me is how, when CPS receives only 5% less in funding”

    You do realize that the “5% more” would increase state funding to CPS by 33%, right? We aren’t talking about CPS getting a 5% increase in state funding.

    The current state funding number is about $8 billion (it’s somewhat higher, but close enough). CPS is budgeted to get about $1.2 billion, as is, but on ‘per student’ allocation would get $1.6 billion. That’s $400 million.

  • 393. Chris  |  February 17, 2016 at 10:30 am

    “Rahm Emmanuel began to destroy our city schools”

    The beginning of the destruction was a long time ago.

    Rahm was an inflection point, driven in no small part by the prior inflection of Daley’s takeover of CPS, and the budget shenanigans he practiced to avoid having to raise taxes. Daley put CPS in a position that would have required a miracle worker (keep in mind that CPS is tax-capped, so a major increase in property tax requires a referendum, and *all* of the TIF funds wouldn’t fill the current year deficit) to fix–and Rahm is certainly no miracle worker.

    But even Li’l Richie Daley wasn’t the beginning of the destruction.

  • 394. Marketing Mom  |  February 17, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    I really resent the CTU using our children as pawns today during their demonstrations at the schools. This is not the way to get the support of the parents. Many parents no longer support the CTU after they turned their nose up at the last contract. It is no longer about the students – so do not drag my kids into this!

  • 395. cpsobsessed  |  February 17, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    MM – I think it varies by how it was done at each school. There are a couple schools I saw where it was more a protest about lack of funding for CPS in general.
    But I haven’t heard anything yet about kids’ involvement. How did it go down at your school that it felt like the kids were used as pawns?

    I couldn’t tell from the (what seemed to be) biased CPS memo how this was really going to work.

  • 396. SoxSideIrish4  |  February 17, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    Marketing Mom on February 17, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    I don’t think CTU used mt kids at all. Many parents showed up, especially after Claypool’s letter. In fact some parents who weren’t going to go showed after receiving the letter. I know many, many parents that support CTU and after Rauner’s lack of budget and providing CPS with their funding, more parents stand with CTU.

  • 397. Vet Teacher  |  February 17, 2016 at 4:32 pm


    Oh yes! Rahm Emanuel cares about your kids than the teachers. I am sure Bruce Rauner cares about your kids more than the teachers.

    No CTU member (teacher)forced any student to walk-in today.

    Don’t you think it is wise to listen to the students once and a while, that they can think for themselves. I can assure yoi they can! In fact, I trust my students way more than I trust adults. Collectively, students are far more honest than adults. Maybe you oughta start listening to them a little more.

  • 398. mom2  |  February 17, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Kids love their teachers. If their teachers are all saying, come walk with us and show us how much you care and want us to be able to teach you…what are they going to do? Of course they are going to walk with them. My kid walked. In fact, if I was there, I might walk with them, too. I’d do it because they said it shows you care about the teachers and want them to be there to teach your kids. I want that. I feel that. I’ve also read remarks from parents about how the teachers want to help their kids and want smaller class sizes and more help in the classroom and more books and better technology. If that is what teachers wanted, I would agree with them.

    But those parents and kids aren’t reading details about what CTU is actually wanting. If they read about money and benefits for teachers…and in order to get this, more taxes for parents…well…not sure…

  • 399. Jen  |  February 17, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    @392, No, I did not know this. Could you elaborate?

  • 400. Confuused  |  February 17, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    I noticed that the neighborhood school parking lot has a new Mercedes Benz SUV parked in the reserved spot for the principal, and a BMW SUV parked in the reserved spot for the assistant principal. Not trying to judge. But it brought up a question, Do we know that CPS staff salaries are maintained reasonably?

  • 401. cpsobsessed  |  February 17, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    FYI, (and I don’t fully know what this means, as I am terrible at understanding govt stuff) but Raise Your Hand just posted that the elected school board bill passed out of committee.

  • 402. Jen  |  February 17, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    @388, So far, I’ve seen very little difference in the commitment to teaching and to kids between my current district’s teachers and the teachers I worked with in the city of Chicago. In fact, the great majority of the teachers I currently work with, while fabulous, would not last a year in even the best CPS schools. The conditions are just that different and that much more difficult.

    I know many of us, when I was in CPS, wanted to arrive at school earlier, stay later and come in on weekends but were not allowed to do so. CPS has a policy that no teachers can be in the building unless an engineer is there and they will not pay for the engineer to stay later, etc, due to zero funds available. At my current school I have a key and the code to the security system. Let me say that again. I am trusted enough to have a key to the building and the code to the security system. I also was typically so entirely wiped out by too large class sizes, no TA’s or resource teachers, and so so so many stupid time sucking mandates that even when I wanted to be there more, I found I couldn’t.

  • 403. Vet Teacher  |  February 17, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    That may be true at the elementary level; though I doubt teachers are using kids. However, that is certainly not true at the middle and high school levels. My students are very opinionated.

    Let’s discuss the contract a little:

    Since what the board offered is almost a break even for teachers over four years; replacing the 7% pick-up with raises, why not just ask the teachers to take a pay freeze and not touch the pick-up?

    Here’s why? Rahmbo will strip the 7% and then rescind the raises, just like he did in 2011.

    Charter proliferation: Rahm can’t guarantee charter expansion won’t happen. There is a state charter committee that can override the localities. They can, and I believe they will.

    Speaking of charters: If you were were going BK like everybody on this board claims CPS is, and you had two choices: remodel your house or build a new house, what would you do?

    Just now, local news stations are reporting that Chicago is bidding for the 2024 Olympics ( huge money-losing endeavor for host cities)

    Amazing how a BK city can try to host the Olympics! Doesn’t pass the smell test.

    Looking forward to all counter-arguments.

    This oughta be good

  • 404. citycat  |  February 17, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    @400, what, exactly, are you confused by? Are teachers not allowed to have nice things? Let’s be clear, I’m no fan of either CTU or CPS, and am as frustrated as anybody about the current financial mess. But let’s not be coy, please. The underlying insinuation is that school administrators do not deserve the (high) salaries that they receive. I for one think that my school administrators are dealing as well as they can with the hand they were dealt, and they absolutely deserve their pay. Incidentally, with all that is going on these days, it’s a small miracle that people still want to work in the school system here with all the attendant resourcing stresses and constant budget worries.

  • 405. Chris  |  February 17, 2016 at 6:25 pm


    “No, I did not know this. Could you elaborate?”

    When the “CPS gets 15%, but should get 20%” is thrown around, it is as a percentage of the total state budget for K-12 education. The FY-2015 budget number (there is still no FY-16 budget, 8 months in) was about $8 billion. Thus:

    at 15% that CPS actually gets = $1.2 billion

    at 20% that CPS *would* get with per-student funding = $1.6 billion

    So, that’s $400 million more, an increase of 33% in state funding for CPS.

    A ‘5% increase’ in the funding amount would be about $60 million, and would bring CPS up to getting 15.75% of state funding.

    And the “20% of the students” completely ignores the much higher percentage of the state’s low-income students who are in CPS, and the fact that a portion of state-funding is allocated in some fashion based on poverty levels. So there is a reasonable argument that CPS should get *more* than pro-rata, per-student funding.

  • 406. Chris  |  February 17, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    “Rauner’s lack of … providing CPS with their funding”

    Pfft. Everyone in Springfield is complicit in stiffing CPS. Pat Quinn would have continued stiffing CPS, too. There is *no one* in an elected state position who is blameless on that front. NO ONE. And blaming Rauner alone for it gives the others a pass.

    To be clear: Rauner is to blame on the budget, tho. But no budget was going to fairly fund CPS.

  • 407. Vet Teacher  |  February 17, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    Don’t worry. That will change soon. Ed programs are down 10% yoy. Teach for America is down 33%. Clark County,NV has 700 unqualified subs teaching regular classes. California has a 60,000 teacher shortage.

    Millenials aren’t stupid; they will avoid teaching like the plague.

    I advise on careers and I tell prospective teachers “NOT to pursue,” unless they are masochists.

    This board is more reasonable than most, but teachers are constantly assaulted by taxpayers and by Governors and Mayors across the US.

    The American public is going to get EXACTLY what they deserve!

  • 408. Vet Teacher  |  February 17, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    Minnesota and Finland fund their poor districts at 133% of the wealthier districts; IL is at 73%.

    Who cares what Finland does! After all, they have only been #1 in the world in K-12 education the last 15 years.

    That doesn’t matter to the American public..

    Let’s see how these countries fare in the next 20 years.

  • 409. Chris  |  February 17, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    “local news stations are reporting that Chicago is bidding for the 2024 Olympics”

    WTH? Why do you persist in this sort of nonsense?

    The USOC allows only one US city to bid. The original selection was Boston, but they backed out, and LA is the USOC’s bid city. It’s been LA–and only LA–since last August.

    That said, you’re 100% right about the Charter School issue–it was absolutely something that Rahm (or an elected CPS board, or a future mayor) has no actual, final, control over, so the offer in the contract wasn’t really enforceable, and should be regarded as, basically, a nice platitude.

  • 410. Chris  |  February 17, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    “Who cares what Finland does! After all, they have only been #1 in the world in K-12 education the last 15 years.”

    Kick everyone out of America who isn’t at least 25% Finn, and I bet those who are left (I’d have to leave, too) kick Finland’s butt on academic measures.

    *THAT* is why people don’t care what Finland does–it has so very very little in common with America, demographically. It’s half the population of Illinois, for goodness sake, and has about as many non-Finn students in the *whole country* as Curie HS does (this is a *slight* exaggeration).

  • 411. Vet Teacher  |  February 17, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    How about that liberal bastion to our north: Minnesota.

    What are they doing? You should do a state-to-state comparison.

    Education success
    Income Inequality

    I think you will be very surprised.

  • 412. Jen  |  February 17, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    @405 Chris, thanks, that makes sense. You obviously know a lot about finances so hope you don’t mind another question. How does this factor in?
    “Through block grant appropriations, CPS received $481,047,400 from FY 14 and FY 15 appropriations for these
    nine programs. Once the claim data was calculated in the same manner as the other districts, it was
    determined that CPS would have received $202,428,433 had the district been reimbursed in the same manner
    as other districts.”
    The above came from:

    It appears to me that CPS gets 200 million more in block grant funding than it should if all districts were configured equally. Obviously, the 400 million difference in overall state funding you referred to before is nearly double that amount. So, if things were totally equitable, both state funding and the block grant, CPS would get 200 million more, am I correct?

    I’ve heard the above issue with the block grant discrepancy mentioned alongside the discrepancy in overall state budget amounts almost constantly. As I’ve understood it, CPS is fighting for equity in the overall state budget because there they lose, and at the same time, does not want equity in the block grant because there it benefits.
    I also don’t understand how it is that Chicago residents pay for CPS teachers’ pensions and state teachers’ pensions. Why is that? How did that start? Who the heck agreed to that? Is there a specific reason for it? Is that being swapped for something else? And while agree city residents should NOT have to pay both, do we then say that downstate should not have to pay for Chicago’s public transportation system since they never or almost never use it? Are there things in the city of Chicago that suburban and downstate homeowners and taxpayers contribute to, but don’t benefit from? Just trying to wrap my head around this mess.

  • 413. Jen  |  February 17, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    Sorry, one more question, why did Rauner (who I do not like) imply that CPS doesn’t get 200 million more than it actually qualifies for according to formula in block grant funds but 600 million? The report I linked to above was from the 2013-14 year. Have things changed that much in 2 years?

  • 414. Vetteacher  |  February 17, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    To the bloggers:

    After reading this, argue how much the Mayor cares about your children:

  • 415. Chris  |  February 18, 2016 at 12:28 pm


    –“block grant discrepancy”

    Sure, it’s real, but then the non-CPS districts get their pensions funded. The block grants are about $1B, the pension funding is close to $3B–20% of both of them is better than 40% of the smaller number and 0% of the larger.

    So, it’s a question of do you look at the aggregate, or the individual programs? In the aggregate, the State provides over $8 billion in K-12 funding, CPS gets about 15% of that, for 20% of the students.

    –“why did Rauner …. imply that CPS [or Chicago does/gets anything]”

    Politics. He’s presenting things in the light he thinks is most favorable to his goals. Right now, painting Chicago as the leech sucking the blood out of Illinois is what he thinks is going to help him most.

  • 416. parent  |  February 18, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    @389, Here is why I separate the Union Leadership from the teachers.

    In 2012, I’m sure we all read those facebook posts from various teachers about the reasons they went on strike. They listed things like: class size, lack of school nurses and librarians, air conditioning, and so on. Salary wasn’t mentioned. But when the negotiations had begun, CTU first demanded a 30% raise! It turned out that the contract negotiations weren’t about any of the things the teachers were talking about on social media and elsewhere. When the strike was over, they got a raise. The other things (with maybe the exception of air conditioning?) weren’t addressed, as they weren’t even on the table.

    So, the teachers got sizable raises, and class size didn’t go down. Well, duh.

    Not surprisingly, 4 years have passed and the teachers are still angry about the same things (things that were never priorities for CTU leadership during the last strike). I’ve seen a couple of facebook posts very similar to the 2012 ones (+ the budget cuts).

    So, here we go again. Teachers are talking about all of the things they care about, which are legitimate and real, and weren’t addressed 4 yrs ago. CTU, with its completely separate agenda and priorities, used this discontent to get the strike authorized.

    At this rate, there will be a strike every single time there is a new contract negotiation.

  • 417. cpsobsessed  |  February 18, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    @416 – It’s my understanding that the CTU cannot negotiate things outside of what affects their work and pay. So they *may* be able to negotiate class size as part of a working condition, but they can’t demand librarians, overall funding, curriculum. So they can push for it, or frame their requests around it, but they can’t directly ask for many of the things we’d like them to use their power to ask for.

    I’m not sure if that is designed to help them focus on what they are (a labor union) or if it is to limit their power to force things that CPS won’t/cant’ budge on. but I do think they have limits.

    Someone feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

    To your point, they shouldn’t imply that they can use their CTU power to get these things. To their credit, they’ve been vocal about complaining about the lack of overall funding and other issues in CPS in a more organized way than parents typically can (or rather, do.)

  • 418. mom2  |  February 18, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    @cpsobsessed – If CTU can’t ask for things outside what affects their work and pay, can CPS offer them these things as part of a contract negotiation? So CTU can’t ask for changes in curriculum or smaller class sizes but if CPS knows that this is what teachers want, could they offer it? If not, how do we get changes that actually help the quality of life in the schools for both teachers and students and not just give or fight about more money and benefits to teachers?

  • 419. Vet Teacher  |  February 18, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Yeah, the teachers school day was increased by 16% over the life of the contract and they got an 11% raise. Those greedy, greedy pigs.

    Those at the higher pay scale got about 8 %.


  • 420. Vet Teacher  |  February 18, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    Did you guys read the Javorsky article? Tell me what you think?

  • 421. cpsobsessed  |  February 18, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    I always have trouble following Jarovsky. It sounds like “blah blah blah TIFs. Blah Blah Blah mayor.” “now are you all mad???” No, because I couldn’t follow it.

    Can you summarize it? So we know there is TIF money. Not enough to cover the $110 interest payment. But it just sits there for some reason. So let’s use it for the schools as a short term fix?

  • 422. Chris  |  February 18, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    “If CTU can’t ask for things outside what affects their work and pay, can CPS offer them these things as part of a contract negotiation?”

    CPS can offer what ever they want.

    CTU (under state law) can’t strike about much of anything other than pay.

    CTU ‘can’ ask for whatever they want, but CPS does not have to (under state law) negotiate on much of anything other than pay.

  • 423. Its about the kids  |  February 18, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    CTU knows its all about PR and getting the public to believe you want what is best for kids (smaller class sizes, more technology, etc) but all they really end up bargaining for is more money, job security, benefits without paying more, etc. It wouldn’t play well in the media to have the CTU say they want more money and job security and screw the kids if they get teachers who don’t care or don’t show up to class. They fail to realize that higher pay & benefits and the inability to select teachers based on performance rather than seniority hurts kids by not providing them enthusiastic engaged teachers and smaller class sizes (don’t have to pay salaries of teachers with large # of years but poor teaching skills or teachers who don’t really care about teaching but waiting for that retirement pension). Sometimes the less experienced teachers have the most enthusiasm and highest impact on kids vs the ones who toss the class lesson to the kids and sit down reading the paper for the rest of class.

  • 424. Chris  |  February 18, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    “It sounds like “blah blah blah TIFs. Blah Blah Blah mayor.” “now are you all mad???””

    That’s because that is pretty much what he writes, now. He used to put together a more cogent summary of what’s going on, but he’s frothed over about it a bit (and he *hates* Rahm, with a passion that he never managed for the *actual crook* who used to be our mayor), and so it reads like its in code.

    Yes, he is implying that the ‘slush fund’ should have been emptied as a one-time fix (because, even at high estimates, the amount in all of the TIFs would provide CPS with just about the right amount for this year’s deficit). He also wants the TIFs dead, permanently (something that even Chuy did not support) and that would provide about $200m every year for CPS–that is, about 1/4 of the current structural deficit *before* the next CTU contract.

    And Jarovsky consistently elides the hundred of millions of TIF dollars that have gone to CPS building projects. He focuses on the high profile, big ticket, genuinely questionable TIF expenditures, and gives short shrift to the majority of the spending that goes to smaller, actual public-oriented projects and low income housing, etc.

  • 425. cpsobsessed  |  February 18, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    I guess the bigger question is why that money is just sitting in the TIF funds. but I know TIFs are a weird/complicated beast, just like Chicago politics. So I’m probably better off not asking.

    FYI, I have read a piece or two from BJar that I’ve liked. This one is just particularly rambling.

  • 426. Chris  |  February 18, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    “why that money is just sitting in the TIF funds”

    A lot of it is committed to projects that are planned or underway. It *usually* works that the project gets completed and the funds reimburse, rather than a check being cut at groundbreaking.

  • 427. Vet Teacher  |  February 18, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    Emanuel stops TIFs from being open to the public… Transparency, Chicago style. The surplus estimates are $350 million. Nobody knows. Hey, they’re your kids. You won’t have to worry about seniority soon. The profession is rapidly turning into a bridge job. Snot-nosed kids teaching your kids. You trolls probably think that experience doesn’t matter. ROFLMAO. Rauner BK talk was orchestrated between Rahmbo and Brucey boy. Bankstas get your taxes; screw the CPS students.

    See you on the streets. Dig deep; taxes are going up! It won’t be long now.

    I’d plan for childcare at the end of March.

    Can’t outsource teachers. Why don’t you home school them. I mean all of you are soooooo smart! Cancel your summer vacation plans so you can get a refund.

    Yes, get ready for strike after strike. I will vote NO for sure with this blog in mind.

    There is no 1-5 year teacher in this SYSTEM that can even carry my gradebook. That, along with your taxes, you can take to the BANK!

  • 428. Vet Teacher  |  February 18, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    Yeah, smart move! A BK system building new charter schools. I suppose if you were going BK, you would buy a new house.


  • 429. parent  |  February 18, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    @417, “CTU cannot negotiate things outside of what affects their work and pay …

    they shouldn’t imply that they can use their CTU power to get these things.”

    That is my point, exactly. They DO imply it, all the time.

    Is it a PR thing? Or do teachers really not understand how the contract negotiations work? It is a mystery.

  • 430. A Finn  |  February 18, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    @ Chris – #410

    “Kick everyone out of America who isn’t at least 25% Finn, and I bet those who are left (I’d have to leave, too) kick Finland’s butt on academic measures.”

    As a 50% Finnish-American with a 100% Finnish-American mother and two 25% Finnish-American kids, just have to ask if my 100% non-Finnish husband can at least stay with us 🙂

    There are lessons to be learned from Finland. Some are not easily scaled on a national level in the US, some should and could be looked at more closely. We can’t replicate exactly what they do, but we should be paying some attention and see where we can learn. I don’t think we are though.

  • 431. Vet Teacher  |  February 18, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    I would just like to note that the omnipotent Chris (t) did not address Minnesota.

    In addition, in Finland, elementary students get 15 minutes of recess between each class. Brilliant strategy. Recently, one Chicago suburban school district adopted this model.

    Despite Chris (t)’s layman’s uninformed view of good pedagogy, the US educational system could learn a great deal from the Finnish!

  • 432. Chris  |  February 18, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    Do i have to shoot down every stooooopid thing you post?

    Why don’t you make up some BS about seeing how Chicago is submitting a bid for the 2022 World Cup? Or the 2026 Winter Olympics?

    Yeah, Minnesota. Great. I assume that you and the whole of CTU would *happily* work for the Minneapolis pay scale, with the Minnesota pension, and with Minnesota taxes (which, btw, apply to your *pension*, too–I know, bc I do my retired teacher mother’s taxes). Oh, that’s right, you’re moving to Texas or Florida, or some other hellhole the day you retire, so

    Yeah, you know what, just like CPS (or Chicago) filing Bankruptcy, that CANNOT HAPPEN with the Dem legislature, and Rauner as guv, bc they will not agree to put CTPF into the state TRS, as is the parallel case in Minnesota.

    btw, on the “can we learn something from other educational systems?” yeah, of course we can. We can learn from FAILED systems too.

    I’m even learning from you–I’m learning that even “well respected” CPS teachers will resort to “insulting” people with IEP “jokes” and generally just make STUFF UP if they feel it might fool someone into agreeing with them. I have learned that there are CPS teachers who are as petty as the pettiest anti-public-school Chicagoan.

    I have learned that you, sir/madam, are a discredit to your profession, and it has NOTHING to do with your juvenile taunting about your pension and everyone else’s taxes. That I find somewhat understandable, given the totality of circumstances, but still resolutely 7th grade. I admire your foolish consistency.

  • 433. Vet Teacher  |  February 18, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    While it is true that you have rightfully corrected me twice (good job; I am pretty accurate ), that is all you have. Nonetheless, one of those points was about DPS (not relevant to Chicago) and the other was moot (Chicago will NEVER go BK: Never,ever, ever? Never, ever,ever!)
    Of the 70 posts I’ve made, I bring a contextual view that you can NEVER have. You don’t teach! I don’t know what you do ( you are smart); however, my posts are cogent and clearly cover the gamut of topics that wouldn’t even be considered if I weren’t here. If you think you know more than I do about the issues facing teachers , you are out of your realm. You represent the angry taxpayer. A smart taxpayer,but a taxpayer nonetheless. You think you know teachers, but you don’t know squat about my world. Sounds to me like you are jealous; you missed my gravy train! LOL

    Think of me as a worthy foil. You can rant and rage all you want,but here is the bottom line.

    CPS is not going BK
    Rauner will probably be a one-term Gov.
    I have an opinion and a constitutionally-protected contract; you only have an opinion
    Rage all you want! Simultaneously, you have one of two choices: move, or dig deep and pay for good teachers.

    Either way, I couldn’t care less. Your choice. I had a good belly-laugh about the tirade in your
    last post. Blah, Blah, Blah…

    If you send me your address, I will buy you a box of tissue.

    You see Chris (t); I hold all the cards right now. If things change (which I doubt), then I will be a big person and revisit this issue. I promise!

    Until then, please proceed… Scream louder and louder… Nobody’s listening!

    Disclaimer: This blog is for amusement purposes only! Thanks for the amusement, Chris (t)

  • 434. Jen  |  February 18, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    @416, I went on strike 4 years ago because I wanted better conditions and because I believed we were bargaining for those things. I was deeply pissed off when I realized better conditions weren’t on the table, they were just things that looked good on picket signs. I realized CPS teachers and kids are likely to never get better conditions. Its quite depressing. The union isn’t allowed to bargain for those things, parents don’t have the power or at least aren’t united enough to really influence things or they don’t care, and we have terribly corrupt lawmakers on each party’s side. Such a sad city.

  • 435. Vetteacher  |  February 18, 2016 at 11:10 pm

    That hit-and-run teacher who hit those two little girls should not only be prosecuted but the sentence should be doubled. It is incomprehensible that a teacher hit students and left the scene. I hope that teacher burns in Hades!

  • 436. cpsobsessed  |  February 19, 2016 at 11:53 am

    For those who asked about what actions parents can take: (From Raise Your Hand)

    Action Alert: Call Governor Rauner today- CPS students are not getting too much $ from the state!

    Yesterday in his budget address, Governor Rauner said that CPS students are getting way more than their fair share of education funding. We need you to call him today to clear things up. Here are some things he didn’t mention:
    1.The state is at the bottom of the list for what they contribute to education funding. No one gets too much money from the state of IL in terms of ed funding, let alone CPS students, who are 87% low-income!
    2.The Governor’s hometown of Winnetka spends roughly $6k more per pupil than Chicago is able to spend on our students due to the inequitable funding system in IL. How can Governor Rauner say CPS kids are getting too much?
    3.CPS does get a $250M block grant for special education, but this in no way makes up for the hundreds of millions of dollars lost every year from missed pension payments from the state
    4.Chicago taxpayers pay for both pension systems- TRS and CTPF, and the state only pays for non-Chicago pensions even though they “intended to pay” into CTPF for years and haven’t.

    The Governor’s failure to pass a budget or fund schools adequately means children across the state aren’t getting the education and services they need to succeed. He’s attempting to pit critical service sectors against one another, and Chicagoans against the rest of the state, fighting over crumbs.

    Here’s a script:

    Call: 217-782-0244

    “I’m a parent in Chicago or ____, and Governor Rauner’s budget address was full of errors regarding CPS funding. I am calling to ask him to pass a budget to fund all critical services, fund our schools adequately and equitably, and stop scapegoating the children of Chicago.”
    – See more at:

  • 437. mom2  |  February 19, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    I appreciate Raise Your Hand in trying to give parents a voice. But I think they fail because they are making this political. Why assume that everyone in Chicago thinks Rauner is to blame for all the financial issues of our schools, city and state. Really? Our issues have been going on forever. Our city is almost 100% democrats. Our state has a majority of democrats in both houses and in the recent past we had democratic governors (Quinn and Blago). Why didn’t they do something about this funding issue? Why didn’t Daley do something when he had all the power? Why don’t they send letters to Madigan and Cullerton asking them to compromise with our governor (that the people elected) so we can get the services we need? Sorry but every time I see an urgent request for parents to send letters asking for changes, they are always directed at Rauner and that makes zero sense to me. I’m not saying he is perfect, but he is trying to fix our financial mess and no one is willing to work with him at all. It sounds like the republicans in our federal government that just say no to Obama all the time. I hate it.

  • 438. Chicago Dad  |  February 19, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    Mom2, completely agree with you. Some people (I.e., Raise your hand, Eric Zorn) have very short memories so they somehow believe that the current governor is the problem. The reality is that the corrupt relationship between the democrats and the public sector unions has led to our financial crisis. (Of course, those benefiting from the corrupt relationship would never admit it)

    Most Illinois residents know that, and that’s why they elected Rauner, to fix it.

  • 439. Patricia  |  February 19, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    @Mom2 and Chicago Dad
    Agree Rauner is not the problem (and he is not perfect either). As I stated before MIKE MADIGAN is the problem. He is the one who holds all the cards and power in illinois. Mike Madigan has physically, politically and legislatively shaped Illinois to his liking for decades. Madigan is the one people should be pressuring. The pressure on Rauner is part of Madigan’s plan to delay resolution to try and get Rauner out of office and all the Dems state reps are following suit. Until parents put pressure on the reps to put pressure on Madigan, nothing will change.

  • 440. cpsobsessed  |  February 19, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    I believe RYH pressures everyone. What past is past and is important in terms of blame and hopefully preventing more problems. But we can’t write letters to mayor Daley to ask him to change things at thing point.

  • 441. Vet Teacher  |  February 19, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    CPSO is a Rahm supporter.

  • 442. mom2  |  February 19, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    But we can write to (and blame) Madigan and Cullerton, can’t we?

  • 443. michele  |  February 19, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    Those of you who would like to write letters to Rahm, Mike Madigan,your Alderman, and Cullerton by all means please do so. I don’t believe anyone suggests that the school funding solution isn’t complicated and needs everyone’s support including Democrats. At our school we have been writing letters to all of the above and we know our input is being heard. As I’ve said before if everyone on this blog wrote as many letters to one of your representatives as you do posts the action on this budgeting matter might more forth coming.

    If you’re not actively demanding the solution no one feels like they have to give it to you. Parents these are your kids write the letters, make the calls. Otherwise no one hears your voice and you’re right nothing is going to change – unless you make sure it does.

  • 444. mom2  |  February 19, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    I wrote letters.

  • 445. Patricia  |  February 19, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    I wrote and continue to write letters, called, got others to call and write letters to Madigan, Cullerton, Rauner, Rahm, Ann Williams, Sarah Feigenholtz, 10+ aldermen, even Preckwinkle and several commissioners, etc. The arrogance in Madigan’s office (if you can get a live person) clearly conveys that he can give a flying F*** what anyone who is not in his district thinks. The Dems have no intention on doing anything except making Rauner look bad so they can protect their power.

  • 446. Wendy  |  February 19, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    RYH has been sharing a list of multi-pronged solutions that target the city, state and CPS for about 8 months, and many of the campaigns we’ve worked on over the years target all levels of government. You’re looking at one action alert that comes after a bunch of others. We don’t think that the Governor is the sole cause of this problem. We were in Springfield in 2010 when CPS took another pension holiday. We were at every CPS board meeting when budgets were passed. We were advocating in Springfield for years for an increase to school funding. We have been trying to share info that the state hasn’t paid into the Chicago pension fund for years “as intended.”

    That said, the reality right now is that our Governor wants to take over our school district and is talking about bankruptcy. If you follow the news, you’d know that he has said he’d like to blow up our district and create small networks of contract schools that compete for resources.

    So if you think he is the answer to the problems that face CPS, I have an ocean to sell you in Arizona.

    That said, all parties are at fault. Rehashing how we got here is not going to solve the problem. Madigan does not have a supermajority of votes right now. Our school district is in dire financial trouble. The CPS and CTU will hopefully come to an agreement on a contract soon, but that is not going to solve the financial mess we are in, which is a result of many factors.

  • 447. Chris  |  February 19, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    “Madigan does not have a supermajority of votes right now. ”

    Which only matters in that he can’t override a Rauner veto.

    The Not-Madigan side can’t get to 60 votes, *even if* King Mikey lets something he doesn’t like come to a vote. Madigan has 100% control over what gets voted on in the house, which is why he matters so much.

    I don’t much care for Rauner, but he is correct that Madigan is the single most important gatekeeper on changing anything. Nothing happens unless Mikey Likes It.

  • 448. mom2  |  February 19, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    I wasn’t trying to rehash, I’m trying to explain our history to try to make sense of the focus on Rauner when he has only been here a year. I’m trying to understand why RYH is telling Rauner to “stop scapegoating the children of Chicago.”

    Wendy, Since Rauner’s idea is like “an ocean in Arizona”, what is the answer? What exactly should the state and the city do? (By the way, I agree with equal funding for every school district in the state, but of course that isn’t enough to fix our problems).

  • 449. Chris  |  February 19, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    “I agree with equal funding for every school district in the state”

    But the trouble is–what does that even mean, “equal”?

    Does it mean student-based budgeting on the state level, too?

    Any special funding for SPED, poverty, transportation??

    ‘Make whole’ so that every district gets $$ from the state to bring them up to the best funded district?

    That’s the most basic reason why there isn’t agreement–no one can agree what ‘equal’ means.

    Downstate folks will point out how ‘low’ Chicago property tax rates are, and say that the state should do nothing until Chicago raises rates–ignoring that the *reason* CPS can’t raise more property tax is a state law.

  • 450. mom2  |  February 19, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    What exactly are the pros and cons to the idea Wendy mentions – “he’d like to blow up our district and create small networks of contract schools”?

  • 451. Vet Teacher  |  February 19, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    Raise Your Hand,

    Thank you for all you do for our students!

  • 452. Wendy  |  February 19, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    @mom2- I wasn’t trying to sell you the ocean, per se. I was addressing a bunch of comments here.

    The reason we did this particular Action Alert is because we were in Springfield Wednesday and sat in on the Gov’s budget address, where he claimed CPS was getting a “special deal,” and is getting $600M more than they deserve, which is not true. He omitted many important facts about educating funding, which we included in our post. CPS gets a special education block grant for $250M but they lose out on the funding they haven’t received for pension payments, which was supposed to be 20-30% of what the state pays into TRS.

    We don’t want equal funding, we want equitable funding, ie dollars match needs not just get distributed equally. Either way, without adequate revenue, we’re not going to be able to fix much.

    I think the biggest issue is that no one really wants to talk about revenue and we need sustainable revenue from the state and city. The CTU may be moving towards some economic concessions, but that won’t come close to solving the whole deficit.

    What we’ve been saying all along is we need the city and state to raise revenue for education and for CPS to eliminate some of their non-essential contracts and to stop opening new schools. People don’t like to hear this often because it means more taxes, but the state has stopped funding some critical services and doesn’t even have a budget for anything other than K-12 education, so there really isn’t anywhere to take money from right now.

  • 453. Wendy  |  February 19, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    @Chris- I don’t disagree with that, but when it comes to finding sustainable revenue for Chicago, Mike Madigan will likely call for that vote way before Gov Rauner….albeit maybe after the primary. Madigan did call a vote for a millionaire’s tax last year but it didn’t pass.

  • 454. Chris  |  February 19, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    “when it comes to finding sustainable revenue for Chicago, Mike Madigan will likely call for that vote way before Gov Rauner”

    Madigan won’t call a tax increase to vote until *after* either (1) the November election, or (2) Rauner proposed a budget with a tax increase included, or (3) basically all of the House Republicans agree to co-sponsor it. And I’m not *sure* that #1 is a trigger, without either 2 or 3.

    Madigan will *not* let his caucus go into the November election as the “raised your taxes” candidates. Zero chance.

  • 455. mom2  |  February 19, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Does “revenue”=taxes? I’m broke already.

  • 456. mom2  |  February 19, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    I ask about the plan you mention (where CPS is divided up) because I can recall in past years where people have discussed this idea. Do you remember when they forced the free breakfast in the classroom on everyone? There was such a difference in needs between schools on the north side and schools on the south side. It made it pretty clear that the one size fits all approach at CPS wasn’t working. Could there be some benefits with splitting it up where the different areas could focus more on their needs and not be spending time and money in places that make no sense for their students and schools? As long as the funding was “equitable” meaning what you said – “dollars match needs not just get distributed equally”, then wouldn’t it be a positive?

  • 457. Wendy  |  February 19, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    @Chris- yes, should have said election not primary. Either way, Rauner has made it clear he’s not agreeing to any revenue or budget or anything else without getting some of his non-budget turnaround agenda items passed.

  • 458. Chris  |  February 19, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    “Either way, Rauner has made it clear he’s not agreeing to any revenue ”

    The immovable object against the immovable object. It’s like watching the San Andreas fault move, only with more friction.

  • 459. Wendy  |  February 19, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    @mom2- yes, revenue means taxes. Our current income tax in IL is 3.75%. We don’t tax most services, we allow for major corporate loopholes, we don’t tax retirement income, etc. There are a variety of places we could raise revenue that we are not doing at the state level. Of the 42 states that have an income tax, only 7 have a flat tax, and we are one of them. A flat 3.75% income tax in a state that’s the 5th wealthiest in terms of income isn’t cutting it if we want a social safety net and excellent schools for all, we need to pay for it. Most elected officials have been too afraid to speak up about this over the past 30 years, and that’s in part, in my opinion, why we’re in the mess. The income tax could be structured to be more fair so that those who can pay more, do so. Of course, most people don’t want to talk about this. They want these things figured out for free. We can’t cut our way out of this mess.

    Bruce Rauner was talking about creating contract schools, ie privatized non-union schools. This is different than creating multiple districts within CPS. This would involve shutting down what we have now, which sounds awfully chaotic to me. I can’t imagine how he’d ever accomplish this with a district as large as CPS, but I don’t want to find out.

  • 460. mom2  |  February 19, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    Thank you, Wendy. I appreciate your time explaining things.

  • 461. Chris  |  February 19, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    Important to note is that the flat tax is in the IL constitution, which would need to be amended to have a graduated income tax–do that’s a loner term solution at best.

    I know no one wants to look backward, but the spinelessness that lead to the sunsetting 5% income tax (while nothing was done to reduce the structural cost of state government to fit with the revenue from the 3.75% rate) is a meaningful part of the *state’s* current pickle.

  • 462. Chicago Dad  |  February 19, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    Chris, we have to look backward. If we don’t learn from our mistakes we will keep making them and we will NEVER get out of this financial mess.
    Please read post number 197. This is the worst mistake of all, one we keep repeating over and over again, to the detriment of current and future taxpayers.

  • 463. IL Taxpayer  |  February 20, 2016 at 8:15 am

    “What we’ve been saying all along is we need the city and state to raise revenue for education and for CPS to eliminate some of their non-essential contracts and to stop opening new schools. People don’t like to hear this often because it means more taxes, but the state has stopped funding some critical services and doesn’t even have a budget for anything other than K-12 education, so there really isn’t anywhere to take money from right now.”

    Funniest thing I’ve seen in a while was CTU members standing outside of the capital in SPringfield shrieking “Raise our taxes! Raise our taxes!” Never heard ’em say “Tax our pensions! Tax our pensions!”

    I love how CTU and SEIU forgets that when taxes go up to pay for THEIR lucrative retirement packages, it comes out of MY paycheck. VERY little of this goes into better learning environments for the kids, or increases the $hitty results that CTU cannot ever hold themselves accountable for.

    In other words, you want to pay more in taxes, CTU members, YOU do it. YOU write an extra $1000 on your Illinois Income Tax Return and send it to the Illinois Department of Revenue. There’s no law against that, and I am sure they will be happy to cash it for you.

    Have a WONDERFUL day!

  • 464. Vet Teacher  |  February 20, 2016 at 9:32 am

    Taxpayer: “It comes out of MY taxes!”….

    Thank you taxpayer for being honest!

    CPSO should have made that the TITLE of the blog, not, “CTU and the Budget Thread.”

    Thus far, 400 amusing posts of “self-absorbed taxpayers screaming, whining, complaining, crying, and furiously writing letters and e-mails to the current politicians.”

    That would be a good subtitle for this “thread”


    Now get back to work! Taxes are going up!

    Suggestion : Work a few extra hours this year to pay for MY pension, TAXPAYER!

  • 465. IL Taxpayer  |  February 20, 2016 at 9:54 am

    @464 Wow, you must teach in Fantasyland. Even if the State of IL tripled taxes on EVERYTHING, Illinois wouldn’t be able to get out of it’s pension hole, and this includes Cook County, State of Illinois, City of Chicago, CPD, CFD, AND CPS.

    The numbers just aren’t there for you, Constitution or not. Instead of raising taxes, Rauner and Rahm will declare bankruptcy for CPS and re-negotiate deals. It sucks, but it sucked for United Airlines, GM, and City of Detroit.

    Welcome to the bankruptcy club. Thank your leadership for membership card.

  • 466. Clarifying  |  February 20, 2016 at 10:26 am

    I just wanted to clarify one thing! Madigan does have a super majority just not a “working” super majority because Ken Dunkin is a Rauner lackey! He either sides with Rauner or misses key votes. His district is odd because it stretches from somewhere between the south loop to the north and the south side of Chicago! If Dunkin is your rep you should think twice about voting for him!

  • 467. Patricia  |  February 20, 2016 at 10:36 am

    Speaking to the concept of breaking up CPS, it seems like the smart thing to do. I do not know enough details on the other stuff to have an opinion yet. However, as you pointed out, when the “breakfast for all” came up, it clearly pointed to the difficulty of one size fits all within CPS. CPS has been plagued with this issue forever and no matter the decision or allocation of ANYTHING, some other part of the city is going to be upset. It makes a lot of sense to break up the district into smaller more manageable chunks based on geography. What would be the downsides?

    Agree, NOTHING happens without Madigan, he is the decision maker on what gets called to the floor along with all the other power he yields and all the Dems he has on a string. If there is one target to make change, it is to target Madigan.

    Yes post 197 is key to all, back to FDR.

    Yep, revenue ultimately needs to come into play. The thing I keep coming back to that while in the past, I think is important to remember that CPS would have hundreds of millions of additional dollars every single year if there wasn’t a pension mess. It robs the operating budget and has created a gaping hole. (I know you already know all this.) Also, the overall tax burden in Chicago is high. Any individual figure may be lower, but it is high and “feels” high every single time I make a purchase, pay a bill, try to get a permit, etc. etc. etc.

    Yep, I agree with you on this one.

    @IL Taxpayer
    Bankruptcy does seem inevitable. Didn’t ISBE file something that makes CPS turn over financials? Smart and responsible thing to do. Someone has to get it under control—the borrowing is insane!

  • 468. Marketing Mom  |  February 20, 2016 at 11:09 am

    Ken Dunkin’s race will be one to watch. Everyone says they want their reps to stand up to King Madigan, whom everyone is terrified of going against. You finally have a rep doing so and he gets millions of dollars worth of attack ads run against him. If Dunkin loses this race, this will send a strong message to all democrats to not even think about standing up to Madigan. I do not see how Rauner will have a chance to enact his reform agenda without democrats like Dunkin willing to try and take away some of Madigans power.

  • 469. Patricia  |  February 20, 2016 at 11:27 am

    All roads lead to Madigan. He should be the sole target for change. Change Madigan, and Illinois can be saved.

  • 470. Clarifying  |  February 20, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    @marketing mom no we don’t need more reps siding with Rauner or voting against Madigan. We need politicians to do their jobs & help the most vulnerable of Illinois, fund education, etc. They need to fix the educational funding inequalities, pension mess, AND can we please just get a budget so higher Ed can make payments to MAP grants & our public universities!!! Dunkin needs to be voted out!!!! He voted against LiHeap, child care, Nursing home care, home health care either–all of those went down 70-34. Two very ill representatives(one checked herself out of the hospital just so she could vote) were there. And don’t forget he voted against the millionaire tax.

  • 471. it shouldn't be this hard  |  February 20, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    So, if ctu has no control over conditions in the school, who does? I know what I want as a parent…
    1. Reasonable class sizes (30 is unacceptable).
    2. Replace low performing schools with models of the high performing, highly sought after schools.
    3. Ability of schools to remove kids with disciplinary issues to a school that specializes in disciplinary issues. In other words, safe schools.
    4.teachers paid wages that attract talented and dedicated teachers.
    5. Accountability of teachers who are not performing at an acceptable level.

  • 472. SmilingWide  |  February 20, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    Marketing Mom, can I have some of what you’re smoking? Lol

  • 473. Wendy  |  February 20, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    @Clarifying- in addition to Dunkin, there are two Dems in the House who won’t vote for revenue right now. They are not in Chicago.

    Re: bankruptcy, that would require a change to state law and it’s quite unlikely that it will get called. A financial oversight board seems to be more likely because that wouldn’t require a change to state law, but the city would have to initiate it. This does not have a bankruptcy provision in it but would allow for restructuring of debt and lots of cuts. Or, there is the option of a School Finance Authority set-up, which CPS had in the past. This also doesn’t have a bankruptcy provision but it could restructure debt and make lots of cuts, and have more power than a regular oversight board. When this happened in the past, massive cuts were made to CPS schools. I think the best case scenario is that the CPS and CTU work out a contract with some economic concessions, and people who want a public education system in Chicago realize they’re going to have to pay more in revenue somewhere.

    @Patricia- I agree that local taxes are high but because the state isn’t pulling in enough revenue. That said, you know your property taxes would be much higher in most of the rest of the state.

  • 474. IL Taxpayer  |  February 20, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    When CPS declares bankruptcy, most taxpayers will not really notice the difference. Some schools will close, class sizes will increase and some teachers will quit. This will happen regardless, though, and the State can get out of these absolutely unsustainable contracts.

  • 475. Vet Teacher  |  February 20, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    Not happening unless your hero, Brucey Boy, gets a Republican majority. Not sure, but he may even need a Republican super-majority.

    Not happening!

    Good luck with your fantasy!

    Can you send me some of what you’re smoking?

    Now get back to work; you need to save more to pay for MY pension!

  • 476. Andre  |  February 20, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    Vet Teacher- Cash ain’t there, dude. Revenues don’t match the pension hole, and never will. News flash: Rauner is not going to raise taxes to bail out CTU, and even if he was willing to, they could NEVER be raised to a level to get CPS what it thinks it’s entitled to. Hate to tell you this, but pension funds MIGHT get $.50/dollar, and that’s it. 😦

    I saw these signs 8 years ago and switched out of CPS to corporate training, and feel sorry for those relying on a safe retirement from CPS. Good luck.

  • 477. Vet Teacher  |  February 20, 2016 at 6:17 pm


    I have news for you; I have three retired teacher friends in Detroit. They were threatening 85% reductions to pensioners. After polling all three teachers, guess how much they got hit? 4.5%!

    And Chiraq ain’t Detroit. So quit throwing BS numbers around like 50%, dude!

    The CTPF is 52.5% funded, dude, even after more than a decade of neglect.

    The downstate funds are in much worse shape, dude!

    Yawn, dude!

  • 478. Jen  |  February 20, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    I looked up TRS and their funding amount. I found this link:

    It appears to say that TRS, the suburban and downstate pension fund, is 80% funded. Am I reading that correctly? If I am, then TRS is in much, much better shape than CTPF.

  • 479. IL Taxpayer  |  February 20, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    @Vet Teacher, 476 is right. There’s no money, and Rauner is not going to do anything to help CTU. Again, even if ALL taxes were raised 300%, you’d still have a shortage.

    Seriously, if you haven’t done so already, save every dime you possibly can because there’s no way you will get even CLOSE to what you think you will get in your pension. Doubly painful is you don’t get Social Security. 😦

    Re: Detroit: This is what happened to Detroit city workers (fire, police, health workers): 30% cuts in pensions and health care. I’m sorry, but this is probably going to be your reality. As the saying goes, pigs get fat but hogs get slaughtered.

  • 480. Vetteacher  |  February 20, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    Jen, I hadn’t looked for a few years. Last time I looked it was. Here is what happened:

    IL taxpayer: Why didn’t you include Detroit teachers in your list? This is what is going to happen: TRS is going to absorb CTPF.

    Again, yawn. When TRS was in trouble in the early 2000s, they wanted to combine.

    Ooooh, I am really scared. LOL

    The fund will be solvent throughout MY retirement. Young teachers may not be so lucky.

    I will get every penny I have coming.

    The only thing that is going to happen is that YOU are going to get a big tax hit! Save your money; you are going to need it.

    BK? That’s where you work! So flip a few extra burgers to PAY for my pension.

    Brucey Boy is all DESPERATE taxpayers’ savior. He has NO power.

    One-term wonder.

  • 481. Vetteacher  |  February 20, 2016 at 8:06 pm


    I don’t think that chart you cited is correct :

    Read this:

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proposed two plans to reform the broken pension system and put CPS on sustainable economic footing. Plan A would create a single, uniform pension system across the state for teachers and taxpayers. This plan would put create parity between districts and benefit retirees and teachers outside of the city because the CTPF is better funded than the TRS.

  • 482. IL Taxpayer  |  February 20, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    “I will get every penny I have coming.”

    Awww, bless your heart. That’s cute.

  • 483. Vet Teacher  |  February 20, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    What’s really cute is the extra money you will be donating to my pension!

    Dig deep taxpayer, daddy wants a new Lexus!

    $ave your money; I want you to think of me every time you get your inflated tax bill.

    Now get back to work; your drive thru customers are honking their horns. They are hungry and want their Whoppers.

  • 484. IL Taxpayer  |  February 20, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    Sure thing, big guy. The money will be there, Rauner’s going to raise taxes, CTU will get everything they want + 10%, and unicorns will be farting out rainbows. Don’t worry about a thing.

  • 485. Vet Teacher  |  February 20, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    Rauner? He has no power. Madigan and Cullerton run this state. Rauner thought that he could starve the state to submit to his will.

    90% of a budget that he hates is being implemented through the courts. + He is adding millions to K-12 education to pay for my salary.

    Just like you; I am Rauner’s daddy too!

    I called up Brucey boy and told him to pay my salary. I said, “Get to work; daddy needs a raise.”

    He complied. Now, it’s time for YOU to get to work; you have to fund my pension

    So, get your sorry a$$ to work!

  • 486. IL Taxpayer  |  February 20, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    LOL at Vet Teacher, YOU are hilarious! 😀

    Gonna be a real hit in the unemployment line and at the food pantry after CPS closes 50 MORE schools! LOL! Too bad stand-up doesn’t pay squat, cuz you would really crack’em up! Although, that’s pretty much what most people think of CPS and CTU members: A BIG JOKE.

  • 487. Vet Teacher  |  February 20, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    Blah blah blah…. Wah wah wah… Ha Ha Ha…

    Doesn’t matter: taxes are going up to pay for MY pension.

    Here’s the difference between you and me:

    You have a fantastical opinion: I have an opinion AND a constitutonally-protected contract. (7-0 IL SC vote)

    You are armed with a pocket knife; I bring a semi-automatic weapon to the table.

    Good luck!

    News flash: The JOKE’S on you! The sooner you accept that; the better it will be for you!

  • 488. Vetteacher  |  February 20, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    Those poor downstate teachers:

    CTPF is 52.5% funded.

    The TRS is only 40.6% funded.

    Illinois has five state pension systems, and all of them are seriously underfunded:

    The Teachers’ Retirement System, or TRS, manages pensions for teachers across Illinois (excluding Chicago).With more than 130,000 active members and nearly 95,000 retirees, TRS is the largest pension system in the state. Unfortunately, TRS also has the highest unfunded liability of the state’s pension systems. In 2012, TRS was only 40.6 percent funded and officially had more than $53.51 billion in unfunded liabilities. TRS members contribute 9.4 percent of their salary to the pension system.

    IL taxpayer is wasting his time trying to scare CPS teachers. He needs to find a TRS blog.


    Respond to that IL taxpayer!

    Ouch! Dig a little deeper for those tax dollars LOSER!


  • 489. Andre  |  February 20, 2016 at 10:36 pm

    As a former CTU member, please do not think that Vet Teacher is anywhere close to being representative of the hard working women and men I knew in CTU. I left CTU and CPS because of the instability and uncertainty of teaching at a public school in Chicago, but still have many friends who are passionate about teaching children and making a difference in their lives. I never had (nor did I ever see in my colleagues) the contempt of taxpayers or the sense of entitlement that Vet Teacher displays, and hope that readers of this blog recognize him as either a blatant troll or an extreme outlier of CTU members.

  • 490. Vet Teacher  |  February 20, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    You left the children to be a corporate trainer!


    I am a great teacher. I was a school delegate for fifteen years.

    You’re the troll on this board.

    “I was smart; I got out to be a corporate trainer!”

    What a joker… Who cares what you think? Go post on a corporate trainer blog!

    Tooooooooo funny!

  • 491. Wendy  |  February 21, 2016 at 1:46 am

    Not sure if IL Taxpayer and Vet Teacher are being so extreme in their pov mainly to goad each other, but I don’t think either scenario rings true. It’s unlikely we’ll see bankruptcy or massive tax hikes. We might see minor tax hikes and some further cuts to our schools. Either way, no laughing matter to those of us who have kids in this system and care about having a pub ed system in Chicago.

  • 492. Vet Teacher  |  February 21, 2016 at 9:16 am

    You are EXACTLY correct, Wendy! I have thought that the entire time. I have to use hyperbole to combat taxpayers who think they have the right to excoriate my colleagues.

    Individual taxpayers on blogs like these have a grandiose view of their power. They feel they are the “spokesperson” for all taxpayers.
    They are delusional: NOBODY cares what they think; more importantly, nobody is listening to them.

    The reality is the following: Taxpayers have no power other than one vote in approximately 10 million. They only have two choices: move out of the city/ state or pay up. Either way, I couldn’t care less.

    Taxpayers on teacher-bashing blogs exaggerate the doom and gloom. Most teachers are “go along, get along”, and sit back and take it.

    Obviously, vet teacher isn’t one of those teachers!

  • 493. Patricia  |  February 21, 2016 at 10:48 am

    @ Wendy–great info as usual! Regarding property taxes, my point is when a single item is singled out, it is a different picture than looking at the entire tax burden on Chicagoans. Taxes are out of control and I hope any increases are balanced and do not burden homeowners any more. The property taxes have increased every single year for CPS since Huberman first put CPS toe in the water (because Daley was afraid to use the levy thing). So property taxes have increased annually already, THEN Rahm just slammed through a huge property tax increase that does not even solve the police/fire pension issue. Taxes are out of control and I am skeptical that ANY tax increase will be directed where promised. Just like the lottery money. I also question where the heck all the property tax increases to date have gone in CPS?

    @Vet Teacher. “Taxpayers have no power other than one vote in approximately 10 million.”

    True, but that “one vote” did elect Rauner.

  • 494. Vet Teacher  |  February 21, 2016 at 11:28 am

    True, that one vote did elect Rauner!

    Your problem is “that one vote” also elected a Democratic super-majority!

    You are going to need a Republican majority to get ANY legislation pertaining to Rauner even called for a vote.

    So, make sure to register Republican and you can proudly support the following: strip the ability of a women’s right to choose, marginalize and deport Hispanics ( separating and destroying CPS students’ families), eliminate DACA so that many CPS students have no path to a career, incarcerate black and brown people to support the prison industrial complex (rural white welfare), defund Planned Parenthood so poor women of all races don’t have access to healthcare, apply a Neo-Con military strategy that will cost TAXPAYERS trillions of their dollars, ban Muslims using a religious test (LOL), deregulate the EPA so that fossil fuel and industrialists can destroy the environment, deregulate Wall St. so the Robber Barons’ and bankstas gravy train keeps flowing into the top 1%’s coffer$, repeal and replace Obamacare with plans that will kick poor people ( including CPS students and their families) out of the health care system.

    You can then tell your friends: Proud to be a Republican!

  • 495. Patricia  |  February 21, 2016 at 11:42 am

    @Vet Teacher
    You do not understand many voters and taxpayers. I am not a Republican. I am no longer a Democrat either. I am an independent voter. I guess I am proud to think for myself and critically look at the issues. Sorry, but you can’t put me in any convenient “box” to try and intimidate or shame me. There are MANY of us out there. Just look at the national movement. Bernie and Trump. Go figure.

  • 496. Andre  |  February 21, 2016 at 11:45 am

    Got it. Voting for an IL Republican Senate will deport Hispanics and deregulate the EPA, as well as ban Muslims and allow Governor Bruce Rauner to implement his Neo-Con Military strategy.

    And to think you are a teacher.

  • 497. Vet Teacher  |  February 21, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    The Reality is the following: you need a Republican majority. Rauner is a Republican.
    Independents only have two choices in a two-party system.. By voting Republican at the state and local level, you are furthering the aforementioned social agenda of the Republican national platform , which may or may not be distasteful to you. Be careful: Rauner MIGHT be a fascist like Snyder in MI, who has effectively stripped vote of over 1/2 the African-Americans in the state by assigning unelected emergency managers to usurp the power of locally-elected cities of Detroit, Ecorse, Pontiac, Benton Harbor, and FLINT. How’s that working out for the residents of Flint? The Detroit Public Schools?

    “Uncle Tom” Andre: Stick to corporate training. You abandoned our children for self-interest. You are a troll!

  • 498. Jen  |  February 21, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    @493, can you help me understand how Chicago residents pay more in taxes? I think that sales tax is higher than in the burbs, but do you know how much higher? What else is higher?
    I own a condo in the city that I pay $2200 a year in taxes on. I own a house in the suburbs, that cost less than my tiny city condo in a bad neighborhood, that I pay $6500 a year in taxes on. I don’t think personal income taxes are any different, city to suburb. So, I’m trying to remember what other taxes all of us pay. Other than property taxes, income taxes and sales, what else is there?
    There’s about a 1% point difference in sales taxes between my suburb and city. Cook County is taxes at 9.25% and the city is at 10.25%. The property tax difference is about 200% more and my suburb isn’t even taxed that highly like some. I wish I had some idea of what an average family spends each year to see what the total amount difference is when one looks at a higher sales tax.

    If a family spends, say 20K a year on taxable items not including mortgage, in the city, if they are taxed at a 10% sales tax rate (averaging it down for ease of use), that’s an additional 2K in sales taxes, right? If a suburban family spends 20K a year and are taxed at 9% rate (again, averaged down for ease of use), that’s an additional $1800 in sales taxes. That’s only a $200 difference. Even if we doubled that amount, its only $400 more.

    But, I’m sure I am not factoring in other things. What else is there? Personal income tax, sales tax, and property tax. Looking at the above scenario, it looks to me to be cheaper to live in the city when one purchases comparably, earns comparably and has a comparably assessed home value. Buying a home is more, but that has nothing to do with taxes. What other taxes do Chicagoans pay that I am missing?

  • 499. Vet Teacher  |  February 21, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Jen: They combined all the state pensions on that chart. The CTPF is 52.5%. The IL TRS is 41% funded and is 53 BILLION underfunded.

    The site also says that the teachers pay 9.4% towards the pensions. THAT IS A LIE! Over 1/2 the downstate/ suburban teachers don’t pay one dime towards their pensions.

    Chicago taxpayers get double-taxed> State picks up the DISTRICT’S portion> district pick up the teachers’ portion

    It has been going on for decades!

  • 500. Jen  |  February 21, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    That double taxation for city and state pension comes out of one’s property tax, no? Or does it come from somewhere else?

  • 501. Vet Teacher  |  February 21, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    Property taxes= CPS pensions

    STATE taxes of Chicago taxpayers = TRS pensions.

  • 502. Patricia  |  February 21, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    @498 Chicagoans are nickle-and-dimed to death with taxes. AND we do not get the level of services the suburbs get—-at least three years to trim a tree, permit fees costing more than the actual project, apparently there is even a tampon tax that is now being hailed as a great move forward trying to eliminate it.

    I like your example, but it is not quite that simple. For example, look at how much cheaper gas is in Chicago than suburbs because of additional taxes. I will share two links in two posts so it does not go into moderation. I am sure others can post different studies (and hope people do post examples). I tried to get opposing viewpoints and not sure if they are the best representation. One can slice numbers either way, but I know how it “feels” and the tax burden is enormous in Chicago and there is so much overhead in bureaucracy and needing 7 guys to dig a hole waste, etc.

    IMO, at some point it is just not worth the hassle of living in Chicago, and even Illinois. We may already be at this tipping point once the huge property tax hike Rahm slammed through goes into effect. Also, I have ZERO confidence that any additional property tax hike or sales tax hike or income tax hike will be used responsibly. Every time taxes are raised, nothing improves as far as pension and debt burdens. It seems pretty evident that structural changes are needed, not just find new taxes. (That said, there may be a need for more or raise in taxes—BUT that should not happen without looking at the cost side and responsibly using taxpayer dollars.)

    Here is the first link. Which I know someone will post that it is a bias viewpoint. The next example will ALSO be bias from the opposite viewpoint. I guess, draw your own conclusions.

  • 503. Patricia  |  February 21, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    And on the flipside the other bias viewpoint. I tend to think there is a better study out there saying taxes are low that perhaps someone can post?

  • 504. Patricia  |  February 21, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    oops, I mistyped. ” For example, look at how much cheaper gas is in Chicago than suburbs because of additional taxes. ”

    Obviously, I meant gas is cheaper in the suburbs than Chicago. In my experience 35ish cents more per gallon.

  • 505. CLB  |  February 21, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    I’m not sure how KMPG counts as biased, but no one is saying that “taxes are low” in general for Chicagoans. It is true is that the effective tax rate — all taxes, except federal, as a % of income — is lower in Chicago than in the IL suburbs and lower than three or more other major cities, depending on ones’ income and family size. People are saying that “taxes are too low given expenditures.”

    Chicago’s high property taxes are a function of its low personal income tax. This is what makes life cheaper tax-wise for wealthier people in Chicago v. other cities. A family of 4 w/ $250k in income has a lower effective tax rate in Chicago than 6 other cities.

    (The IPI simply divides fees & fines collected divided by population and says Chicago’s are higher than other areas. Sure, but everyone is not paying them).

  • 506. CLB  |  February 21, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    @478 That is a table for Texas’ fund, not Illinois’. IL’s TRS is funded at 42%.
    See the most recent report.

  • 507. michele  |  February 21, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    @498 think when it comes to real estate taxes people like me think the $7900 a year we pay for a 17 x 50 foot piece of property extrapolated out by sq foot is far higher than what suburban property owners pay. I am not complaining – my family get access to great parks, and services, and our local roads are always plowed. Guess if my neighborhood school was one we could go to that would be better – but I figure the city values that at $10,000 a year in taxes for the same small plot of space – so seems to me living in the city is far more expensive given real estate taxes per sq foot. And the fact I’m paying pensions for teachers in the suburbs and the folks in the suburbs are not paying for my kids teachers pensions does irritate me and that’s why I keep writing letters and asking for equitable education funding across districts in IL. Hope others in the city realize this inequity and start writing their letter to legislators today. Parents for Equitable Education Funding (PEEF)

  • 508. Vet Teacher  |  February 21, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    That is the sentiment that Chicago taxpayers should be expressing. It is outrageous.

    If that matter is resolved and there is equity, I will vote YES to ending my pension pick-up. Vet Teacher is more reasonable than this blog thinks. It is the single biggest issue obstructing a YES vote from me.

    Until then, I am voting NO.

  • 509. Jen  |  February 21, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    I am in absolute agreement that Chicagoans should not have to pay for pensions outside of Chicago. I hope Chicago people can work together to get that changed.
    @502, yeah, that’s a lot. Wonder if Chicago folks can elect different people to stop all that nonsense?
    @507, if you are paying $7900 a year in the city, then your house must be worth a LOT. I pay $2200 for my city residence. Its assessed value is about 140K and its market value is around 170K. So, your place must have a market value of upwards of 500K. If you purchased a 500K home in my suburb, you’d pay 15K+ in taxes. (My suburban home carried 6500 a year in taxes and is worth, market value, around 200K.) So, I’d say no, I don’t think you are paying a lot in taxes given what your home must be worth to pay that amount of taxes on a Chicago property. At the same time, it does suck to pay that tax bill and not at least get a good school system out of it.

    I did appreciate 502’s article that held the point of “its not so much that Chicago’s taxes are so low, it is that in comparison, suburban property taxes are so ridiculously high when looking at the nation as a whole, which in turn makes Chicago’s property taxes look low”. It makes me want to look around for where we could move when we retire!

    @506, That makes more sense!!! Thank you.

    I think the point of a few people above about the underfunded pensions in Chicago and the burbs are of grave concern. All of us, whether we are teachers, city workers or private sector people who hope to get social security (which is also has major issues) need to ensure we are saving like mad so we don’t starve when we retire. Illinois is a train wreck and I can’t imagine I’ll stay after retirement.

  • 510. Jen  |  February 21, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    and obviously I can’t type a coherent sentence tonight either. Too much wine!

  • 511. HS Mom  |  February 21, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    Patricia – to further expand on your point about taxes,

    From an independent report

    “….However, that comparison is inapt. Chicago’s suburbs and the collar counties have some of the highest property taxes in the nation. A more appropriate measure – comparing Chicago to other large cities across the country – shows that Chicago property taxes are actually quite high.

    Tax-hike proponents also claim that Chicago has not raised taxes significantly in recent years. This, they contend, justifies any future property-tax increases by the city.

    This argument omits the multitude of other local taxes that already make Chicagoan’s the most-taxed residents of any major city in Illinois.”

    “…When compared to the largest municipalities in Illinois, defined as communities with populations over 70,000, Chicago relies less on property taxes than every other large municipality.”

    “In addition to property taxes, Chicago imposes more than 30 other taxes”.

    Listed among those taxes are – sales, gasoline, cigarettes, alcohol, bottled water, telecommunications, amusement, cable, parking, personal property etc.

  • 512. cpsobsessed  |  February 21, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    So Chicago generates more tax revenue than other large cities (assuming the link is correct.) do we have more expenses than other large cities?

  • 513. HS Mom  |  February 22, 2016 at 8:17 am

    @509 – “So, your place must have a market value of upwards of 500K. If you purchased a 500K home in my suburb, you’d pay 15K+ in taxes.”

    RE tax calculation has nothing to do with Market Value.

    The point that Michele was trying to make is that most suburban homes are not 17×50….they are grander. Maybe a home that size would have a lower assessed value in the suburbs (depending on which one, of course) and run closer to the $7,900. There are a lot of variables. Your comparison is not possible with the information given.

    @512 – That’s a very good question. We are talking about one expense here that is bound to send taxpayers to their checkbooks. We also have to pay for issues with the police. I’m there’s some pie chart showing city expenditures – or what they should be. Nonetheless, the argument to cut expenses elsewhere while we continue to lavishly spend in another area is flawed.

  • 514. CLB  |  February 22, 2016 at 9:09 am

    Here are Chicago taxes compared to various large cities (these are local and state taxes combined).
    Family of 4, $100k income
    City Total Burden as % of Income
    Milwaukee 15.52%
    NYC 14.06%
    Philadelphia 13.77%
    Chicago 11.74%
    Atlanta 11.69%
    LA 10.71%
    Indianapolis 10.52%
    San Fran. 10.46%
    Denver 10.17%
    Dallas 9.59%
    Boston 8.67%

    The tax burden gets lighter as a % of income as wealth increases because IL has a flat income tax, whereas NY, CA, and others have progressive ones.

    See the PDF of the KPMG study.. Scroll down to get to individual & family tax rates.

  • 515. CLB  |  February 22, 2016 at 9:18 am

    @512 This data (Il Policy Institute & KPMG separately) does not measure Chicago revenue compared to revenue of other major cities. So that is a good, but open question.

    Also, the IL Policy Institute study examines median home value only. The KPMG study, more reasonably, assumes that home value varies with income and so compares the tax burden (% of income) of property taxes across various income classes. Note that when effective property tax rates (tax $/ home value) by IPI are measured, Chicago ranks 17th among urban areas (not even in the top quartile or quintile). But that is why the total local and state tax burden should be taken into account.

  • 516. CLB  |  February 22, 2016 at 10:10 am

    So here is the data for a family of 4 earning $250k.

    Milwaukee 16.36%
    New York 15.82%
    Los Angeles 13.89%
    Philadelphia 13.77%
    San Francisco 13.63%
    Atlanta 13.13%
    Chicago 12.98%
    Indianapolis 10.60%
    Boston 10.02%
    Denver 9.80%
    Dallas 9.47%

    The tax burden (all state & local taxes, again as % of income) is higher than for a family of 4 earning $100k but is less relative to 6 of the other cities.

  • 517. Chris  |  February 22, 2016 at 11:09 am

    “Chicago relies less on property taxes than every other large municipality”

    That would be the city itself, as distinct from CPS.

  • 518. parent  |  February 22, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    @Patricia. Re: your comment: “Chicagoans are nickle-and-dimed to death with taxes. AND we do not get the level of services the suburbs get.”

    That is the perception of a lot of Chicagoans, but I’m not sure it’s true. A friend who moved to the suburbs last year was just telling me how basically NOTHING is free, everything is expensive compared to Chicago. You have to pay to go to the beach or the pool. The classes and camps for kids are incredibly expensive. The city cut a bunch of Ash trees down in my friend’s neighborhood, and then if you wanted a replacement tree on your parkway you had to pay $100. (You guys know that you can request a tree for your parkway in Chicago for free online?) … the list was a lot longer than this but you get the idea. I don’t think people in Chicago appreciate all the city provides. The summer camps through the park district are such a bargain. Free baseball through Cubs care. Etc.

  • 519. cpsobsessed  |  February 22, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    “Chicagoans are nickle-and-dimed to death with taxes. AND we do not get the level of services the suburbs get.”

    I think that’s just part of the trade off of living in a large metropolitan city. We have more lights and police, big public events, public transportation, big parades, great playgrounds and dog parks.
    I don’t see how the budget of the city can be compared to that of the suburbs. It’s a totally different beast.

  • 520. Tone  |  February 22, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    CPS is insolvent. The bills will not be paid next year. Default is looming.

  • 521. cpsobsessed  |  February 22, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    The lake, Buckingham fountain, millennium park with free concerts, much more traffic on the roads, cops etc needed because people up after 11pm. 🙂 Drawbridges. O’Hare (do city/suburbs all kick in for that?)

    I just keep thinking of more things that the city pays for. So we could potentially just shut all that down and pay the bills. Maybe we should. Just run bare-bones for a few years.

  • 522. Tone  |  February 22, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    It’s going to happen.

  • 523. Gravy Train  |  February 22, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    @522 Scccrreeeeeeeeccccccch! Gravy Train comin’ to a halt! All CPS employees and retirees, please disembark and transfer to the Bare Bones Limited! It’ll be crowded, won’t go very far or very fast, and will be EXTREMELY unpleasant, just like your teaching conditions. Remember — kids first! HA HAH HAH

  • 524. Vetteacher  |  February 22, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    Brucey Boy isn’t blocking anything. Posturing. One-term guvna!

    Keep hoping and dreaming.

    He’s a taxpayer’s wet dream; albeit, a dream nonetheless.


    Dig deep; taxes are going up!

  • 525. Gravy Train  |  February 22, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    @524 HAH HAH HAH Keep thinking that! And make some big plans for summertime because CTU is going on strike for a looooooong time! Also start practicing your lawnmoer and broom skills! SCRREEEEEEEEECCCCH! BUH BYE!

  • 526. Chris  |  February 22, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    “O’Hare (do city/suburbs all kick in for that?)”

    ORD is a cash cow. Makes money–hence the occasional discussion of leasing it (or MDW), like the parking meters or the skyway.

  • 527. Vet Teacher  |  February 22, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    Yawn, another troll who thinks he knows something. Too funny!

    Brucey Boy isn’t doing anything. Yes, teachers will be on strike at the end of March.

    Book your childcare now!

    As soon as Clayfool tries to unilaterally strip the pension-pick-up, the CTU will file a complaint with the NLRB. The CTU will win and the strike will commence in a few weeks later.

    Poor wittle Brucey Boy’s head will explode, and he will be helpless to do ANYTHING except whine like the taxpayers on this blog.

  • 528. Tone  |  February 22, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    Good, the sooner CTU strikes, the sooner Chicago taxpayers wake up to how lazy and greedy the union is.

  • 529. Tone  |  February 22, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    It’s only a matter of time. Banktruptcy is near for CPS. There will be no more borrowing. There is no more money.

    CPS balance sheet as of 6/15 shows total assets of $8.8Billion and total liabilities of over $20 Billion. CPS has a negative “NW” of over $11Billion.

  • 530. Tone  |  February 22, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    “In the bankruptcy, the city cut $7.8 billion from payments to its retired workers, who saw their pensions cut by as much as 18 percent.”

  • 531. Chris  |  February 22, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    I really love the arrogance of a factually challenged goofball predicting the outcomes of NLRB complaints, and assuming that it would be resolved extremely rapidly. AND that an outcome in favor of CTU would lead to a strike, rather than a court order directing CPS to pay the damn pickup.

  • 532. Tone  |  February 22, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    CPS balance sheet as of 6/15 shows total assets of $8.8Billion and total liabilities of over $20 Billion. CPS has a negative “NW” of over $11Billion.

    CPS is facing a $1Billion operating deficit next year as well.

    Time is up, there is no money.

  • 533. Gravy Train  |  February 22, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    @527 I hope the CTU strikes and it goes until Christmas. Gonna be AWFULLY nice to have the CTU members raking leaves, cleaning toilets, doing gift wrap, all at starving artist prices. Hey Vet Teacher! You’re in luck – a snow storm is coming on Wednesday so you can practice your shoveling!!!

    (“*Ding Dong! Hi, I’m an on-strike teacher! Preeeettty Please can I shovel your driveway!?!? I’ll do it for $20? No? How about $10? Ok, three bucks, as low as I’ll go! Ok, $2.25 and a cup of hot cocoa! It’s really cold out here! Brr! But that’s my final… SLAM!!!”)

  • 534. Vet Teacher  |  February 22, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    Sure! But TRS teachers are 53 BILLION in debt and have been since the early 2000’s.

    Notice that Brucey Boy isn’t calling for their BK.

    He has direct oversight over the downstate / suburban .

    What a hypocrite!


    Keep hoping and praying, suckers!

  • 535. Vet Teacher  |  February 22, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    Gravy train… Ooooh, I am soooooooo scared.

    Dig deep loser; teachers in Detroit were only mildly hit after BK..A few minor changes; 4.5% adjustment.

    I will get EVERY penny of my pension, and YOU are going to pay for it.

    All the blather on this board is laughable!

    Send me your address; I will send you a box of Kleenex.

    You can get a $5 an hour teen to watch your kid IF you act now. If you wait, it will cost you more.

    You have been warned!

  • 536. Gravy Train  |  February 22, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    @534 Because he wants the easier task of getting rid of CTU and handling the CPS bankruptcy first. Go get your boots and shovel ready for Wednesday, Vetteacher! Stop at Aldi and buy some store brand aspirin too — your feet and back are gonna need it,

  • 537. Gravy Train  |  February 22, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    @535 Go strike! PLEASE go strike! CTU ain’t gonna pay you when this strike goes super long, and CPS locks you out of the buildings!

    Hope you know of a church to open up their basements and ask desperate parents to pay you “tuition”, and I also hope you know how to make $40 a week and the food pantry work for ya! HA HAH HAH

    Dig deep, Vet Shoveler! It’s coming!

  • 538. Vet Teacher  |  February 22, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    Brucey Boy can’t even get Cullerton to give him the Cullerton bill. There is a democratic super majority in the legislature.

    The only BK on this blog is your employer!

    Get back to flipping burgers. The drive thru customers need their Whoppers.

  • 539. CLB  |  February 22, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    The problem is that there is no sign that taxes are going to go up.
    CPS cannot raise anymore revenue without a referendum to exceed PTELL caps (this is what wealthy suburban districts have done repeatedly). But the mayor seems to have no stomach for it, so it is unlikely to occur. And it is not clear it would pass if it did occur.

    So unless the Democrats in Springfield are willing to group together and pass a veto-proof income tax hike less than 9 months before the election… there is no resolution to CPS’ financial drama in sight.

    Right now @520 is correct. From the available data, CPS will run-dry in July or August. It may be unable to make payroll, so schools might not open in the fall. It has happened before in Chicago. Rahm can delay that by drawing an TIF balances, but that would just roll the ball into 2017. It would not avert the reckoning.

  • 540. Chris  |  February 22, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    ” the mayor seems to have no stomach for it, so it is unlikely to occur. And it is not clear it would pass if it did occur.”

    CLB–I think you have the causation backward there–it’s unlikely to pass, so the 5th floor doesn’t want the brain damage of trying to pass it.

    Were there an elected board, it’d be a different story, of course. Rahm would probably encourage them privately, and wash his hands of it publicly.

    “roll the ball into 2017”

    Well, *something* will happen at the state level during the veto session. Probably nothing good, but something. Likely to be the first something all year. So maybe CPS does just need to crawl into 2017, and then get equitable funding, or a CTPF takeover, or an elected board, or a bk, or all of it at once.

  • 541. Chris  |  February 22, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    “teachers in Detroit were only mildly hit after BK.”

    Remind us all again WTF the *city’s* bankruptcy had to do with the *school district*???

    I *might* stop bringing it up, if you stop stepping in it.

  • 542. Vet Teacher  |  February 22, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    Chris thinks I’m factually-challenged?

    Chris doesn’t think the Democrats have a super majority in the IL legislature. ROTFLMAO!

    What a joker!


    The money is coming:

    The funding formula will change, AND the TRS and CTPF will be merged.


    The country is insolvent, IL is insolvent…

    Brucey Boy won’t even get a CPS BK on the floor for a vote.

    The govt will just keep rolling along 90% funded via court orders until Lisa Madigan becomes Gov. ….when Rauner gets ousted!

    This board is “The Comedy Roast of Desperate Taxpayers.”

    Vet Teacher is the roast master!

  • 543. Vet Teacher  |  February 22, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    Three different DPS teachers told me. I didn’t get into details.

    THE OMNIPOTENT Chris (t), who thinks the Dems don’t have a super majority in the IL legislature (LOL), doesn’t know so it musn’t be true.

    Factually-challenged Chris?

  • 544. HS Mom  |  February 22, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    @517 Chris – Yes, the point of that statement is that Chicago relies on all it’s taxes. Calling them something other than real estate tax makes it seem like we have low taxes whereas other municipalities will charge a property tax only and are more heavily dependent upon that property tax.

    @518 – Nothing is free. You pay for park district services out of your taxes.

  • 545. michele  |  February 22, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    I thought some of you may be interested in this post.

    Ms. Resseger retired from the National Council of Churches where she was an education advocate.

  • 546. Wendy  |  February 22, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    @Vet Teacher- the Dems don’t have a super majority for revenue.

    3 Dems in the House won’t vote for revenue right now.

    The change in the funding formula that is currently proposed barely makes a dent for CPS. The special ed block grant will be phased out and so CPS will likely be neutral around year 3 or 4, unless there’s some actual revenue injected. Perhaps the hope is that we’ll have a different Governor by then who will actually raise some state revenue.

  • 547. Vet Teacher  |  February 22, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    Yep, Brucey Boy was able to bribe one traitor. What’s that Benedict Arnold’s name? Dunkin? Two downstate traitors as well.

    They still have a dem super majority; something factually-challenged Chris (t) didn’t know *LOL

  • 548. Patricia  |  February 22, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    Yikes! Lisa Madigan for Governor. NO WAY! The Madigan name has screwed up Illinois enough. No more! Her Father is a control freak and he will control her and keep Illinois in his grip all the way to the grave.

  • 549. RyanF  |  February 23, 2016 at 10:24 am

    VetTeacher, be careful, you’re working the anti-teacher people into a hateful frenzy, you’re going to give them a rage-stroke over their laptops lol

  • 550. Tone  |  February 23, 2016 at 10:41 am

    Karen Lewis and her CTU minions are nothing more than fat slobs at the taxpayer trough. Their sole purpose is suck the taxpayer dry so they can live a life of leisure.

  • 551. Tone  |  February 23, 2016 at 10:42 am

    Chicago taxpayers and CPS are fed up. No more money for sloth.

  • 552. Tone  |  February 23, 2016 at 10:43 am

    CPS has 4000 less students in 2015 than 2014. More schools will be closed, more teachers will be let go. The system needs to be rationalized.

  • 553. Chris  |  February 23, 2016 at 10:59 am

    “Chris doesn’t think the Democrats have a super majority in the IL legislature. ”

    Hey [bad words], check your reading comprehension. I merely noted that there is not a majority for any Anti-Madigan proposal.

    And, indeed, NO ONE said that there isn’t a Dem Super majority, just not a super majority available to override a veto on raising taxes.

    And if you dispute *that*, then I’m surprised you know how to type.

  • 554. Chris  |  February 23, 2016 at 11:01 am

    HS Mom: “Chris – Yes, the point of that statement is that Chicago relies on all it’s taxes.”

    ?? I was making the point that they are comparing the city government portion of the taxes/fees, and not discussing school district finance. I probably wasn’t totally clear on that point.

  • 555. cpsobsessed  |  February 23, 2016 at 11:04 am

    Ooookay… can we try to go back to tempered discussion instead of provoking each other for the sake of provoking? It tends to drive away people who want to engage in an open discussion of the issue.

    Many thanks.

  • 556. Chris  |  February 23, 2016 at 11:06 am

    “I thought some of you may be interested in this post.”

    The teachers are unfairly blamed, so she blames a (questionable on the front-end, stupid in retrospect) decision about interest rate swaps that is–per the post–costing $100m over a 20 year period.

    So, CPS is merely $5m a year away from being not a financial mess?

  • 557. Gravy Train  |  February 23, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    @552 Fewer students but CTU demands more money. Wow I hope CTU strikes, 4000 more kids leave and 100 CPS schools are mothballed, with a related FIRING of CTU staff!

  • 558. RyanF  |  February 23, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    Gravy Train, relax buddy! You’re practically foaming at the mouth! Look, whatever teacher yelled at you and made you feel bad for eating paste as a kid, I’m sure she’s very sorry, but it’s time to move on!

  • 559. Gravy Train  |  February 23, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    @558 … CTU leadership seems to have eaten lead paint as kids, just sayin’.

    Get ready for a strike!

  • 560. Chris  |  February 23, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    I really dig how the “teachers” here resort to using paste-eating and IEPs as insults.

    Yeah, it’s all about the kids.

  • 561. Tone  |  February 23, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    The kids are pawns for CTU greed.

  • 562. Vet Teacher  |  February 23, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    It is about the kids: factually-challenged Chris (t) and Tone!

    They are whiny little babies, groaning and moaning about tax hikes.

    Let me buy you a box of Kleenex.

    Wah ,wah… blah, blah, blah.. wah,wah

    Can’t wait to CRUSH all your fantasies.

    Dig deep. The Taxman is coming very soon!

    Donate blood. Sell yourself. Do whatever you have to do to fund MY pension!

    I am going to move to a place in retirement so I don’t have to pay taxes. I will stick you trolls with the bill!


  • 563. Chris  |  February 23, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    Hey [bad words] when have you *once* seen me complain about a tax hike?

    Can’t believe that someone with such poor reading comprehension teaches HS kids–must be the reason why CPS grads are soooooo poorly prepared for college.

  • 564. Vet Teacher  |  February 23, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    At least they know that the Democrats in the IL legislature have a super majority, unlike factually-challenged Chris (t)!

  • 565. Chris  |  February 23, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    Cite to it, bozo. Or do you prefer just looking like a clown?

    A mean clown who writes crap like:

    “When is Chris(t)’s IEP meeting? LOL”

    *SOOO* glad that my kids won’t encounter the likes of your sorry self.

  • 566. IL Taxpayer  |  February 23, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    Chicago State is closin’ early! Runnin’ outta money! I can GUARANTEE ya that the CSU people were thinking “Oh, we’ll be fine! The Democrats will never let *US* close!”


  • 567. Vet Teacher  |  February 23, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    Yawn. Mommy and Daddy taxpayers don’t get mad when adults get screwed. They get REALLY upset when their kids’ lives are disrupted.

    I’d advise Mommy and Daddy to get childcare soon. They are gonna need it, soon.

    Clayfool postponed the 7% pick-up stripping till mid March. That means that the strike will occur in mid to late April.

    See you on the streets taxpayer trolls . Honk your horn so I can flip you off!

    I attended Chris (t)’s IEP meeting. Because he/she is factually-challenged, the case manager put Chris (t) in a self-contained classroom.

    Tone and IL taxpayer are delusional. I wanted to put them in a mental health facility, but sadly, Brucey Boy closed them all down.


  • 568. IL Taxpayer  |  February 23, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    @567 Keeeeeeeeeep Dreeeeeeeeeamin’. “Oh, the Illinois Dem Super-Majority will protect Chicago State! No way they’ll let us run out of money!” Nope! Sorry!

    CTU: “Oh, the Democratic Supermajority will give us all we want! We serve the kids of Chicago!” Nope — CTU is only there to protect their members. So, how about “no”, Bob?

    I so hope you go on strike. A nice, long strike so more families LEAVE CPS, more schools go bye-bye, and teachers get an extended trip to the unemployment rolls. The ones that stay will have an AWESOME time teaching classes of 45 students. Have fun!

  • 569. HS Mom  |  February 23, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    @554 – Chris – Thanks for clarifying

    CPSO – “can we try to go back to tempered discussion instead of provoking each other for the sake of provoking?”

    Thank you. I think one person may have multiple names here given the tone. I have truly enjoyed reading and participating over the years. There have been many engaging discussions and a wide range of opinions voiced here. There is no need to talk over anyone. At the very least, please recognize that it is the efforts of CPSO (while being a working mom, moving households and dealing with family illness) continues to show her genuine concern for CPS families with this forum. I appreciate it and others do too. Please continue to discuss your POV in a positive way.

  • 570. Vet Teacher  |  February 23, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    Do you read the news? Yesterday, Brucey Boy said he was increasing money for K-12, including $75 million more for early childhood ed.

    Brucey Boy understands that Mommy and Daddy taxpayer are important. Don’t want to piss them off if he wants a second term.


    That’s it. IL taxpayer is on suicide watch. With no mental health facilities, we may have to incarcerate him for his own safety!

  • 571. Vet Teacher  |  February 23, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    Yes Chris (t), listen to your HS Mommy!

    Quit writing (bad word) on this thread.

    If you are a good boy, I will invite HS Mommy to your 3-year eval.

    Repeat after me: The Dems have a super majority in the IL legislature…The Dems have a super majority in the IL legislature. ..

  • 572. IL Taxpayer  |  February 23, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    @570 $75 Million STATEWIDE, not a penny going to CTU. Each CPS school would be lucky to get $20,000 of this, so about a thousand dollar a classroom.


  • 573. IL Taxpayer  |  February 23, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    @571 Repeat after me “Chicago State is closing early. Chicago State is closing early.”


  • 574. Jen  |  February 23, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    I feel really sad for those students at CSU. There should be some guarantee that when they pay tuition, they will at least be able to finish the semester. Now, they are cutting spring break “in hopes” of being able to finish out the semester. They run out of funding in March. I don’t know if payroll will be able to continue paying out til the end of April. I also wonder if professors were willing to work for free the last 2-3 weeks, if it would even matter, because all the office staff, the custodians, the registrar’s office, etc, might not also be willing and if you don’t have people to print grades and transcripts, finishing a course is pointless.
    I know CPS had a few paydays where there was no paychecks back in the late 70’s. I used to think if that was me, I’d keep teaching, but if you don’t get a paycheck, how do you pay the babysitter or pay for gas? I wonder if this will happen this fall.

  • 575. Vet Teacher  |  February 23, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    CTU won’t close down; it is a union. CPS could close down. One hundred thousand idle teens roaming the streets of Chiraq. Poor Rahm, the murders and shootings should even accellerate. A sad state of affairs for sure.

    IL taxpayers can then pay for extra police and incarceration. That’s what the taxpayer trolls want to do to black and brown children anyway. This is why NOBODY is complaining about the TRS of IL, which by the way is 53 BILLION in debt. NOBODY is trying to call for their heads.

    That’s the real issue.

  • 576. cpsobsessed  |  February 23, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    Thank you HSMom. I only have one child so I’m not used to dealing with nonstop bickering. 🙂

    Inflammatory comments going forward will be removed.

    Going forward there may be more Policy -related posts, as I may have a new guest writer soon. Details TBD, but the goal will be to keep the comments productive.

    With that in mind, and anticipated “censorship!” responses, I encourage anyone who dislikes being given censored to start a WordPress blog. It’s easy, free,and rewarding and you can be up and running to tonight!

  • 577. cpsobsessed  |  February 23, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    Somehow I missed this whole CSU thing. That’s a college shutting down??

  • 578. IL Taxpayer  |  February 23, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    @cpso — Yes, it is canceling Spring Break to save money. Tough day for the kids at the University of Emil Jones.

  • 579. michele  |  February 24, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    I thought I also heard Northeastern IL also was looking at class reduction and closure without State funds. Wonder what good those 529 accounts are going to be in a state that can’t even fund their university system?

  • 580. cpsobsessed  |  February 24, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    I heard part of the story on NPR this morning… very disturbing. Are these schools wholely state funded? I don’t understand where tuition factors in vs say U of I.

  • 581. michele  |  February 24, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    What I understand both CSU and Northeastern are newer colleges that don’t have a lot of alumni funds to sustain their operations. Older schools with more donors are using their cash reserves I think. Not all that different than how CPS schools with wealthier Parents pay for their teachers salaries when the budget gets cut but but Poorer schools that don’t have donor Parents can’t. I went to Northeastern and received an email regarding the state of the school – all pretty sad given a lot of students rely on their services . Ironically the school has a large education program for IL Teacher certifications.

  • 582. HSObsessed  |  February 24, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    Other states are grappling with lack of funding for their state universities as well. Currently, Louisiana is talking of cancelling classes at all their public universities in mid-semester if additional funds are not allocated. Not sure if that’s just saber-rattling to put pressure on lawmakers, but it’s certainly rattling the college kids and parents who have a stake in it, including a friend of mine with a freshman at LSU.

  • 583. IL Taxpayer  |  February 24, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    CSU has 1 administrator for 17.7 students. University of Illinois has 1 administrator 29.2 students.

    I feel bad for the students who worked hard and are getting a raw deal, but this “school” seems to exist in large part to give friends and family of South Side pols and preachers a high paying job funded by State & Federal Education dollars.

    Click to access Goldberg-memo-Chicago-State-University.pdf

  • 584. cpsobsessed  |  February 24, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    Hm, I really want to buy into Bernie’s free college plan, but not sure how that would happen if schools are already broke.

  • 585. michele  |  February 24, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    HSobsessed can I ask what is the state’s funding dilemma in LA?

  • 586. Tone  |  February 24, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    The game is up. CPS is broke. It won’t be able to borrow in the bond market. Default is around the corner.

  • 587. Vet Teacher  |  February 24, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    Yawn. No need to go to the bond markets. We will go to the taxpayer market. Dig deep, taxes are going up! Any smart reader is Tone-deaf!

  • 588. cpsobsessed  |  February 24, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    So irs one or the other? (Bonds or taxes). Might it not be both? Is there a cap on property tax increase?

  • 589. IL Taxpayer  |  February 24, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    @587 That’s what Chicago State thought too, and GUESS WHAT HAPPENED?!? LOL

    The Illinois State Government isn’t even meeting right now to discuss raising revenues. Just for fun, let’s say they were and agreed to raise taxes: when would the tax rates go up? It’d take at least six months to get taxes implemented and collected, even longer for a State income tax hike or property tax hike.

    Meanwhile, CPS is spending spending spending, and they’re gonna run outta money. No one’s gonna loan money to CPS, so that faucet is tapped out.

    No money, no school teachers need report to duty. No school, NO PAYCHECK.

  • 590. Vet Teacher  |  February 24, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    CPSO, my Orwellian 1984 sista: IL taxpayer just called me a pig; why isn’t he being censored?

  • 591. cpsobsessed  |  February 24, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    p>Vet teacher. Seriously. Please don’t start the he said she said. This isn;t a contest. Sometimes I eat dinner and stuff, ya know? If you’re concerned more about the contest you’re posting in the wrong place. I highly encourage you to share you opinions on your own blog.

  • 592. Vet Teacher  |  February 24, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    Of course you do. I am the object of your censorship.

    I will quit posting on your blog if you admit that this blog isn’t really for a free exchange of ideas and viewpoints, but is a taxpayer forum for taxpayers to whine and moan about those greedy pig teachers sucking off the poor taxpayer’s teat.

    I know, you LOVE the teachers; you just hate the CTU! 😂

  • 593. HS Mom  |  February 24, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    CPSO – Another issue with the lack of state funding and colleges is that individual student aid has dried up in Illinois. Kids who qualify for need based money are not getting it and not able to attend. This effects all state colleges, in particular those that have a large % of students dependent upon aid.

    @505 – Pretty much a given that taxes are too low given our expenditures. Problem being that if taxes are high for a 100K family and not so high for a 250K family, there will be no differentiation for property taxes based upon income. Plenty of people who managed to hang on to their homes are just getting by.

    Re “bare bones” thought – I’m afraid that going “bare bones” doing away with city activities will hurt the small businesses that directly and indirectly benefit and be the last straw for many when it comes to staying in Chicago or Illinois for that matter.

  • 594. WesLooMom  |  February 24, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    Here’s a link to cpsblog’s discussion of its tentative agreement that CTU rejected. I apologize if it’s already been discussed. I don’t always have time to read every post.

    Click to access 02.02.16-Components-of-CPS-Contract-updated.pdf

  • 595. Amazed  |  February 24, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    …..That no one here seems to be aware that 2/3s of IL corporations pay NO income tax and no discussion of how this shorts state revenue. And we can’t even find out which ones they are


  • 596. cpsobsessed  |  February 24, 2016 at 10:41 pm

    @wesloomom, thanks. That’s interesting. I wish they’d note what was changing firm the status quo. I can tell what’s an improvement vs downgrade.

  • 597. @cpso  |  February 24, 2016 at 11:29 pm

    You should block vet teacher’s posts. He/she is a poor representation of how most teachers view themselves. He/she is a troll! AND please vet teacher don’t denigrate me for saying so! Your views are the very reason tax payers hate unions! I am AFSCME and we don’t have a contract either and I even understand I need to do my part to get the state out of our mess! I LOVE teachers! I couldn’t ask for a better line up for the teachers my kids have now! My mom is a retired teachers and most of my friends are teachers! You make all of them look bad with your comments! Please STOP BLOGGING!

  • 598. HS Mom  |  February 25, 2016 at 8:10 am

    @595 – From the article

    “We need to know which 2/3 of corporations aren’t paying any Illinois income tax and why”

    The article doesn’t really discuss the “why” other than to state that corporations are not transparent about their taxes. In fact, any publicly traded company is transparent by law, also reporting to the SEC. Many companies actually don’t make a profit. Others that do pay earnings out in the form of bonuses at year end so that the profits are taxed at the personal level. Bonuses are also taxed at a higher rate. So, corporate money is taxed. I’m surprised it’s as low as 2/3.

  • 599. HS Mom  |  February 25, 2016 at 8:17 am

    to add – from the article in post 511 – “Chicago’s commercial property taxes are the 3rd highest out of 53 cities”

  • 600. NEIU  |  February 25, 2016 at 8:55 am

    RE: NEIU and lack of state funds:

    NEIU isn’t looking at closing down as of now. The university is sending out letters saying it is definitely good until May. The note below was posted by the North Park NEIU community liaison on a neighborhood FB page. After May and looking to next year will get tougher though if nothing happens in the state budget fight though.

    “Northeastern has been using its reserves to pay salaries and front MAP grants to students who receive them. Unlike Chicago State University, which announced that it will be unable to make payroll past March 1, NEIU does not see itself having to close or having to declare financial exigency in the same way as CSU”

  • 601. cpsobsessed  |  February 25, 2016 at 8:59 am

    Reminding yet again that posts with inflammatory language or taunting another commenter will not be posted.

    Rock on

  • 602. neighborhood parent  |  February 25, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    Todays Tribune Morning Spin section (2/25) –
    “*Strange bedfellows: Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who ran as a progressive against Mayor Emanuel last year, endorsed Speaker Michael Madigan for re-election over Democratic primary challenger Jason Gonzalez in the Southwest Side 22nd House District.

    Madigan is about as establishment as it gets, but Garcia wants to succeed Cook County Clerk David Orr, who may be in his final term. Getting the blessing of Madigan, who is state Democratic Party chair and influential in county politics, would help Garcia.”

    Even the ‘good guys’ are not really the ‘good guys’…. ugh. I think I’m gonna be sick.

  • 603. CLB  |  February 25, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    @588. CPS’ property levy increase cannot exceed the rate of inflation, which is nil now. CPS is tapped out on property levy. It cannot raise property taxes further even if it wanted to.

  • 604. CLB  |  February 25, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    Unless it holds a referendum to do so, which means waiting until November just to put it up for a vote.

  • 605. Chris  |  February 25, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    HS Mom:

    “Bonuses are also taxed at a higher rate.”

    The *withholding* is higher, but otherwise, the tax is all the same–sure, every extra dollar is subject to the highest applicable marginal rate, but income tax does NOT distinguish between regular salary and bonus.

    In other words, two identical people, one who has a $150k salary, and another with a $50,000 salary and a $100k bonus will end up with exactly the same total tax, just one of them will get a bigger refund (or owe a smaller payment).

  • 606. Chris  |  February 25, 2016 at 4:31 pm


    I presume you are eliding the increase related to ‘new’ property to avoid going down that rabbithole, as it doesn’t make a substantial difference.

  • 607. CLB  |  February 25, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    Right. New construction, annexation, and expired TIFs are deducted from current value in the limiting rate calculation. And CPS cannot make any of these happen on its own.

    Any meaningful new revenue will have to come from Springfield.

  • 608. Chris  |  February 25, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    “CPS cannot make any of these happen on its own”

    I’m now officially picking nits, but do want to say:

    “CPS” certainly can expire all the TIFs “on its own”–the same guy is actually in charge of both.

    I don’t think its automatically a good idea, nor do I think it is even half as simple as Ben (and others) portray it to be, but “CPS” can do that one.

  • 609. Jen  |  February 25, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    I should know the answer to this question but I don’t. Maybe someone else does. For years the city didn’t pay into the teacher’s pension fund and took the famous “pension holiday”. Is that still legal or has there been legislation to prevent that from ever happening for any reason ever again? Is it still legal to do the same with TRS?

  • 610. cpsobsessed  |  February 26, 2016 at 9:08 am

    Well, today’s the day, people. I was reminded by ChicagoSchoolGPS that the staff of the OAE office was cut quite a bit this year… so it’s possible that things may not go quite as smoothly as in the past.

    That was always one of the best-run offices in CPS in my opinion, so sad to hear that.

  • 611. CLB  |  February 26, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    @609 The holidays have ended both for the state TRS and Chicago’s TPF. Now both are required to pay extra into the pensions to make up for missed payments. For CTPF, the current law requires that the pension be 90% funded by 2059. TRS has a similar 90% obligation by 2045. In both cases, the state legislature allowed for the underfunding.

    The need to catch-up on the state deferred payments is the primary cause of the fiscal crisis for CPS but not the only cause.

    @608 Declaring a surplus on most of the balance of TIF accounts would close the gap this year. (Because of the way the accounting is done it as almost impossible to tell how much of the $1.4 billion balance is committed to contracted projects or is needed to fund already planned projects v. the simply funding projects with annual tax revenue (which was around $400+ million per year). But it would deplete the balance, so the $ would not be available for the next fiscal year.

    Given annual TIF tax revenue, ending all the TIFs would mean that CPS would gain only $200+ million per year in sustained revenue. While that would certainly help close the gap, it would not in and of itself solve the problem. CPS would still need hundred of millions annually from Springfield in new revenue.

  • 612. CLB  |  February 26, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    Above should be “The need to catch up on the _CPS_ deferred payments is the primacy cause…”

  • 613. Chris  |  February 26, 2016 at 12:59 pm


    We’re have been and still are on the same page on the TIF stuff. As I noted, I was picking a nit (one that I thought someone else might latch on to, were they inclined to argue the point).

  • 614. Chris  |  February 26, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    ugh, bad editing.

  • 615. Wendy  |  February 26, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    The City Council could also do a property tax vote and front the money to CPS. It’s probably a very unpopular idea, and who knows if they’d ever get the votes to pass it, but it is doable. It’s not a good idea for a sustainable plan, because the city could change course at any time, but if our schools are about to see class sizes of 45, it should at least be a discussion point.

    But a better idea:
    TIF Surplus for short-term $200M
    Cut lame CPS contracts: $130M
    CTU – no idea what will happen here

    State revenue- post November- ???
    change funding formula, require state to kick in for CTPF, etc. etc.
    $100M property tax increase for CPS??

    Or ….class size of 50
    Rauner takeover- so he can carry out plans to “blow up” district and create small networks of privatized schools that compete for resources

  • 616. cpsobsessed  |  February 26, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    We set up cameras everywhere and pitch this as reality TV ala Hunger Games/Survivor to fund the district:

    “blow up” district and create small networks of privatized schools that compete for resources

  • 617. Chris  |  February 26, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    “The City Council could also do a property tax vote and front the money to CPS. ”

    While Rahm is still mayor, I think that this is highly improbable.

  • 618. Tone  |  February 26, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    I personally don’t care if TIF is elminated, however most of the money is used for real purposes (not lining the “pockets” as fools like Ben J claim) like park district upgrades, affordable housing development, school upgrades etc. So, taxes will go up regardless, unless we actually reduce spending. Novel thought, right?

  • 619. Gravy Train  |  February 26, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    Chicago State is warning of layoffs. Looks like the whole idea of “Let’s go back to the taxpayers for more money!” has finally come to an end.

    Oh well. Think the CTU will realize this and start thinking of ways to compromise? Or will it be more “Raise our taxes! Raise our taxes!” on the State Capitol lawn?

    I think a strike is inevitable, and it’s going to be a long one, making 1987 look like a 3-Day weekend … 😦

  • 620. Tone  |  February 26, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    The saddest part is that a strike hurts people without means of childcare the most. CTU doesn’t care of course. As long as the outrageous, bankrupting pensions and benefits are maintained.

  • 621. Vet Teacher  |  February 26, 2016 at 9:22 pm


    Very touching! The public-sector welfare recipient cares about the children.


  • 622. cpsobsessed  |  February 26, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    Look, whether you agree with the goals of CTU or not, they are a labor union with the ability to strike. It may not be the best for the kids/families, but teachers are people doing jobs who want to get paid fairly.

    I don’t think it’s fair to ask them to give up more because it’s “for the kids.” It’s a paid profession, just like we all have.

    Personally I would hope the CTU can find a way to avoid the strike. I think it’s disruptive to teachers as well as families. Teachers don’t want to be working into July, I’d imagine.

  • 623. Jen  |  February 27, 2016 at 10:24 am

    Can teachers work past July 1? I thought the change of fiscal year made that impossible. I could be wrong though.

  • 624. eager to hear  |  February 27, 2016 at 10:43 am

    @623 This is a question that I have as well. I had heard that CPS can’t extend school past 7/1 and am trying to get some confirmation, Called and LM at one of the CPS offices and never got a call back.

  • 625. cpsobsessed  |  February 27, 2016 at 11:22 am

    I have no idea. What happens if a strike goes really long? I suppose they could cancel spring break and other service days before the end of the year?

  • 626. liza  |  February 27, 2016 at 11:33 am

    @622 Thank you for recognizing the fact that teachers should not be held to a different standard than any other profession just because we work with children. We want the same things everybody else wants – the highest possible pay, affordable health insurance and the retirement benefits that we have been promised. I want to raise my family in a decent neighborhood with decent schools. I want to be able to contribute to my children’s college education so that they will not be saddled with a huge debt after they graduate. I do my best everyday to make a difference in my students’ lives, but in the end, my priority is my kids.

    I get frustrated when people talk about the “private sector” and how things work – little or no raises, spiraling health care costs, no or little retirement benefits, etc. I feel for you, however, these same things have occurred over my 29 years working for CPS. There were many years where there were no raises, my health care costs increased, and my employer was allowed to skip paying their share of my retirement benefits. The only difference between us is I have a union that will represent my interests as an employee and do what they can to get me the best deal in terms of compensation and working conditions. That is their purpose and why I pay dues to them. I may not always agree with them and some of their stances/actions can make me cringe at times, but I recognize and appreciate all that they have done on my behalf.

    I love what I do. It gives me immense personal satisfaction and I can’t think of anything I would have rather done (except maybe being a chef!) as a career. Most teachers understand the need for changes like picking up more of our pension costs, the fact that health insurance keeps going up, etc. and would like to avoid a strike – you are correct, we don’t want to work into July! We also don’t want to be the only side to make concessions. In terms of the “almost” agreement, I thought much of it was acceptable. The sticking point for many of us older teachers was the item about getting a large number of veteran teachers to retire. How can you force people to retire if they don’t want to? Many teachers who have been with CPS for 25 years or more imagined a scenario that if that number wasn’t met, there might be targets on our backs. I have worked for the same principal for a long time. She considers me an asset to her staff, but she is planning on retiring after one more year. This is my fear – I am expensive, I have two masters degrees and at the top of the pay scale. A new principal just may decide that I cost too much money and decide to lower my evaluations to the point that I could lose my job (and yes, this does happen). It’s a scary thought to lose everything after 29 years.

    I truly hope that an agreement can be reached that is equitable for both sides. It is in everybody’s best interest.

    As a side note to everyone, please be aware that Vet Teacher in no way speaks for me and most of the teachers that I know. He/She seems to really add nothing to the discussion except give more fuel to those who think teachers are only all about the money with no thought of our students. I am truly embarrassed at times by the nastiness and pettiness of the posts.

  • 627. IL Taxpayer  |  February 27, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    @622 These people keep coming back to the taxpayers and demand more money for their retirement accounts. I’m glad Rauner is telling them to eff off, as a) the State has no cash largely due to these lavish pensions agreed upon over decades to public employee unions and b) the education teachers provide at CPS, we can ALL agree upon, effing SUCKS, with the exception of some SE schools and a few neighborhood schools in affluent neighborhoods.

    None of the increase in taxes will make it to the classroom. Go ahead and strike. Hope CTU members have a nice pocket of cash to pay for their mortgages and food.

  • 628. cpsobsessed  |  February 27, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    @IL Taxpayer, that’s called student demographics:

    “b) the education teachers provide at CPS, we can ALL agree upon, effing SUCKS, with the exception of some SE schools and a few neighborhood schools in affluent neighborhoods.”

    There’s much more than meets the eye than looking at test scores.
    It’s much easier to look like education is “good” when your incoming students score in top 5% in the city. (and vice versa.)

  • 629. IL Taxpayer  |  February 27, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    @628 Gee whillikers, aren’t teachers supposed to, you know, TEACH and get results? Or is it juuuuust tooo haaarrrd … ?

  • 630. cpsobsessed  |  February 27, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    Try to find an example of a low-income urban school district where test scores are high. Student demographics matter (ie. Tier system if you are familiar with that.) Statistically not ALL teachers in these situations can be “bad” teachers. Or Google “achievement gap.”

    I had the same reaction you did when I was new to all of this.

  • 631. IL Taxpayer  |  February 27, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    @630 Then why do Catholic elementary schools consistently score higher than their Public School counterpart when they serve the same demographic?

  • 632. cpsobsessed  |  February 27, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    That’s a very valid question. I’m not aware of Catholic school test scores, but unless the entire population of the school is attending for free (which would be great) you have an income bias.

    There also tends to be a selection bias (parents who care/have the means/motivation) to send their kids to private school, charter school, magnet schools are probably more likely to monitor homework, focus on the kids, etc etc. All that is needed to help kids excel. Which is why neighborhood schools in the “worst” areas have the worst scores of all. You’re left with the kids who are the hardest to educate, no matter what. These neighborhoods need a ton of services beyond teachers to help the kids excel. It’s a huge huge obstacle, unfortunately.

    Conversely, unions likely foster(ed) some level of complacency over time that can affect certain teachers. I certainly saw that at a neighborhood school before parents got involved in the LSC, put pressure on the admin and teachers to step things up. So I have gone through a range of sentiment about CPS, unions since I first started looking at how the system works. It’s a mixed bag of success, for sure.

  • 633. CLB  |  February 27, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    @627 The assertion that pensions are “lavish” generally is not supported by the evidence, at least for teacher salaries. In TRS, the weighted average for monthly benefits is $4,396. Hardly lavish considering this is their primary retirement income. All those earning more than this have 30+ years of service. Some over 50 years. The pension funds are costing the state more $ because the state failed to pay into the funds when it should have. It is not lavish benefits but deferred payments that are incurring a high cost on the state. The employer normal cost for FY15 under $1b, but because of the deferred payments the cost to pay down the unfunded liability was $3.5b. So that’s over $2.5b due to under-contribution by the state over the years.

    Everyone citing the low quality of education cites average test scores and rarely ever provide median or modal test scores. If a teacher has students that score at the low end and at the high end, how can we attribute the score distribution to the quality of teaching? The “bad” teacher had students who scored very well, and the “good” teacher had students who scored very low. It is special pleading to argue that even good teachers have bad students but to to treat bad students as the fault of a bad teacher.

    It is like comparing two car dealers by the average value of their annual sales, where one dealer sells new luxury cars in a wealthy community and the other sells used economy cars in a poor community. The latter dealer may be a much better salesman but we won’t know it by comparing average sale prices. Why do we use average test scores then? Because it’s cheap to do so. A serious analysis would be very expensive to do, and no one wants to pay for that.

  • 634. CLB  |  February 27, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    Comparing Catholic school scores to public school scores without adjusting for other factors, like different demographics and the fact that parochial schools can select which students to admit, produces statistical bias in the results. Ideally, we could see what happens if students were randomly assigned to a public or Catholic school, but the best alternative is propensity matching. When that is done, Catholic schools, at least nationally, don’t fare too well. See

  • 635. Jen  |  February 27, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    @627, I used to teach for CPS. I now teach in a suburb that is generally affluent but I teach in the one pocket of that burb where 75% of our families are at or below the poverty line. Part of the reason why students don’t perform highly from lower income CPS schools is that CPS schools do not provide a reasonable amount of support. By that, I mean, they don’t provide small enough class sizes to ensure enough small group support within the regular classroom. Very few have even one reading specialist, when given the needs of the school they likely truly need 3-4 RS’s. I could go on. The other reason is that even when a teacher can catch kids up, meaning providing instruction that ensures more than a year’s worth of growth in one year, the kids are not getting what they need at home to maintain that growth over time. The sheer lack of vocabulary exposure is one that schools can and do combat, but there are limitations.
    When kids arrive in kindergarten and don’t recognize their name when they are verbally called, let alone don’t recognize their name in print its a huge disadvantage. Huge. When they have never counted money at home, their 1st grade teacher is going to have trouble since there’s no background. When they have had zero exposure with 25% of the vocabulary in a text in 4th grade, they may be able to decode, but they are going to need triple the amount of time and all kinds of hands on experiences to “get” the meaning. CPS schools don’t have the capacity to meet that amount of need. Not many schools do.

    My current school is very, very good. I have a student who came from a school district much like CPS. She was 3 years behind in reading when she arrived. We’ve been able, without an IEP, to provide her with one on one help for 2 hours a day. Yes, that is for real. We have 2 additional teachers on top of her classroom teacher, one aide and one volunteer working with her. When I taught in CPS, a child like this would be reliant solely on the classroom teacher to give her maybe an extra 15 minutes a day of one on one help while the rest of the kids did independent work. At that was a GOOD neighborhood school. We can offer what we offer at my current suburban school because of a tremendous volunteer base, a wealth of aides and a wealth of resource teachers. CPS simply doesn’t have this kind of support and never has, not even the best schools in the system.

    627, you think you know what you are talking about but you don’t. Its that simple.

  • 636. Vet Teacher  |  February 27, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    Wow. Kudos to the board! I am grateful for the last 6 or 7 posts. The truth has now been stated.

    Very well-reasoned. I can now engage in a serious adult discussion with cpso, clb,Good post IL taxpayer. Jen has never been an issue. Tone is still a major problem.

    I am willing to accept a complete freeze on wages for four years, a 10% increase on healthcare per year (40% total), no lanes until next contract and steps=1 year for every two years. The pension-pick-up stays. No poison pills. Considering cost-of-living, breakeven at best!

    Here’s the rationale: Don’t trust Rahm. IMO, he will strip pension-pick-up and then rescind raises. He rescinded raise in 2011.

    I think this is generous; vet teacher is reasonable, just demands respect from taxpayers. I am a taxpayer too.

    Very proud of the board today!

  • 637. IL Taxpayer  |  February 27, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    @627 United Airlines, Enron and GM also lost their pensions. It sucks, to be sure, but unfortunately if you don’t diversity your retirement it’s pretty much T.S. if the horse you bet everything on dies before it gets to the finish line. In the private sector, hundreds of millions of people had money in 401 (k)s that were severely diminished during the Great Recession, yet we couldn’t demand that Springfield go ask our friends and neighbors to cover OUR losses.

    @635 … and raising taxes would not solve ANY of these problems at CPS. CPS has reduced enrollment since the last strike, schools have had to close, which would supposedly reduce overhead, yet taxes are expecting to go up to accommodate the demands of the Chicago Teachers Union. Sorry, but given these facts, it’s outrageous that the CTU is asking for more money.

  • 638. Vet Teacher  |  February 27, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Apples and oranges. Poor parents can’t afford Catholic school; wealthier minorities can. In addition, they can accept and remove students much more easily. Focus on wealth: a much more important determinant than race. Special ed populations are much more prevalent in neighborhood schools.

  • 639. Jen  |  February 27, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    I was recalling a memory of my grandfather, back in the day. He worked for a big union manufacturing company. At the very end of his career, something happened and the whole retirement system pretty much collapsed. He was forced to live on the little savings he had and social security. It was a terrible blow and he would have had a decent retirement otherwise. As it stood, he only shopped at places like Aldi’s, barely held onto his Stickney home, which needed massive work and never bought any new clothes as long as I knew him. He didn’t take vacations, didn’t do much of anything fun, though I do remember he took me and a cousin to the movies once and we brought our own popcorn in paper shopping bags when they still let you do that.
    This has been on my mind a lot lately.

  • 640. Vet Teacher  |  February 27, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    No worries. The govt isn’t a private business. The US govt can print money and Hillary loves Rahm. Hillary is from Chicago.

  • 641. Parent and Taxpayer  |  February 28, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    I’ll throw out something that is logical but likely heretical here. I believe it is in the best interests of not only the city but also current teachers if there is a BK filing in 2017 once the proceeds of the last debt offering are consumed. My reasoning for this is as follows. First, this would likely result in a tax increase that would improve pension coffers. Second, bondholders would be hit far harder than pensions. Third, any pension hit would also hit current pensioners, meaning that a larger portion of the pension coffers would be available to current teachers, since the funds would not be as depleted once they started to claim. Fourth, current teachers would get clarity on where things stand; if I was a teacher I would be scared and maxing a 403b account in addition to the pension because I would have no confidence in the latter. It is valuable to get clarity. Fifth and most importantly, the financial health of CPS and Chicago (although CPS is first) is so far beyond repair that a restructuring is inevitable. It keeps getting kicked down the road, and perhaps that will be the case until RE is out of office. However, each year that it is put off makes the situation more dire and the inevitable outcome worse.

  • 642. cpsobsessed  |  February 28, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    Interesting NYTimes article about the challenge of being a “hero” teacher in a tough inner city high school and how teachers aren’t trained in classroom management.

  • 643. Vet Teacher  |  February 28, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    Lots of heros. I have seen many in my career. No BK until Republican super majority. Well-reasoned argument by Parent and Taxpayer but Rahm won’t allow it. Tell you what. If the TRS is 42% funded, and are 53 billion in unfunded liability, maybe the downstate districts should go BK first. The CTPF is 52.5% funded. Minorities are in CPS?

  • 644. CLB  |  February 28, 2016 at 6:52 pm

    @641 The only reason to declare to bankruptcy is to force a reduction of the pension liability. Pension payments are much more than debt service payments.

    By 2044, CPS will have paid off all its outstanding non-pension debt, for a total cost of $13.2 billion, under current assumptions. In the same year, it will have paid $28.8 billion into the pension fund, just to bring it to 70% funded, under similar assumptions. It will need another $20 billion over a further 15 years to bring the funding level to 90%.

    This is the consequence of not paying into the pension fund when it should have.

  • 645. Parent and Taxpayer  |  February 29, 2016 at 8:51 am

    @644: I haven’t seen the breakdown. I know pension debt is larger than non-pension, but I also know CPS has been operating at a $1B annual structural deficit inclusive of current pension payment assumptions, meaning that the deficit and thus debt is significantly larger than just pension. I suspect it will be impossible or next to impossible to plan for capital improvements anywhere without access to the capital markets, and CPS lost this access in the last bond offering. I would also caution you on CPS — and yes, by extension TRS – percentage funded calculations. These are actuarial models at the end of a bull market that are dependent on rate of return assumptions and mortality tables. Actuaries that make favorable assumptions (i.e. increased rate of return or dated mortality models) get repeat business. Food for thought.

  • 646. CLB  |  February 29, 2016 at 10:24 am

    @645 The annual employer pension payment (paid June 2016) and the calendar 2016 deb service total over $1.1 billion.

    The actuarial firm warns CTPF every year: “The methods mandated by the Illinois Pension Code are inadequate to appropriately fund CTPF.”

  • 647. Parent and Taxpayer  |  February 29, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    @646. Not surprising. Do you know the breakdown between? @Vet teacher, the reason that I suspect CPS is first is that they can no longer access the capital markets. I’d be happy to be wrong, but I suspect that 1.) you’ll need continual capital improvements especially given such old infrastructure, and 2.) it is not possible to do them on a current basis.

    The following article details the actuarial and legal challenges facing Detroit. It is interesting and relevant

  • 648. Vet Teacher  |  February 29, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    State will combine the TRS and CTPF. Rahm has already floated the plan. How the pension s will be altered is an open question. Probably
    choose COLA and freeze or salary minus COLA. Lawsuits will abound.

  • 649. Parent and Taxpayer  |  February 29, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    @ Vet Teacher, I don’t know what the path will be, but I do agree with your last sentence. They will not be limited to pensioners either. They will come in many directions from all sides.

  • 650. Vet Teacher  |  February 29, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    Don’t say I didn’t warn you:

  • 651. cpsobsessed  |  February 29, 2016 at 11:18 pm

    Strike may be on the horizon…

  • 652. Vet Teacher  |  February 29, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    Have any of you asked:

    Why does CPS want to give teachers a 13.5% increase and only take away a 7% pick-up?

    Why not just freeze the salaries and allow the 7% pick-up to remain?

    They will rescind the raises! Bad-faith bargaining. See ya all on the streets!

  • 653. robin in wrp  |  March 1, 2016 at 7:15 am

    CTU is saying April 1

  • 654. Its about the kids  |  March 1, 2016 at 11:55 am

    I hope they don’t strike in April as the students will be the ones paying the price with less time to learn before standardized testing (ISAT, MAP, and AP testing for high school)!

  • 655. CLB  |  March 1, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    @653 That presumes that the IELRB agrees that dropping the pension pickup constitutes an unfair labor practice. The reporting on this is not very clear because each side is putting forth the most favorable interpretation of labor law to their side as a fact.

  • 656. CLB  |  March 1, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    @652 Swapping the 7% pick-up for offsetting salary increases would make sense because the 7% pickup becomes a cudgel against CTU in hard times — witness the current debate — and because it makes any raises more expensive to CPS (the raise amount plus 7% of the raise amount in addition to the employer share of the raise amount).

    The trouble is that CPS wanted to front-load the 7% pickup and back-load the off-setting salary increase. So, as you point out, CPS could well have turned around in three years (after which the pickup was gone) and refused to boost the salaries to complete the offset.

    The answer is to simultaneously offset the pickup reversal with salary increases and condition the pickup reversal on the increases. It seems that CPS was unwilling to make such a commitment and thereby made the agreement incredible, as in lacking credibility, to CTU. Add on the excess retirement condition and it looked like a train-wreck. Clawback clauses are essential to any sensible deal.

  • 657. Jen  |  March 1, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    Strike on Monday? Wow. City schools already have a 3-4 week disadvantage because they start much later than suburban schools do. A strike before testing, SAT/ACT, NWEA, etc, is just going to put everyone that much further behind, not to mention the lost days in having to re-set the expectations and get everyone back in the groove again.

    @648, I doubt it. TRS teachers would organize and fight any combination with CTPF. We don’t want any connection to Chicago, no offense.

  • 658. Vet Teacher  |  March 1, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    You owe 1/2 the state’s pension liability: 53 BILLION. TRS is 42% funded;:CTPF 52.5%.

    I don’t want to co-mingle with TRS. However, IF and only IF the funding formula is equalized, will CTPF even consider it!

    Too funny!

    BTW, TRS has proposed it a few times without the funding formula not included and CTPF laughed TRS out of the room.


  • 659. Patricia  |  March 1, 2016 at 10:45 pm

    An April 1st strike? Wow, horrible for students. It is just before the end of Q3 and beginning of Q4, so half the year gets thrown in limbo. This is especially awful for High School students and may jeopardize graduation, jobs and throw the cycle to graduation out of wack. Also AP testing is the first two weeks of May as well as ACT. April is a critical month as noted above since CPS starts school after Labor Day (which I personally like, but having a HS student, I realize the pressure it puts on AP). Not to mention sports get halted which will impact eligibility for state and may squash college scholarship potential. HS students get really screwed with an April strike. I hope something gets resolved.

  • 660. IL Taxpayer  |  March 2, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    @660 “I hope something gets resolved.”

    a. It won’t
    b. CTU leadership doesn’t really care if it impacts the kids or anyone else outside the Union.

  • 661. Vet Teacher  |  March 2, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    Since it effects MY salary, I fully support the CTU leadership. When it effects your salary, then your opinion will matter.

  • 662. Chris  |  March 2, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    “when it effects your salary”

    It affects our “take home pay”, just like the pension pickup issue affects yours.

    BTW, nice use of effect there (twice!), superstar English teacher.

  • 663. IL Taxpayer  |  March 2, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    @661 You need to re-read the story about the Goose that laid the Golden Eggs…

  • 664. robin in wrp  |  March 2, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    I wonder how the majority of posters to this thread would feel if offered a paycut at your current job…

  • 665. No More Pension for Me  |  March 2, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    In the corporate world, everyone used to get a pension that was paid for by the employer. Now virtually nobody gets a pension. We ALL got pay cuts. We now pay our own retirement fund. I’m not saying anyone was happy about it, but that’s what happened to the majority of Americans. Oh, and many haven’t gotten raises during the recession either. So……..

  • 666. Vet Teacher  |  March 2, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    Did it have the desired “affect?”

  • 667. mom2  |  March 2, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    What about spring MAP testing. When is that? Will the strike impact that, too? 7th graders!

  • 668. IL Taxpayer  |  March 2, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    @664 Many of us HAVE had our pay cut, as well as having to assume the work of other employees who were laid off. When your options are a) Take a pay cut, or b) Lose your job, most of us will pick option a.

    Was it fun? No. Unfortunately, though, those were the scenarios presented to us by the leadership of our company, based on the financials at that time.

    Why should CTU feel an absolute entitlement to pay raises, pension pick-ups etc. when CPS as a corporation is BILLIONS in debt? In the private sector, when a company is that far deep in the red, they close.

  • 669. Vet Teacher  |  March 2, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    Rauner forces Claypool to keep three underperforming charter schools open! Yet 50 CPS public schools were closed.

    See ya on the streets!

  • 670. Vet Teacher  |  March 2, 2016 at 5:45 pm


    I am a pe teacher. Maybe I did it on purpose to git Chris to post. Did it have the desired “affect “?

  • 671. Vetteacher  |  March 2, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    CTU bargaining team was BRILLIANT not to agree to that contract: State charter commission showed their stripes by not closing 3 under-performing charter schools. Nobody stepped in when 50 PUBLIC schools were closed! LOL.

    And CPS wanted CTU to accept their hard cap on limiting charter schools in the contract offer. What a joke!

  • 672. Vetteacher  |  March 2, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    This teacher encapsulates the issue perfectly:

  • 673. Chris  |  March 3, 2016 at 10:54 am

    “State charter commission showed their stripes by not closing 3 under-performing charter schools”

    1. That was a ridiculous, unsupported, decision.
    2. At least 90% politics, likely at the urging of the Guv.
    3. I’m about ready to give up on this state; where should I move?

  • 674. Danaidh  |  March 3, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    @665 No More Pension for Me
    You may not have an employer-paid pension, but I’m guessing both you and your employer make contributions to the Social Security fund on your behalf.

    Teachers and other public employees in Illinois, by law, do not pay into Social Security, nor will we receive it. (We do pay Medicare, however.)

    The pension isn’t an option for school boards in Illinois, but a legal obligation.

    “Oh, and many haven’t gotten raises during the recession either.”

    The last recession ended in June 2009, nearly seven years ago.

  • 675. Vetteacher  |  March 3, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    Here we go! Good for Chris. He recognizes the game being played. April 1st. Three furlough days +7%.

    Decline of America will accelerate rapidly. If you think charters will help American education, you are sorely mistaken. I know a student who has had 5 math teachers this year.

    Watch the university ed programs disintegrate.

    Teacher shortages will abound. This is just the beginning.

    I told you to get childcare a number of times.

    The brain drain is going to be breathtaking.

    Taxpayers are going to get their edumication the deserve.

  • 676. concerned citizen  |  March 4, 2016 at 8:38 am

    @673 – Chris – I work for a company very close to one of the schools. Although it’s unsurprisingly “under performing”, it’s in a tough location and serves the population well. It is the school of choice for the area and is not underutilized. Our company supports the school because these kids literally have no place else to go. The community fought to keep the school open.

  • 677. cpsobsessed  |  March 4, 2016 at 10:50 am

    “Taxpayers are going to get their edumication the deserve.”

    that is very true. We don’t fund education, we won’t have well educated citizens. This hurts us all.

  • 678. IL Taxpayer  |  March 4, 2016 at 11:16 am

    @677 This is NOT funding education. Not a dime of the tax increase will make it in to the classroom but to cover CPS raises and pensions.

  • 679. cpsobsessed  |  March 4, 2016 at 11:28 am

    I get your point. I was commenting on the state of education funding in general (not having read all of VT’s posts in detail.)

    I believe that even without the pension pickup, Chicago will still offer some of the best-compensated teaching positions (outside of wealthy suburbs.) However to VT’s point, it doesn’t help attract highly educated/intelligent people to the profession if teacher pay is lousy.

    I think in the ideal world, we’d all like to see teachers across the country compensated well. The issue is that we are in a farrrr from ideal world.

  • 680. cpsobsessed  |  March 4, 2016 at 11:29 am

    “Lousy” being highly subjective, of course.

  • 681. tier3exhaustedmom  |  March 4, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    so march 25th will now be a day off and the teachers will start striking april 1?
    just trying to keep up and make plans.

  • 682. Patricia  |  March 4, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    The ebb and flow of negotiations continue.

  • 683. Vet Teacher  |  March 5, 2016 at 8:23 am

    Don’t like three furlough days, but can live with it.( Teacher sacrifice). Pension-pick-up? See you on the streets!

    That ends the teacher part of the sacrifice. I want those days permanently removed from the calendar moving forward.

  • 684. cpsobsessed  |  March 5, 2016 at 9:53 am

    I hadn’t realized that cps added 10 says to the school calendar this year. How did that work with compensation?

  • 685. Danaidh  |  March 6, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    CPS didn’t add days. The school year started with the same 208-day calendar we’ve had for several years now:
    178 days of student attendance
    10 days vacation (1 week at Christmas; 1 week in Spring)
    8 holidays
    7 teacher meeting days
    3 flex days for teachers
    2 report card pickup/conference days

    The furlough days reduce the year to 205 days, including 1 day of student attendance (but still meeting state minimum requirements) and 2 days of staff development.

    The kids weren’t coming on Good Friday, anyway. It was idiotic for CPS to schedule school on that day.

  • 686. Tone  |  March 7, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    CPS is insolvent. Time for municipal bankruptcy in Illinois.

  • 687. WesLooMom  |  March 7, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    @685, To my knowledge, there were plenty of kids going to school on Good Friday. Not everyone has GF off or takes it as a religious holiday.

  • 688. Vet Teacher  |  March 7, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    Rahm lengthened the school year and school day in 2011-12. He stripped Pulaski and one President’s day. He gave us a furlough day the Wed. before Thanksgiving. Look at a 2010 CPS calendar and compare it to 2015-16 . We started EXACTLY the same time in August and our school year ended on 6/17. It now ends 6/23. All he is doing now is stripping the pay for the lengthened year. What a shock! Taxpayers are just lucky Clayfool rescinded the 7% cut. Now the chirren will get their standardized tests before he strips it in late May. Good for me. I am in the 4th year of my highest pensionable 4 of my last ten years. Once that 7% goes away, pensionable income will drop by 7% for all veteran teachers. That is why CPS wants it gone so badly, and why teachers want to strike over it.

  • 689. Jen K  |  March 8, 2016 at 6:49 am

    @685/7 when Spring Break was the week after Easter, I think many families took GF off to get a jump on vacation. Christian or not…they were getting to Disney on a cheaper flight!

  • 690. Tone  |  March 8, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    678. IL Taxpayer | March 4, 2016 at 11:16 am

    @677 This is NOT funding education. Not a dime of the tax increase will make it in to the classroom but to cover CPS raises and pensions.

    Exactly, and just how much more than $15,000/student do we need to spend?

  • 692. Tone  |  March 9, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    CTU really has students at heart.

  • 693. CarolA  |  March 9, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    Hate to say it, but the CTU is just downright crazy for that idea. Of course people will think we are only about ourselves and not the kids. I don’t care how many times they say it’s about better services to the students…..leaving them stranded for a minute let alone a day is not professional. There are other ways to bring attention to this major problem, but walking out on students is not one of them!

  • 694. Vet Teacher  |  March 9, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    You public-sector welfare recipients sure have an inflated sense of your importance in this matter. Plan for childcare for April 1. It was nice of Karen Lewis to give you a month’s notice. Very magnanimous of her. Beyond that, I couldn’t give a damn what taxpayers think. Luckily Clayfool backed off his 7% cut; otherwise, you’d be getting long-term childcare.

  • 695. Michi  |  March 10, 2016 at 1:06 am

    So this looks like the end for us and Chicago. We’ve tried, we’ve believed, my child was so excited for high school next year. But given what we’re seeing, it will be a shell of what it was, and I just can’t in good conscience sacrifice her future for this fight.

    There’s enough blame to go around, Daley giving raises he never intended to pay for instead of facing strikes. Corrupt administrators, incompetent administrators. CTU not understanding the world has changed in 40 years and they have to makes some changes too. And the state and their inability to find a budget and fighting to maintain a system that underfunds CPS to begin with. Heck I’m even hearing some Republicans calling for Rauner to just cut a deal already!

    But in the end, sadly, none of it will matter. I have a tour of Evanston high school scheduled. I know others will be joining me. Rents are higher and so are the taxes but the education for the average kid is also better than what a bankrupted CPS will be able to put up.

    And the city will once again be bifurcated into those wealthy enough to pay for private schooling and those too poor to be able to leave. The city will lose the stability of a full wage base that it was fighting so hard to obtain & maintain. A very sad time indeed but this is clearly the reality we’re in.

  • 696. momof2nwside  |  March 10, 2016 at 7:56 am

    Michi@694- I think you summarized the issues/ blame perfectly here. As long as people continue to try to blame this on one group (Rauner, Rahm, CTU, etc) we are never going to get to solutions- and as a parent of 2 kids in CPS this is becoming more and more concerning. I agree that others will mirror your actions and say enough- time for the suburbs, private, charters, etc.

  • 697. Local Parent  |  March 10, 2016 at 9:52 am

    The suburbs are not an option for my family, and unfortunately, neither is CPS. I live in Beverly, and there is an outflow of students from Sutherland (our local school) due to the school being filthy, cutbacks in the overall budget and all of this strike B.S. Even though we live in an area with a “great” public school, simply put, we can’t count on CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union to do their job of educating our kids. Too much uncertainty, too much jerking the kids around.

    Many families in our neighborhood are leaving Sutherland; It has gotten so bad that our local Catholic school, St Barnabas, is at capacity and is no longer taking kids from outside of the parish boundaries.

    What a shame.

  • 698. Tone  |  March 10, 2016 at 10:13 am

    Michi is probably right. We will likely see another large decrease in the CPS student body. CPS lost 4000 kids this year from last. I imagine it will be similar in the Fall. More schools will be closed, more teachers laid off.

  • 699. Jen  |  March 10, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    Detroit public schools are saying they will have to shut down as of April 8th if a bail out doesn’t come. There is no more money to pay payroll after that. Looks like 6 months and no school in that city. I am worried Chicago is headed that way.

  • 700. Vet Teacher  |  March 10, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    Very adult decision. Best of luck in Evanston. Enjoy the taxes.

    Detroit is a big Gary. It is not Chicago. Snyder will find the money. He could use all the money he saved poisoning the citizens of Flint.

    I respect all citizens of Chicago who choose to move. Sell your homes to all the executives that are coming with their national headquarters migrating to Chicago.

    That is progress. Take Tone with you, please.

    For those who are staying, book your childcare now. Cancel your vacation plans now; still time for a refund.

  • 701. Tone  |  March 14, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    It’s wonderful that CPS parents and taxpayers can witness the attitude of CTU and Karen Lewis here.

  • 702. CLB  |  March 14, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    CPS has already shrunk personnel. In FY06, there were 28,934 teachers. In FY16, there were 20,760; in FY06 there were 17,277 educ. support personnel; in FY16, there were 10,100, according to CPS budget docs. This is why teacher salary costs are actually lower today that they were five years ago. There is only so much to cut before you reach bone.

  • 703. observer  |  March 14, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    @702 – I don’t understand your analogy. Aren’t there also fewer children in CPS now vs 2006?

  • 704. WesLooMom  |  March 14, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    If fed-up parents leave for the burbs and sell their homes to executives, CPS/CTU will not be better off. The executives will send their kids to private school.

  • 705. Chris  |  March 15, 2016 at 11:45 am

    @703: “Aren’t there also fewer children in CPS now vs 2006?”

    There were 420,982 CPS students in FY-06; and 392,285 in FY-16. So the decrease is about 6.8%, but an almost 30% drop in teachers.

    Using CLB’s numbers and 20th day count:

    FY-06: 14.55 students per teachers; 24.37 students per Ed Sup Pro
    FY-16: 18.90 students per teachers; 38.84 students per Ed Sup Pro

    @CLB: Are you accounting for the increase in Charter School headcount somehow?

    FY-06: 405,509 in regular; 15,416 in charter
    FY-16: 336,138 in regular; 56,147 in charter

    *SO*, if that is just the non-charter professionals headcount, then the ratios are:

    FY-06: 14.01 students per teachers; 24.47 students per Ed Sup Pro
    FY-16: 16.19 students per teachers; 33.28 students per Ed Sup Pro

    So, still really substantial reductions, but less so that if those employee counts include charter schools.

  • 706. newtoCPS  |  March 15, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    @WesLooMom, I think Vet was referring to the new executives ability to pay increased taxes, not the quality or quantity of CPS students. Except for a few high profile companies that have benefited from incentives (ie, Google and Boeing), businesses are leaving Chicago in droves and it will only get worse once taxes are again raised. Soaking the upper incomes with a graduated state income tax will only work temporarily as that class is mobile and Illinois is not California and Illinois already has the 2nd highest effective property tax rate in the country. Also, I don’t think voters would take kindly to a new property tax increase coming on the heels of a massive one this year. Any such increase would be political suicide and only last until the next election. This blog is just depressing, such a lack of constructive dialogue on how to fix this mess. The pro-CTU posters just say raise taxes, but fail to explain how much taxes would need to be raised, the likelihood and the political fall-out for doing so, and the effect that raising taxes would have on out of Illinois migration patterns (the state is seeing increasing outflows and is consistently ranked as one of the worst in the country for businesses) which would counteract the effect of raising taxes in the first place. The anti-CTU posters just say declare bankruptcy and wipe out the pensions without commenting on the legal difficulties of doing so and acknowledging that historically pensions fare much better than general obligations in a bankruptcy, although how they fare is very much determined on a case by case basis. Pointing to Detroit or any other case as a yardstick is just wrong. You need to look at the liabilities and revenue on a case by case basis. I have been a professional in multiple high profile bankruptcy cases, and believe me, it should be avoided if at all humanly possible as the range of outcomes for stakeholders is enormous. The law firms and professionals soak up so much money in fees that everyone is almost always worse off at the end of the process. I really hope that the CTU is just posturing in its negotiations and has a reality check because if this mess is going to get fixed, both sides need to see the reality of the situation.

  • 707. newtoCPS  |  March 15, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    and on the CPS side, don’t play games and think you can fool the CTU into taking concessions that can be easily rescinded down the line. We need an adult conversation between the two parties.

  • 708. CLB  |  March 15, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    @705 The counts do not include charter schools because the charters or their operators actually employee the teachers, not CPS. I don’t know if that data is centralized or whether you have to go through annual report from each school to find charter teacher numbers.

    There’s a belief that personnel costs in the former of teacher salaries are driving up CPS spending but in fact CPS has reduced salary expenses due to layoffs and attrition. Between FY2011 and FY2016, teacher salary costs dropped over $88 million, or 4.3%.

  • 709. Tone  |  March 15, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    CPS faces a $1 Billion deficit next year. It can’t borrow more money. And it has negative net assets on its balance sheet.

    It is insolvent. But Bernie is siding with Karen Lewis.

  • 710. Parent and Taxpayer  |  March 15, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    @707, yes bankruptcy is difficult — and I’ve had companies go through it too — but given the balance sheet and structural deficit I think it is the best alternative, both for the teachers and more importantly, the children. It is too far gone. I’d be thrilled if you could point me to a school system that navigated more challenging — and please quantify them — financial challenges without it.

  • 711. Fam  |  March 17, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    Has anyone heard that CPS will cancel spring break this year?

  • 712. Wondering  |  March 17, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    @711–to what end? To end the year early in anticipation of a strike? Teachers don’t get paid for spring break. Have you really heard this?

  • 713. HSObsessed  |  March 17, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    I haven’t heard anything about spring break being cancelled.

    CPS sent a letter to parents yesterday advising that the teachers union will vote on March 23rd on whether they will hold their one-day strike on April 1st. CPS officials described this as an illegal action, but nevertheless advised parents to start thinking about their childcare options for that day.

  • 714. Danaidh  |  March 17, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    Actually, teachers and school personnel DO get paid for spring break–it’s one of two weeks’ vacation. (Summer is not a vacation, simply unpaid. Ditto for the week following Christmas.)

    AFAIK, the main reason to cancel spring break is when schools have missed so many days of student attendance (snow days, strikes, etc.) that they will not otherwise fit in the required number of days of instruction before June 30th. That is not the case in CPS.

    It’s not that it’s impossible, but highly unlikely.

  • 715. Fam  |  March 18, 2016 at 5:32 am

    A student who attends a CPS high school told me that an adult who is leading a college tour during spring break said that the tour may be cancelled–because CPS may cancel spring break.

  • 716. CLB  |  March 18, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    @715 I would not worry about rumors at this point. If I had a $ for all the rumors about what CPS was going to do, I could afford Parker.

  • 717. cpsobsessed  |  March 20, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    Just speculation, I think the CTU forcing spring break to be cancelled would foster some serious negative feelings among parents.

    I do really wish that the entire school system (city, students, parents, heck… even corporate staff) could walk out together to protest the sorry state of our school funding.

    Having parents protest on April 1 implies that the entire student body/families support the CTUs current demands — which is a difficult stake to put in the ground.

  • 718. cpsobsessed  |  March 20, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    I read this article the other day. I copied an interesting portion below that talks about how the change in population and longevity has made it numerically impossible to support these pensions.
    Now that I think about it, public pensions are kind of like a Ponzi-style scheme that has run out of new investors to fund the returns.

    Study Finds Public Pension Promises Exceed Ability to Pay

    Mary Williams Walsh
    Friday, 18 Mar 2016 | 7:15 AM ET

    Most developed countries had baby booms after World War II, and their populations are now aging and enjoying significant gains in health and longevity. When the boomers first joined the work force, they provided a big supply of labor to support what was then a much smaller population of retirees drawing pensions. Those favorable demographics made it seem that government pension systems could operate forever with minimal funding — or in many cases, no funding at all.

    Now that is changing as populations age in many places, and the Citigroup report said the numbers no longer work. More and more retirees are receiving benefit payments every month, straining retirement systems even when the individual amounts paid are modest. And now there are relatively fewer younger workers generating the revenue that is supposed to support those systems.

  • 719. michele  |  March 20, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    Is it possible Millennials will save us all? I thought I just read Millennials are a larger group than the Boomers? The one thing that I believe separates all of us from the Generation that gave birth to the Baby Boomers is now there is much less a sense of sacrifice for the common good. As I was recently looking at my Aunt’s rationing books from WW2 I wondered how many of today’s families would ration their meat, gas, and other products like nylon/rubber for the common cause? I am sure Boomers were and will continue to be large contributors to SSI as will the Millennials – but the difference is in the the perception of shared sacrifice. One generation thought they could always do more, and another generation thinks we have done enough. Just a different perspective.

  • 720. harry potter  |  March 20, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    What would be the benefit to cancelling spring break?

  • 721. AF at CPS  |  March 20, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    As a CPS teacher I have not hear ANYTHING about cancelling spring break. Why would anyone want this?

  • 722. Chicago Dad  |  March 21, 2016 at 7:24 am

    @cpsobsessed—-the entire country is facing a “perfect storm” of problems relating to public sector pensions, you mentioned one of them——-the large number of boomers retiring and the small number of new taxpayers to pay into the funds.

    Add in these other factors—-

    —retirees are living much longer than ever. This means much more to be paid out than thought. In addition, their medical bills skyrocket.

    —–interest rates are stuck at near zero levels. This makes it impossible for the money put aside for pensions to compound, as it used to do in the past.

    —-public sector union contract negotiation is inherently corrupt, giving public sector unions much higher pay and benefits than is optimal for society. See post 197 on this thread.

  • 723. HSObsessed  |  March 21, 2016 at 10:53 am

    I agree that pension systems are Ponzi-like schemes, and I agree with Chicago Dad @722 and @197 about the inherent problem with public sector unions. In the case of the teachers, police and firemen, Rich Daley gave them pretty much every single demand they made, starting in the early 1990s, for the next 15 years or so, in order to avoid strikes, in order to get votes. Those were boom times in the general economy, though, and so maybe the rates and structures agreed upon for the salaries and pensions seemed sustainable, but it certainly set up the city’s taxpayers for the horrible situation we’re in now.

  • 724. Chris  |  March 21, 2016 at 11:43 am

    ” maybe the rates and structures agreed upon for the salaries and pensions seemed sustainable”

    Lil Richie didn’t care. He would have done it anyway, even if the numbers didn’t work then.

    Never forget that he sold the parking meters (at a well over 10% rate of return) to patch some budget holes and avoid a tax increase. He was as anti-tax as any republican.

  • 725. HSObsessed  |  March 21, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    @724 – Oh, believe me, I haven’t forgotten about the parking meter lease deal, given that urban planning is another area of interest of mine. Yeah, I was a fan of Daley’s until I found out he had built a house of cards.

  • 726. Tone  |  March 21, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    The sooner CPS is allowed to BK reorganization, the better off we will all be.

  • 727. Chris  |  March 22, 2016 at 10:06 am

    “a fan of Daley’s until I found out he had built a house of cards”

    The bloom was fully off the rose (for me) when the Soldier Field plans were announced. For what we (yes, we, city taxpayers, not the Bears) are paying for that reno, we (the city) could have built a retractable roof stadium that would have been used 100 times a year, rather than what we got.

    All because the Bears said “we won’t have our team play on anything but natural grass”. Should have let them move to the burbs.

  • 728. close observer  |  March 22, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    As I read these last few threads, it’s obvious that corporate America is winning the messaging war. If CPS had not skipped payments to the pension fund, it would be over 80% funded. Any short-comings are not the fault of the teachers. Plus, reports from places like CitiGroup on public pensions are a joke. These are the same people who rip you off, and then complain that their taxes are too high. Go to Indiana where taxes are lower and watch the companies there leave to Mexico. Wake up! . You live in a plutocracy, not a democracy.

  • 729. Tone  |  March 23, 2016 at 11:18 am

    We live in a Republic, not a democracy.

  • 730. parent  |  March 23, 2016 at 11:50 am

    @728 … And why did CTU approve the pension holidays? So the teachers could get big raises! (which then makes the pension problem even worse!)

    *wake up*

    Plenty of blame all around.

  • 731. Chris  |  March 23, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    “And why did CTU approve the pension holidays?”

    Someone would likely note (correctly) that CTU didn’t have approval rights.

    The better question is: Why weren’t they making a stink about it? Would have been easy, right? Media always looking for a story, no?

    Answer: their pensions are protected by the IL Constitution, so they didn’t actually care. City would have to make up the deficit eventually, so why rock the Mayor Daley boat?

  • 732. mom2  |  March 23, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    When are they voting on/deciding on the walk out for April 1st? Trying to make plans.

  • 733. Chris  |  March 23, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    “When are they voting on/deciding on the walk out for April 1st?”

    I really enjoy that they asked for it to be a furlough day, so that it isn’t *actually* a strike, just a day off to hold a rally.

    Appears that the delegates are voting on it today, at some point.

  • 734. Patricia  |  March 23, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    FYI–In the Trib, CTU voted to approve walkout April 1st.

  • 735. Yikes!  |  March 23, 2016 at 7:12 pm
    4/1-one day strike
    4/8-no school for students/professional development day for teachers
    4/13 or 4/14–report card pickup
    week of April 18th–spring break

    4 weeks of 4 day school week then off for spring break!

    What a mess!!!

  • 736. AL  |  March 23, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    So what is happening on April 1? Will all the teachers be prevented by their union from showing up to work like during an actual authorized strike, or will it be up to each teacher to decide on whether to walk out or not on his/her kids?

  • 737. mk  |  March 23, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    For the budget problems to be resolved 3 groups need to do something:
    (1) The state needs to fund Chicago Public School students equitably. A student downstate or elsewhere should not get more money than a student in Chicago because of a quirk in the way the law was written
    (2) The city needs to transfer TIF money to Chicago Public Schools. The property tax line of city residents reads that it goes to schools. Sometimes it does. Often it does not. The new development deal proposed at the Lathrup Homes site on Diversey and Damen comes with a TIF that would go to the developer. All property tax proceeds would go to the developer through a TIF…not the schools for…23 years, as written.
    (3) The teachers need to make some reasonable concessions given the situation. The current government inherited these problems; prior administrations have not been making required pension contributions for decades. If (1) and (2) happen and their are other revenue sources other than cutting teacher pay alone, a deal should be accepted.

    Realize: what is at stake here is the future of the teaching profession.
    Do you want teaching to be something that someone could conceivably do for a career, or should it be something like the Peace Corps that one does for a nice experience for a few years before going to graduate school in another field?

    I know that every year I teach I get better. I think as a 23 year old looking at the situation,I would not necessarily have minded option B, the Peace Corps option. But now that I have a student in the system, I want my child’s teacher to have everything he or she needs to do a good job over the long haul.

    Already young teachers tend to leave the profession at a higher rate than other fields. And teaching in Chicago is no easy proposition. Already in Chicago, the situation is much closer to a market economy with schools competing for students. There is a lot of mobility,both with students and teachers.

    Contrast that with many of the suburbs where the only reason teachers leave is for retirement or spousal transfers for work. Since these are communities and most people send their students to the neighborhood schools and since there is so much stability, teachers and programs can establish themselves. Everyone knows what to expect of Mrs. Glover for 6th grade. They know she will be tough. They know she will assign the Egyptian unit project. Students and parents know what to expect and look forward to it. That is a community. In education, stability matters. People pull together. You can find versions of that in the city for sure. We love the elementary we send our daughter too,but it is a cut-throat situation for sure, both for the teachers to keep their jobs, and for the parents to get into selective enrollment, and that undercuts some of the community that is possible with public education.

    Finally, most of the numbers regarding retirements and salaries and triple digits that many talk about on this list are just flat-out wrong. The CPS salary scale does not even go that high for teachers. The idea that teachers make too much money is simply silly. The profession is famously avoided by many because it is too much work for too little pay. Hey guys: don’t become software engineers, teach computer science in CPS, you’ll make more money?!!! Ridiculous. Absurd. I have had three jobs – one in CPS as a math and computer science teacher, one at a community college from 6-9 at night two days a week, and a summer job running the entire summer — just to have a middle class salary and the hope of sending my own kids to college some day.

    I worked in industry as a programmer before becoming an educator,but I found the problems I was working on in industry to be so unimportant compared to what I do as a teacher. I also taught at a university for awhile. I was avoiding K12 education because of its lack of prestige and money. But when I did arrive finally at K-12 with my wife’s encouragement, I found that the emperor had no clothes regarding these other fields in industry and the university. K-12 education was the most important job of the three. And it was certainly challenging although all 3 types of jobs are challenging in different ways. I can say with certainty that I work as hard at my job in K-12 as anyone in any field. This is anecdotal information, as is so much information on this list; one cannot draw a conclusion from just one example, but having worked in these different fields I certainly do not see any difference in the number of top performers or low performers as compared to a corporation: both schools and companies have both.

    It is also a myth that teachers cannot be fired because of the union. Yes, it is more work for the principal to fire someone than it would be in an at-will employment situation, but it is not so much work that it is impossible. If a principal wants to get rid of you, they can, no problem. They can just redefine your position, say suddenly that they also need all their kindergarten teachers to have ELL and LBS1 endorsements,and they can be done with you in one phone call no matter how long you have taught.

    (Also I don’t like the April 1 walkout. If a real strike makes sense over the pension 7% and the lack of other revenue sources then strike. Otherwise don’t’. What is this half-strike? The teachers at my school voted against it)

    If you are reading this blog, you must care about education. Support your local school and your teachers.

  • 738. mk  |  March 24, 2016 at 12:05 am

    Also, I agree with #735 about the days off. What a mess!!! Agreed.

    Also note that at a small school like ours the entire school is also turned upside down by the PARCC test at the same time as all of these other random days off are happening even though only freshmen are taking the test.

    With AP tests on the horizon, we have two weeks because of PARCC where some periods are only a half-hour long and others are 100 minutes…all of this to cover testing and extended time students with existing computer labs and existing staff members. And this impacts everyone whether you teach freshmen or not.

    I am all for accountability, but choose one test, and focus everything on that, and don’t spend too much time actually testing, and use the data that you do get to improve instruction.

    Routine is important in education. Have holidays, fine, but clump them together rationally. Random days off are such a pain as a teacher– they get students out of synch and out of rhythm.

  • 739. Local Parent  |  March 24, 2016 at 8:17 am

    @737: CPS spends about $3000 more per student than the average school district. If you want every IL school district to get the same per pupil funding and operational funding, CPS would LOSE money. For example, CPS spends about $24,000 in operational expenses and per pupil spending. Rockford SD 205 spends about $18,000 in operational expenses and per pupil spending.

    So, go ahead and strike. Battle for equality in spending. Your colleagues in Rockford, Crete-Monee and other SDs will LOVE taking your money to get to an equal amount.

  • 740. CLB  |  March 24, 2016 at 8:27 am

    @730, 731

    Who said it and when:

    I know that deferring pension payments is bad fiscal policy and ultimately costs the system in lost investment income. I also understand Chicago Teachers Union President [XXXX]’s resistance to the idea of pension relief. Her job is to fight for her members, and I respect that.

    But our job is to fight for children. We can avoid classroom cuts by deferring pension payments for a year without costing retired teachers any money. Then we can use the year ahead to develop a funding reform plan that transforms Illinois from a state that ranks near the bottom in terms of education funding to a state that leads America in making education its top priority.

  • 741. CLB  |  March 24, 2016 at 8:42 am

    @739 , mk is not referring to per pupil funding; he is referring to pension funding. The state pays for the employer share of pensions at every other school district; CPS pays for the employer share at CPS. The General Assembly had declared its “intent” to fund the CPS pension system proportionately to its funding for other districts but never appropriated money to do so.

    Not sure where you are pulling the operational spending figures from, but the state database has lower numbers, $15,120 for CPS and $11,867 for Rockford. Operational spending includes instructional spending but excludes capital spending, summer school, adult education, and long-term debt, which includes pensions. And since districts don’t pay the employer share the number would not show up either; it is separately appropriated by the GA.

  • 742. CLB  |  March 24, 2016 at 8:48 am

    @740 The answer is Arne Duncan, then CPS CEO, on 7 Feb. 2006 in a letter to the Tribune responding to an op-ed by Laurence Msall, the president of the Civic Federation, criticizing the CPS proposal to defer pension payments. As one can read, the CTU president, then Marilyn Stewart, opposed the idea. This was after Blago pushed for and received state pension holidays the prior year. Everyone knew what they were doing and were warned not to do it. The Tribune had editorials condemning it. The CTFP director opposed it too. They made the bed, and we are lying in it.

  • 743. Tone  |  March 24, 2016 at 9:09 am

    CPS is likely to default in 2016. It doesn’t have the money to pay its operating costs and its required pension payments.

  • 744. Chris  |  March 24, 2016 at 12:07 pm


    [In 2006, people opposed the pension holiday]

    Ok, so in year *10* of Daley’s reign of stupidity, someone spoke up?

    What about the first 9 time he deferred funding?

  • 745. mom2  |  March 24, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    What? You mean our financial issues are NOT the fault of Bruce Rauner and Rahm? No kidding.

  • 746. Tone  |  March 24, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    The idiots in CTU do not care about education, they do not care about anything other than their members wallets. They are doing their jobs. It’s time taxpayers wake up and protect themselves from the thieves.

  • 747. Tone  |  March 24, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    Lazy thieves. My apologies.

  • 748. dc  |  March 24, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    The district is deliberately creating a fiscal crisis in order to wring concessions from public-sector unions and gut social services.

    Examples of this abound. The city is paying incredible amounts of money on badly negotiated deals with Wall Street for auction-rate bonds, “toxic” interest-rate swaps, and other exotic financial instruments. Researcher Saqib Bhatti estimates that the city has paid more than a billion dollars for swaps through 2014; the Chicago Tribune estimates the auction-rate bonds will cost the city in excess of $100 million more than if they had stuck to traditional bonds. The city could sue to renegotiate some of these deals, but Mayor Emanuel has steadfastly refused.

    Though Emanuel promised reform on the city’s $1.4 billion tax increment financing (TIF) program, it still serves as a massive slush fund controlled by the mayor with no outside oversight, and has been repeatedly used to give away millions to wealthy corporations like United Airlines and downtown real estate developers. (The Chicago Mercantile Exchange, a central player in the city’s financial sector, was infamously approved for $15 million in TIF funds to carry out renovations for, among other things, new bathrooms.)

    And there are major possible sources of revenue from the city’s richest that are currently going untapped. Firms on LaSalle Street, Chicago’s equivalent of Wall Street, like the CME and the Chicago Board Options Exchange are making absurd amounts of money (the CME brings in over $3 billion a year and is the most profitable corporation in Illinois); they could easily pay a financial transactions tax on each of their trades.

    Perhaps some of these large for-profit entities are more similar to thieves than your local Kindergarten teacher grading papers at her kitchen table Saturday night?

  • 749. dc  |  March 24, 2016 at 10:54 pm

    Shout out to #706 for a great post. But I wanted to add: big cities must have schools that are funded and supported if they want to keep residents. Taxes are a certainly a consideration when companies decide to stay or go. But so too are schools if you want to make city living viable.

    Detroit is in a situation where parts of the city are redeveloping; there are small sections of the city near the river that have been redone and twenty and thirty-somethings are buying places (in pockets) for high prices, but that kind of development is limited if there is nowhere to send your child to school. (And I mean nowhere) Living in the city just becomes a lark while one is young–something to try, if at all, as a brief experiment.

    Also, of course, the property taxes in suburbs that support do their schools tend to be higher. To the person departing for Evanston, I am skeptical that her taxes there will not be quite high if she is in a district with an elementary school with a good reputation.

  • 750. Tone  |  March 25, 2016 at 8:24 am

    dc is apparently a CTU moron. Do you even know what a swap is?

  • 751. Tone  |  March 25, 2016 at 8:26 am

    CPS spends $15,000 per student. Naperville spends $14,000. CTU troll.

  • 752. Tone  |  March 25, 2016 at 8:27 am

    “And there are major possible sources of revenue from the city’s richest that are currently going untapped. Firms on LaSalle Street, Chicago’s equivalent of Wall Street, like the CME and the Chicago Board Options Exchange are making absurd amounts of money (the CME brings in over $3 billion a year and is the most profitable corporation in Illinois); they could easily pay a financial transactions tax on each of their trades.”

    Lol, CME simply picks up and moves. They don’t have to be in Chicago.

  • 753. Tone  |  March 25, 2016 at 8:28 am

    “Though Emanuel promised reform on the city’s $1.4 billion tax increment financing (TIF) program, it still serves as a massive slush fund controlled by the mayor with no outside oversight”

    What happened to the City Council, you goon?

  • 754. Tone  |  March 25, 2016 at 8:34 am

    CPS had 28,000 less students in 2015 than 2005. It keeps losing students. It will only get worse with CTU and its outrageous demands.

  • 755. Mom in WRP  |  March 25, 2016 at 8:37 am

    CPS is losing students because middle class families are being priced out of the city. Families don’t want to leave Chicago; they are being forced to leave Chicago.

  • 756. Tone  |  March 25, 2016 at 9:13 am

    @Mom in WRP, sure, massive property tax increases don’t help.

  • 757. Tone  |  March 25, 2016 at 9:13 am

    And the highest sales tax in the nation thanks to Toni doesn’t help either.

  • 758. michele  |  March 25, 2016 at 9:15 am

    CPS student loss is also tied to the removal of large quantities of CHA units in the central city areas and the loss of middle class Black families from the historically safe South and West side single family home areas. There is a demographic shift that also shows growth of student populations for CPS in areas where there are more Hispanic families on the NW and SW side of the city. Many of you are correct though middle class White families are not overwhelming choosing CPS for their kids, thus the underpinning of much of the banter about taxes – if you think you don’t have skin in the game – why play? Hopefully, everyone will see an educated populace regardless of race/ethnicity reduces crime and increases employment opportunity. Much of today’s city issues are tied directly to the financial and social dismantling of our traditional public education system in the city. Schools matter and now people are beginning to see just how much.

  • 759. WesLooMom  |  March 25, 2016 at 9:42 am

    @737 mk, Do you have a link to the teacher salary and retirement numbers that are correct? Teachers say that other persons keep using wildly inaccurate info. So, what is the correct info?

  • 760. MOM7373  |  March 25, 2016 at 9:53 am

    I so want to believe that this can be fixed with a tax on Wall Street, but I just don’t think it can.
    I understand what Lewis is trying to do regarding revenue. I get it. However, how realistic is it to think it can be done during an election year. Most of the options on the table need changes in state law or the constitution. I don’t think CTU can lead this as the union has zero support outside Chicago especially downstate. I am worried that too much pushing on increasing taxes will be damaging to downstate democrats.
    I am foreseeing CPS having a cash crunch next fall with the pension payment and financing drying out. This will be at the same time the CTU will most likely go on strike. Rauner will take this opportunity to “save” CPS which I feel will be a disaster for the teachers and the students.

  • 761. Local Parent  |  March 25, 2016 at 10:05 am

    @Tone — the point about the CME is spot on. If I can pay $5.95 for a trade on any other exchange but I have to pay $6.95 for a trade on the CME, and I make 500 trades a year, why would I pay a $500 premium simply for doing a trade in Chicago? That’s 500 bucks that could go in my retirement account, not Karen Lewis’s.

    This is why CTU is so clueless, and essentially is going to fail. The trouble with the CTU is that eventually it will run out of other people’s money.

  • 762. Local Parent  |  March 25, 2016 at 10:09 am

    @762 I think your scenario may be a *GOOD* thing, if it leads to school choice vouchers.

  • 763. Tone  |  March 25, 2016 at 10:10 am

    “I am foreseeing CPS having a cash crunch next fall with the pension payment and financing drying out.”

    That is guaranteed. CPS will likely default next school year, the Illinois Supreme Court can’t rule against math.

  • 764. Tone  |  March 25, 2016 at 10:12 am

    @Local Parent, Karen Lewis is a dangerous buffoon. So is Chuy Garcia. Businesses do not have to be located in Chicago. Rahm has done a fantastic job attracting new companies to the City.

    Karen Lewis and Jesse Sharkey would destroy that if they got there way.

  • 765. Jen  |  March 25, 2016 at 10:49 am

    It was my understanding, according to last week’s Trib article, that if CPS defaults on a debt payment, taxes automatically increase with or without city council approval. Am I correct or did I misunderstand? It seemed like the banks had things worded so that no matter what, they’d get theirs.

  • 766. Tone  |  March 25, 2016 at 11:18 am

    Jen, I read that article as well. I believe some, but not all CPS bonds have something like that. Which leads to the need for municipal bankruptcy as the governor has proposed. CPS is insolvent. The sooner an orderly bankruptcy reorg begins, the better off we will all be.

  • 767. dc  |  March 25, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    #760 may be right about strategy. And I hear what people are saying about the danger of CME moving away if they are taxed. Maybe. How high is the tax? My point is just that you have to pay for education somehow. A tax on CME may not be the way and that is fine. But it is a fact that if a TIF is set up, your property tax money in the city is not going to the schools, and that money is directed to profit-making entities instead. Maybe in some cases that is a good decision. Maybe if the taxpayers do not pay to redo the bathrooms of the stock exchange, the stock exchange leaves the city. That is plausible, but that sort of expenditure on the part of taxpayers is questionable at the very least. Shouldn’t they redo their own bathrooms with their own money?

    Of course, I want organizations like CME to stay in the city. But, to repeat, to have a vibrant city, you also must have schools that are paid for and supported. Someone made the point that per pupil spending in Naperville is less than it is in Chicago. Maybe. But property taxes are certainly high in Naperville. They have a teacher’s union too and their salary scale is considerably higher for teachers than the Chicago Public Schools salary scale is. A community like that can also rely on parent participation and contribution to offset budget shortfalls.

    Local neighborhoods in the City of Chicago support local schools all the time in the same way, with communities pulling together to contribute to their local schools. Example: Walter Payton asking its school community for 1.1 million dollars to save their programming in the face of budget cuts, or the Bell School, Ogden or others like it with communities who raise money not just for supplies and books, but to do things like pay for actual entire teaching positions, especially art, music, etc.

    The earlier writer mentioned that many white parents do not feel they have skin in the game because their taxes are paying for schools which they feel their kids cannot go to is spot on. The best performing schools in the country tend have teachers unions and many of them have communities that are happy to pay their teachers much more than they do in in the City of Chicago: in the suburbs surrounding New York, suburbs like Hinsdale in Chicagoland, etc. People move to those areas, pay the taxes because the schools are great, and great schools need to be paid for. One option that comes up again and again is to move to a district like this and pay the taxes.

    Again I think #758’s post makes a great point. For many people, to make Chicago Public Schools work for their children, they need to move to a neighborhood with a good school, contribute to the school, and navigate a complex selective enrollment system. Even if those parents do all of that, it is a fact that the taxes that do make it to the schools are supporting a huge number of schools where they would not want or be able to send their children. And that is a social class and race issue and is a mess many, many years in the making. And the challenges in some of the neighborhoods in the city that I am thinking of will not easily go away, even with Naperville-levels of effort. In many cases, there is no community that could pull together even if they wanted to. (See Geoffrey Canada’s efforts in New York, but those come with huge corporate backing. Are efforts like that replicable?)

    To the writers who want charters and vouchers: I would just say that caution is in order. Sometimes charters do amazing things with their freedom from the red tape associated with having to report to a district office, but along with that freedom, there is also less oversight. At least what Barbara Byrd Bennett did is recognized as illegal. At some charters, there is so little oversight that they are able to bend and break important rules– and take and mispend whatever they want– simply because nobody is watching. A student is annoying and not behaving? Let’s suspend him for a month! Attendance? We do not have an attendance system that is accessible by any regulating body. Let’s make it up! Corporal punishment: let’s do it! I saw all of this with my own eyes in my first year teaching at a charter school in the city along with the joys of no contractual obligation between teachers and administration. Result: tons of mid-year departures. Teachers said “Hey! Theres’ a mid-year opening in the suburbs. These people aren’t treating me right. So I will leave all the students in the lurch mid-year for the better job”. And they did, leaving classrooms of students with no teacher. Truth: there was only one math teacher in that school for the entire year when there were supposed to be two, meaning half the students had online math instruction for half the year supervised by a teacher’s aide with no degree, then the teacher switched at the half-way mark, so at least students had a math teacher for half the year. Some of the administrators would speak with disgust about CPS and the union, but the reality was that their performance was considerable worse even though this charter had replaced a CPS school.

    Not all charters are like that one, of course, but their performance data is spotty and often no better. Making the union go away is a panacea. The job they were trying to do at this school was the toughest there is. Maybe it would be better if the entire staff did not consist of white, low-paid, first-year teachers with no experience, and no veteran leadership?

    Echoes of the Flint water crisis are here in this debate whether the posters realize it or not, because, of course, the reason that a charter like that was operating that way for so long (and yes it is less expensive than the school it replaced) was that the students there were the poorest and least able to advocate for themselves in the city, and probably in the country. And those students deserve teachers. Those students deserved to have a math teacher all year long, just like anyone else’s kid, but they didn’t get it. And this was in the system that so many people on this list seem to be advocating for!

    I am not saying that all privatization is bad; there are some great charters. The one that I worked for was not great. One certain takeaway is that educating the really tough poorest of the poor is very, very hard. And not cheap. They need counseling. They need services. They need medical. The school ends of being a contact point to distribute food too.

    Another takeaway from that experience is that freedom from a central office is not always good– the potential for graft in a voucher system is tremendous (also think of the UNO scandal), and in a model like vouchers that you destroy whatever is left of the idea of a neighborhood pulling together and investing in their local school together (but maybe that is gone anyway in Chicago except in pockets…).

    Maybe more radical solutions are needed for this mess; maybe the district is simply too big? Maybe different areas have different needs and one giant district is too clumsy to serve all of them?

    Nonetheless, blaming everything on the union is silly and relying on the market and privatization to take care of everything is too simplistic. Most of the options that people on this list talk about in lieu of Chicago Public Schools have strong unions, high performance, and high taxes.

    Privatization is always great? Think about deregulated energy markets, Enron, and rolling blackouts in California. Maybe market forces are not going to yield the best results when it comes to making sure special ed students get services, or our poorest citizens get services?

    I have to confess that my daughter is at a CPS school here in the city and I just love it; I love the mix of all the different sorts of people, and the almost psychotic drive for academic achievement. Some of our neighbors complain that it is too demanding! And while they have a selective enrollment program, this is not a selective enrollment school. The demographic pie is a mix — our Kindergarten class is 20% Indian, for example. Who would have thought it? And we have a tiny place to live because we cannot afford anything bigger in this neighborhood and we never will be able to afford anything bigger. But it’s worth it for the school. And I don’t want anything to happen to it. I love it and I love the people that work there and I want them to have what they need. And I like it that my daughter is mixing with so many different kinds of people and cultures and languages and different viewpoints. That is certainly not the experience I had as a kid.

    And I am willing to pay to support it; and I am willing to pay to support my less fortunate neighbors too.

  • 768. Chris  |  March 25, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    “it is a fact that if a TIF is set up, your property tax money in the city is not going to the schools, and that money is directed to profit-making entities instead”

    Um, it’s a “fact” that it is directed to profit-making entities?

    Jones was built with TIF funds. Coonley’s expansion was built with TIF funds. The *vast* majority of TIF money goes into public projects.

    Does some of it go to for-profit developments? No doubt. But your statement is totally misleading.

  • 769. dc  |  March 25, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    I am not sure how it my statements are “totally misleading”. See Ben Javorsky on the 24 million that went to Miller Coors to entice them to move to Chicago, the 10.4 million that went to Republic Windows and Doors before they left the city and all their workers without jobs, anyway. Then there was the money that went to redo the board of trade. Javorsky also documents deals where money from TIF deals has gone to a wealthy private hospital, a big car dealer, and a former alderman. (See John Oliver on stadium financing deals for a more general example of how public money can be directed to profit making entities.)

    If the property tax money was earmarked for directly for education in the way it tends to be in the suburbs, it would be much clearer how and for what purpose the money should be used. And there could be a separate government budget line for corporate enticements — or whatever you want to call them. Again, then everyone would know where the tax money is going.

    I am sure things have changed now, but I remember as a kid, the biggest local election tensions were always about “the millage”, which was essentially the local school district asking for money. And then the community would deliberate if they should tax themselves and by how much. It was very clear what it meant if you had students in the school system, what programs would continue as they were, and which would not…so you knew what you were getting for your money.

    So, I think it is great that some TIF money went to the Jones and to the Coonley expansions. But that just happens to be an instance when local government decided to fund a school project. They certainly don’t have to do that. Right now the city is sitting on a bunch of TIF money. They could use that for the schools. The state could kick in. The teachers see that there is revenue coming in other just from cuts to themselves, and they kick in. And then you have a deal.

  • 770. mk  |  March 25, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    To WesLooMom —

    Just google “CPS Salary Scale”.

    You will find the salary scales in PDF form for Chicago Teachers.

    All of this is public information.

  • 771. Tone  |  March 26, 2016 at 8:00 am

    Joravsky is not the brightest and continues to essentially lie. TIF takes no money from CPS. CPS has its own taxing authority. It raises taxes as it needs. TIF should be viewed as an additional tax. If CPS needs $3billion in property tax it gets it, with a few caveats of growth being capped yearly at some rate. Under Rahm, CPS has collected as much as allowed.

    TIF does not affect this. Also, the vast majority of TIF money under Rahm has been used for public purposes. Jovarsky is really just a poverty pimp whose lust for social services and wealth redistribution crap is insatiable.

  • 772. AF at CPS  |  March 26, 2016 at 10:44 am

    Can someone tell me what percentage of your total property tax bill in Chicago goes directly to CPS?

  • 773. michele  |  March 26, 2016 at 10:51 am

    Not sure what many of you did with the kids yesterday for the Furlough Day but I found it interesting as my son and I looked for Park District programs it was totally hit or miss. One Park had a non published open gym time that worked for our family but another Park said they couldn’t open their gym because it was between break for the Park district. Next week on Friday April 1 another non school day I understand Parks will be used for drop off sites for kids I wondered why CPS made no plans like this for the Good Friday Furlough day? Weren’t many Parents also inconvenienced by this past Friday’s unscheduled day as well? Even though good Friday lots of Parents still had to work.

  • 774. Patricia  |  March 26, 2016 at 11:20 am

    I do think CPS should be broken up into smaller districts. it is too big to manage effectively. No matter what CPS does, it is criticized because another part of the city will feel neglected. If CPS tries a blanket change, then it is accused of forcing a one size fits all solution. Essentially, no one is ever pleased—and in reality, the system is not improved with constant change. It is too big and the political and social realities make change almost impossible. Breaking up CPS will allow focus on regional needs which differ. It may be a good thing to uncover the real inequities and not hide them within the massive system. It will break up the enormous dollar amounts that just invite corruption and breed inefficiency. Also, if there is an elected school board, a $5 billion + budget with no one accountable is a recipe for disaster. Break it up and let the regions focus on their specific needs.

  • 775. michele  |  March 26, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    #774 there was a plan executed in Omaha in 2011 and the Omaha city district was split into smaller districts and these smaller districts were each combined with neighboring wealthier suburban districts to balance the low income city schools with the higher funded suburban school district. Not sure how this is working but here’s a reference to the attempt to split up a city district into smaller ones.

  • 776. CLB  |  March 26, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    @767 The trouble with the financial transaction tax proposed is that 1) the tax is not on the exchanges, but on customers, so mentioning that CME group makes $x billion a year is irrelevant. It is like arguing for a higher sales tax on cars and saying that car dealerships make $x billion per year. The FTT as proposed is: $1 for the buyer and $1 for the seller, except for ag products ($.50 each).

    2) The average transaction cost of a CME trade is $0.73. If buyers and sellers were willing to pay $2.73 average transaction costs (what an FTT would incur) without changing behavior, why is CME leaving $2 on the table? They should be maximizing their profit by charging 3.7 times what they charge now. That they are not tells you how sensitive the markets. It is not CME that would leave with an FTT, but customers would leave to trade on other exchanges. The S&P 500 agreement expires in 2017, so trades on that product would no longer be exclusive to CME after that date.

    A small FTT would probably not affect trade volume much, but it would bring in much less revenue.

    The two issues that would hold-up a switch to other exchanges are the liquidity of the exchanges and their margin requirements. CME offers cross-market margin accounts, so increased margin requirements for one market can be met with surplus $ in other market accounts.

  • 777. CLB  |  March 26, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    @771, total horseshit.

    PTELL caps the extension at the equivalent of the rate of inflation up to a 5% inflation rate max. So CPS cannot raise property taxes much at all because inflation has been low. CPS has raised taxes to the maximum amount allowed for several years. It cannot get more revenue from property taxes unless it holds a referendum to exceed the PTELL caps. Rahm has refused to do this.

    Tax revenue above the increment level that was set when the TIF was created would otherwise have gone to the taxing districts. The $ is diverted. When a TIF is closed, the revenue above the increment goes back to the taxing authorities, and it is exempt from the PTELL caps. The only times TIFs do not effectively divert funds is when the district is _not_ raising its extension beyond the PTELL caps. Then the district is leaving $ on the table.

    The only caveat is that the EAV for a TIF district is set at the level it was at when the TIF district was created. So CPS gets more general state aid than it would if the true EAV were used. Once the TIF is closed, in the following years the true EAV is used. This would reduce GSA, but the added property tax revenue would still be a net gain for CPS.

  • 778. Recently laid off  |  March 26, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    776 – news flash. The stockmarket hasn’t been doing so hot lately. The very Mobil CME will move before they swallow any tax1231

  • 779. Jen  |  March 26, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    If CPS misses a debt payment, Chicago residents will see their taxes go up regardless of the limits set on raising taxes.

  • 780. Tone  |  March 28, 2016 at 10:06 am

    772. AF at CPS | March 26, 2016 at 10:44 am

    Can someone tell me what percentage of your total property tax bill in Chicago goes directly to CPS?

    About 50%. CPS spends over $15,000/student currently. Napperville spends $14,000/student.

  • 782. Parent and Taxpayer  |  March 28, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    Gang mentality…..another reason that fair share should go away.

  • 783. Tone  |  March 29, 2016 at 11:21 am

    @782, disgusting, no wonder there are so few unions anymore.

  • 784. tj  |  March 29, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    I just got an email from WY dance teacher as below. Is it a kind of conflict interest to use student credit to encourage them to walk out?

    Extra Credit DANCE opportunity!!!
    Come walk with your teacher in the morning and then head over to Dearborn to see some dancers in action. If you attend the open rehearsal, I will give you extra credit.
    Ms. G”

  • 785. shikarishambu (@shikarishambu)  |  March 30, 2016 at 9:42 am

    Got letter from my kids school teachers on “why April 1st”. I don’t for one micro second believe the “we are doing it for the children” bit. Both CPS and CTU seem to be using parents/ children as hostage in the power play. And, there seems to be a total lack of trust for each other. Both seem to be trying to get parents on their side. So, my question is – is there a place where parents can vote/ voice their opinion and make it count

  • 786. Tone  |  March 30, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    My only thought on what we as citizens can do is stop voting for aldermen, mayors, state reps and senators and governors that are in bed with the unions. The state and City simply can’t afford it.

  • 787. Marketing Mom  |  March 30, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    News flash. We tried this and look what we have to show for it…Rauner and a budget stalemate!

  • 788. Local Parent  |  March 30, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    @Marketing Mom — In 2011, the State of Illinois had a temporary tax increase that was reportedly necessary to pay down Illinois’ backlog of bills, stabilize the state’s pension crisis and strengthen its economy.
    In January of 2015 it would go back to its old rate.

    In 2014, Gov. Pat Quinn, to no one’s surprise, said the temporary tax increase needed to become permanent. I said “F**k DAT!” You said this was going to be temporary, now because you got addicted to the cash flow, you want that $hit FOREVER.

    Schools never became safer, bills never got paid, only ones who benefited were State workers. So, go Rauner. I’ve gotta send my kids to Catholic school because the dip$hits who run CTU keep pulling these wild @ss stunts. I’m not putting my kid through that.

  • 789. Tone  |  March 31, 2016 at 9:14 am

    Marketing mom, at least we have one adult in state government trying to control spending. Mr. Madigan has been in office for decades and look where we are now.

  • 790. shikarishambu (@shikarishambu)  |  March 31, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    An old article from Chicago Tribune – “A money lesson for CPS”

  • 791. shikarishambu (@shikarishambu)  |  March 31, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    The teleconference with Forrest Claypool this evening was interesting. According to him the reason for furlough day on March 25 was a lot of teachers said they were taking “Good Friday” off (because it is there in their contract) and many parents said they weren’t sending their kids either. Well, wouldn’t it have been sensible to have spring break that week? He made it sound that Springfield is the problem and urged listeners to go to to voice their opinion. Let us face it state, city and cps are bankrupt (or, close to).

  • 792. Jen  |  March 31, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    @791, spring break historically was held the week of Good Friday. It changed this year.

  • 793. Loving the April Spring Break!  |  March 31, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    Not to derail the conversation, but wanted o chime in about my opinion on the timing of Spring Break this year. As a CPS parent, I am thrilled that Spring Break is not the week before or after Easter–the two weeks that every other school district in the county seems to have Spring Break! This year we are actually able to plan an affordable trip to a location that will not be mobbed with Spring Break crowds.

  • 794. WesLooMom  |  April 1, 2016 at 1:10 am

    @793, I totally agree. Having a late Spring Break is allowing us to take a well-deserved vacation.

  • 795. MAJORIE SCHULLER  |  April 1, 2016 at 4:29 am

    Thoughtful analysis . I learned a lot from the info , Does someone know if my business could get access to a template NY DTF ST-100 form to work with ?

  • 796. mom2  |  April 1, 2016 at 9:45 am

    I was listening to the news this morning. There was an alderman and CTU member on and they were asking her questions. This is what I heard from her. She blamed Rauner for all their issues. When the announcer reminded her he is “new” and asked if democrats who have been fully in charge for much longer had blame, she said something like “Well…” and then went on talking about all the frustrations the teachers have. Really? How can you blame Rauner? She obviously had no answer for that. Then, the announcer said that the city is broke so where are they going to get the money they are asking for. What I heard her say was raise taxes on all the people in Chicago = “new sources of revenue.” I know plenty of people that don’t support CTU and their more money for pay checks and retirement demands.

  • 797. CarolA  |  April 1, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    Rauner did not cause the budget problems, but he IS the governor of the ONLY state that has not passed a budget thus letting the education systems all across the state to be in a dire state, not just CPS. He seems perfectly fine letting students grasp for funds for higher education. That doesn’t seem to bother him in the least. Did you notice there seems to be enough money for CPS to be opening up 21 new charter schools in 2017? Of course, they offered no new charter schools for 2016-2017….they won’t be ready until 2017-2018. Say it like it is…..there’s money, but just for non-union schools.

  • 798. CarolA  |  April 1, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    And another thing……why wasn’t everyone upset LAST Friday when CPS closed the schools? They didn’t offer any safe zones then! Of course they blame it on the teachers saying they were going to be off for Good Friday. Let me tell you….this was a well planned school calendar and they KNEW they were going to do this before this school year even began. I’ve been working for CPS a very long time. When I started, CPS ran into the problem of not having enough subs for Good Friday. So they started making Good Friday a professional development day (teachers only) so if they took off it didn’t affect students. Then they finally included Good Friday within the spring break because they didn’t have to worry about anything in that case. It’s been that way for years and years. Suddenly, THIS year they make it a student day…..why? So they can blame us!

  • 799. spam  |  April 3, 2016 at 1:37 am


  • 800. CLB  |  April 4, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    At the end of June 2012, IL had $8.7 billion in unpaid bills. Revenue from the 2011 tax year did not come in until April that year.. By the end of June 2014, the backlog was down to $3.8 billion. The estimate for this June is $10 billion. So the tax hike was used to reduce the backlog, but did not eliminate it. And with the rates lowered, the backlog has increased dramatically.

    The Comptroller’s general fund expenditure data shows that since FY2000, real spending by Illinois rose by 15% to FY2013, the last year for which she had data. So an average annual increase after accounting for inflation of 1.15%.

    Funding for ISBE, which covers all K-12 operational funding, is actually slightly negative in real dollars, -0.3%

  • 801. Former Cps  |  April 4, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    “Say it like it is…..there’s money, but just for non-union schools.”

    Show me the money. What’s being done to the budget that pours money into one area yet neglects another. Are charters better funded by the state or is there just a shift in funds?

    788 – I’ve gotta send my kids to Catholic school because the d——- who run CTU keep pulling these wild a– stunts. I’m not putting my kid through that.

    There’s hope for openings in private schools.

    Interesting that we have been losing the black middle class, Latinos, families with school age children and now the wealthy. Those evil 1%ers that don’t want to pay up are just pulling up stakes and moving out of state. I don’t blame them. Careful about taxing the wealthy. You’re going to turn to the next person to find out that it’s you.

  • 802. Tone  |  April 7, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    That millionaire report is silly. Did you read it? It’s like a high school paper with less research.

    Anyway, apparently, CTU members are stupid. Karen Lewis had no opposition and will be boss for another 3 years. Good luck with that.

  • 803. harry potter  |  April 16, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    The Trib is reporting that the CTU has rejected the latest fact finding report and the clock is ticking now on a possible May 16 strike.

  • 804. robin in wrp  |  April 16, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    I had dinner with teacher-friends this evening. It’s my understanding that they won’t strike until after AP testing

  • 805. Fam  |  April 16, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    When is AP testing?

  • 806. robin in wrp  |  April 17, 2016 at 5:27 am

    The first two weeks of May

  • 807. Off to Bali  |  April 17, 2016 at 11:41 am

    How long do we estimate the strike will last? I’m up for taking my kids on vacation.

  • 808. ugh  |  April 17, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    I think it could be anywhere from 2 weeks until the end of the school year.

  • 809. Strike  |  April 17, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    Remember the teachers could strike on May 16th but I heard from teacher friends of mine that they don’t want to disrupt seniors from graduating & for that matter 8th graders too. It will most likely be in the beginning of the new school year if an agreement isn’t reached over the summer. One friend said the day after the first day of school and another said two weeks after the start of school. Both are teachers not sure whose right.

  • 810. cpsobsessed  |  April 17, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    I was out with some people (none of them with kids in CPS, several who don’t have kids) and it was interesting to hear them speculate about “the city’s” opinion about CTU — meaning are people sympathetic towards the union’s requests or not.

    I have no idea, as everyone I know is in CPS and seems to have a strong opinion one way or the other (more people I know personally seem to favor the CTU, but I have a very vocal group of acquaintances on Facebook.)

    Has anyone seen research or have a sense of the public at large’s POV on it?
    (aside from comments on the Trib/SunTimes site which are usually ridiculous)

  • 811. harry potter  |  April 17, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    The end of the article comment by Claypool regarding closing schools for the summer as not happening, except in the case of a strike and then “all bets are off” is considerably frightening. Shutting schools down for the summer on May 16th would mean no final grades, no diplomas, no transcripts, no summer school, and a long pause in any wait list movement if any at all for specialty schools. If I was a parent in CPS of a student needing any documentation, I’d make sure to get it before May 16th.

  • 812. @ Harry Potter  |  April 17, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    CTU has to give 10 days notice before actually striking. I am sure the non Union staff at each school can handle the waitlists at each school & none of the OAE are unionized. During the 10 day notice I am sure grades/transcripts will be handled. I actually even heard the strike will most likely be at the grinning of the new school year so as not to disrupt graduations for the seniors. I am sure CPS is working on contingency plans should the strike actually occur mid May versus the beginning of the next school year.

  • 813. harry potter  |  April 18, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    What non union staff do you imagine will handle the wait lists? The clerks are part of the CTU and so are the aides. The custodians aren’t going to do it. Maybe principals will do it, but I suspect they’ll be busy with much more important things. I can’t hardly breathe thinking about the chaos of the grade book system, which crashes or has major issues the last date teachers can enter grades in this kind of situation. And trying to get this all done in the middle of MAP testing, PARCC testing, bilingual testing, and the many other tests that have to be administered. And then CPS will have to apply for a waiver from the state, which is barely functioning, to have a school year 30 days or so shorter than planned. I think you overestimate CPS in having contingency plans that will be workable.

    In all seriousness, this is CPS we are talking about. Don’t count on them to get it right. You have to protect yourself here. If you need paperwork, get it and get it soon. Its fine to hope for the best but please don’t bet on it.

  • 814. @harry potter  |  April 18, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    Most teacher friends are telling me the strike will be at the beginning of the new year. If they strike mid May & it lasts all summer then the teachers will be without health insurance. During the summer cps will have little incentive to settle the strike because of money saved from insurance premiums. I did however tell my kids to keep up their grades just in case and not bank on having the end of the school year to pull up thier grades. 🙂

  • 816. tj  |  April 23, 2016 at 9:35 am

    Read this article on sun-time dated on Feb, 20 2016, “THE WATCHDOGS: How Chicago Teachers Union spends its money”

    Some interesting points:

    “with more than $25 million a year in dues coming from 28,000 teachers and other school employees,”

    “Eight CTU employees, including Lewis, were paid more than $100,000 that year.”

    “The union’s two highest-paid employees were administrator Lynn Cherkasky-Davis, paid a salary of $233,071, and Annette Rizzo, the union’s health and benefits coordinator, paid $205,221.”

    “According to its most recent filings with the Internal Revenue Service, the union had $9.8 million in cash on hand at the end of the 2013-14 school year.”

    “The union has no fund to pay teachers if they go on strike. Striking teachers typically end up with full pay, though, because days lost to strikes are tacked on to the school year.”

  • 817. harry potter  |  May 17, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    So, apparently principals got their budgets which will ultimately cut funding by about 25-30%. One principal is on record as saying there’ll be 50 kids in a classroom.
    At the same time, CPS does this every single year. What is now being said to be 30% cuts, will probably end up at 5% cuts at the end of the summer. Its less of an apocalypse and more of a death by a 1000 blows.

  • 818. cpsobsessed  |  May 17, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    I don’t even know what to make of this. We can have our choice of teachers and adequate class size but zero activities? Or giant classes? No libraries/gym/tech/music? Just bare bones education, more so than it is now. Can’t figure it out.

  • 819. CLB  |  May 17, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    @817: “At the same time, CPS does this every single year.”

    No, it does not. Last year CPS waited until as late as possible to even issue budgets to schools. The prior year, they were on-time for the first time ever. CPS has never issued doomsday budgets like this, at least not in a while and not system-wide.

    This is different. CPS has never wanted to panic parents; now it has done so.

  • 820. cpsobsessed  |  May 17, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    But isn’t it possible they want to panic the public, in order to pressure the CTU?

  • 821. harry potter  |  May 18, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    @819, you’re kidding, right? Don’t you remember the year CPS talked about a billion dollar deficit? This has been talked about for the past several years. Maybe not in the detail it is now, but every year for the past 4-5 years CPS says they’re going to have to make massive cuts. Schools start fundraising and then out of the blue, something happens last minute to save the day or at least to cut costs.

  • 822. cpsobsessed  |  May 18, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    ^ I concur. That’s why it’s difficult to take it seriously. I know this may be the time they actually mean it, but having stated the dire situation multiple times makes it difficult to get people to freak out now (and write letters, organize protests, etc)

  • 823. harry potter  |  June 2, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    I think now is the time to write letters and organize based on the idea that CPS may not open at all. I’m not in CPS, but the state budget crisis affects all districts. I spoke with my superintendent today and he assured me we have enough money in reserves to open and sustain ourselves for a while, but not long term, obviously. He feels the threat of schools not opening in Chicago and perhaps some other districts is a political scare tactic. Maybe, maybe not. Personally, I don’t understand how ANY of these legislators will get re-elected at all, ever again. Madigan, Rauner, Cullerton, democrats, republicans, they’ve all failed us terribly. Please remember, come November, that none of them, NONE of them, are doing their job.

  • 824. harry potter  |  June 2, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    @CPSO, I think Claypool does want people to panic but I think this goes way past the CTU due to what’s happened in the last 3 weeks. The union is a minor player at this point with the State at front and center stage.

  • 825. Chris  |  June 2, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    ” I don’t understand how ANY of these legislators will get re-elected at all, ever again”

    They gerrymander their districts so that it’s incredibly difficult to get a credible candidate to oppose them.

    “this goes way past the CTU due to what’s happened in the last 3 weeks”

    Yes, but that you have Jesse “taking Rauner’s side” by saying that CPS has to raise city taxes *first* (which, of course, would mean surrendering most of the leverage on ’20 for 20′). I think this is a place where Rahm hatred is blinding CTU.

  • 826. cpsobsessed  |  June 2, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    @Harry, yes it’s interesting how this has now all spiraled past the CTU and become and even bigger issue.

    My son’s class was on a fieldtrip to Springfield yesterday and it wasn’t until they were home that a few parents realized we should have had them do some protesting. At least driving the bus by and shouting might have made a point. Briefly.

  • 827. parent  |  June 3, 2016 at 10:18 am

    the only positive I can think of is that CTU has to admit now that there really is no money. obviously, nobody can audit their way out of this situation. they really dropped the ball by not taking the deal in January. no deal will ever be that good.

  • 828. mom2  |  June 3, 2016 at 11:10 am

    Madigan’s district will always vote for him because he takes care of them even if he destroys the rest of our state. That’s how all this works (or doesn’t work). We have a serious issue. If I didn’t have my job here, I’d be leaving. Between increase in crime near my home (and people blaming the police rather than the criminals) and all the ridiculous people that think we (the state, the city and the “rich” people in the city) have money trees, I’m ready to get out.

  • 829. Vetteacher  |  June 4, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    We are not taking the deal. That pension pick up is backed by the IL constitution. CPS’ offer is backed by the whims of Rahmbo. Karen Lewis made a generous offer of no raises in the new contract. The taxpayers should support it or we will be on the streets for a protracted period.

    Think of the number of shootings in the warm-enough weather months of September, October, and November.

    Maybe then you will see the value of CPS teachers. Taxpayers will be paying for more cops and incarcerations. If that is your goal, you will get exactly that.

    At some point, the taxpayers have to realize that teachers perform a worthwhile duty in society.

    You reap what you sow!

  • 830. harry potter  |  June 4, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    @ Vetteacher, please know that you are not alone in making sacrifices. Your suburban counterparts are also taking pay freezes, paying more for health insurance (paying 3x what I paid in CPS), and many of us are also picking up the entire amount of our pension pickup. You only hear about the districts that pick up that 9%, but many of us take care of it ourselves, including my district and my spouse’s district. And as much as I was always told when I was teaching in CPS that suburban districts pay so much more, I have found that not to be true. My husband’s district pays just slightly more and mine pays less. There are some who pay more, of course, but those are definitely not the majority and those all have quite literally thousands of people applying for each and every position.

  • 831. @vetteacher  |  June 4, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    I think that you have trolled here in the past. You can’t possibly be a teacher with that kind of attitude. Also, you are giving out misinformation. The pension pick up is not backed by the IL Constitution. The constitution says benefits can not be diminished. Picking up the full cost of the employee portion of the pension instead of CPS picking up 7% of the 9% that you are supposed to contribute was allowed in lieu of raises one year. I don’t believe it was intended to go on forever and isn’t fair to all the city, state, county and federal employees who contribute their full pension contribution. No one I know pays 2%. This is to help fund your retirement.

  • 832. Vetteacher  |  June 4, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    Really? I did a research report on the matter! 66% of suburban teachers were paying NOTHING for their pensions.

    Chicago taxpayers are double-taxed- State picks up district portion = District picks up teacher’s portion. Been going on for DECADES.

    To the couple that works in the suburbs that pays your own pensions – You all picked the wrong districts in which to work.

    Protracted strike is coming. See ya all the streets!

  • 833. harry potter  |  June 4, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    Yes, that means that 44% of suburban school teacher pick up some or all of their pension costs. That’s a significant amount.
    I personally feel my spouse and I both chose terrific districts. We have small class sizes, safe working conditions, teachers who can focus on instruction instead of behavior, lots of support in terms of resource teachers and aides and sensible administrators. So to me, in terms of the compensation being lower overall, its worth it. I get to really teach for the first time in my life. I love going to work. I wouldn’t have enjoyed teaching in a wealthy district TBH.

    831 is right. The pension is protected. Who pays for the monthly contributions is not.

    I’m not concerned about a strike in CPS because it doesn’t affect me and because I think there are bigger fish to fry. No money allocated for schools right now means all of us are in danger of not opening or not being able to stay open. I’ve been reassured that my district can sustain itself for a while, but not sure how long a “while” is. I’m concerned enough that I will start applying for any job available outside of education that has benefits if there’s no budget come mid July. Schools not opening across the state would be terrible. But an entire state’s worth of teachers and their families going into foreclosure, not contributing to the economy, etc, would cripple the state, maybe permanently. This is no longer just a CPS issue.

  • 834. Vetteacher  |  June 4, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    As long as you are happy! 34%, not 44%! (hope you don’t teach math! LOL)

    Since you don’t live or work in the city, don’t have kids in the city, why spend time on a CPS blog?

    In other words, how does CPS affect you?

    It is a free country, but who cares what you think since you don’t have a dog in this fight.

    I am sure you can e-mail your legislator and get him to vote against the school funding formula fix that would give equal funding to poor minority students. Problem solved! You are good!

    Guess I won’t.see you on the streets!

  • 835. harry potter  |  June 4, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    You’re right, 34%.
    CPS affects me because I have other family in the system and many friends in the system. I stay on this blog for that reason and because Chicago issues affect the whole state and because after having spent years in the system its a train wreck I just can’t look away from.

    And yes, actually, I did email my legislators to ask them to vote against the funding formula that would take money away from suburban and downstate schools to give it to Chicago. I also requested that they find some way to fund Chicago equally, 20 for 20, giving CPS what it needs. In other words, more money for CPS students and the same level of funding for everyone else so CPS gets an equal amount of funding. My guess is that in the end, suburban and downstate will lose money& absorb the cuts and CPS will get some of what it needs, maybe enough to keep it afloat?

    Vetteacher, I remember what it was like teaching in CPS. It wears on you. You’re dealing with crap on every side from kids, parents, administrators and city “leaders”. It makes people tired and frustrated and in my experience, burnt out. You come across as all these and like you are looking for a fight. I’m not looking to fight with you. You have enough trouble on your plate. I hope things get better for you and your students though so you don’t have to be so angry. GL.

  • 836. Front Row  |  June 7, 2016 at 8:20 am

    Ok, this where I have a misunderstanding of the situation. CPS is broke and wants more money from the state. What will they do with that money? Fix public school buildings or give cash to create unnecessary charter schools? If one good thing comes from the budget stalemate is that the expansion of charter schools will be blocked. If more money is allocated to CPS, will the spend it in the right way or will they finance another SUPES Academy?

  • 837. Chris  |  June 7, 2016 at 10:00 am

    ” finance another SUPES Academy”

    The crook who approved that is gone. You can say a lot of bad things about Claypool (if you are so inclined) but he ain’t a crook.

  • 838. Danaidh  |  June 12, 2016 at 11:06 am

    @827: “the only positive I can think of is that CTU has to admit now that there really is no money”

    From the beginning of this bargaining season (autumn 2014), CTU has claimed “CPS, Broke on Purpose.” The first part of that is “broke,” and CTU has conceded that for a long time.

    The city of Chicago, however, DOES have great wealth, but politicians serving the interests of the wealthy are loathe to seek more revenue. There IS money, but Mayor One Percent owes his soul to his friends who don’t want to part with any of their money.

    The CTU’s Big Bargaining Team (okay, I’m a member) did the right thing in rejecting the February 1 offer. By March 10, CPS submitted another, less generous, offer saying they couldn’t afford the February 1 offer. By the time the Fact Finder’s Report came out, they admitted they couldn’t even afford the March 10 offer.

    Because it is broke on purpose, CPS does not have the capacity to honor any contract with CTU. State law and a state Supreme Court ruling allow CPS to wiggle out of economic provisions of a labor contract when there is an economic emergency.

    At this point, the only way Chicago teachers can trust any contract offer from CPS is for the district to secure additional revenues from both the state and the city.

  • 839. parent  |  June 13, 2016 at 10:24 am

    @838 …. “There IS money”

    No. No. No. No. No. No.

    Please. Stop saying that. As long as you mislead teachers in this way, you are part of the problem.

    I guess I was wrong. CTU *STILL* won’t admit that there is no money.

    Every time I hear “broke on purpose” I want to scream.

  • 840. Vetteacher  |  June 13, 2016 at 10:41 am

    There is plenty of money for the following: 95 million for a bike path in the gang-laden Pilsen, Little Village neighborhood. 150 million unneeded De Paul arena, etc. The list goes on…

    It is all about priorities. Our children are not Rahm’s.

  • 841. parent  |  June 13, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    CTU: Pretending there is a big, unlimited pot of money that can be used to bail out the schools even though there isn’t one ON PURPOSE

    Needs work .. not quite catchy enough!

  • 842. Chris  |  June 13, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    “Needs work .. not quite catchy enough!”

    “But now the guy’s gotta come up with Paulie’s money every week, no matter what. Business bad? “F*** you, pay me.” Oh, you had a fire? “F*** you, pay me.” Place got hit by lightning, huh? “F*** you, pay me.” Also, Paulie could do anything. Especially run up bills on the joint’s credit. And why not? Nobody’s gonna pay for it anyway. And as soon as the deliveries are made in the front door, you move the stuff out the back and sell it at a discount. You take a two hundred dollar case of booze and you sell it for a hundred. It doesn’t matter. It’s all profit. And then finally, when there’s nothing left, when you can’t borrow another buck from the bank or buy another case of booze, you bust the joint out. You light a match.”

    When the CTU says “No way, there’s *totally* enough money”, they’re backing Rauner, and giving Springfield another reason to stick it to Chicago.

    Rahm-hate has totally blinded some folks.

  • 843. harry potter  |  June 13, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    I wonder how CPS and the city will pay for all the work surrounding the water testing for lead.

  • 844. harry potter  |  June 21, 2016 at 10:35 am

    I’m going to make a prediction about the lead found in the water at CPS schools and the budget. I think CPS will use this information to close down schools saying they are unsafe. Part of how they’ll pay for all the repairs will be from savings of closed schools and from laid off staff. If there’s going to be 45 kids in a classroom anyways, there can be fewer schools with more kids in them. Schools with safe measurements of lead will be receiving schools. Just my prediction. It would make sense, even if it is terrible policy.

  • 845. Lotty  |  June 21, 2016 at 10:41 am

    I have heard that as a remedy to the 39% per student funding cut, some schools are ADDING extra classes.
    Does anyone know how exactly this works? I can see how it will intially seem to raise the amount of money a school receives. However, if every school starts asking for more money for extra students, won’t it just further reduce the %per student every school receives since the funding pot is fixed dollar amount? And won’t this plan also raise that school expenses, offsetting this extra funding? Maybe they plan on just getting the money then canceling the extra classes and ending up with furloughs and overcrowding? Like I said, enlighten me, because I just don’t understand this plan.

  • 846. harry potter  |  June 21, 2016 at 10:48 am

    Adding students will increase funding, but you will then have more students to serve. Still looking at numbers in the 40’s for classrooms.

    I also wonder if CPS plans to eliminate Ready To Learn classrooms. They were supposed to call people last week and while only being a week delayed is actually “on time” for CPS, I suspect they won’t re-open any state funded PreK programs this fall if there’s no money. Head Start is federally funded, so that should run, but RTL is state funded. No state funding = no program.

  • 847. Chris  |  June 21, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    ” I suspect they won’t re-open any state funded PreK programs this fall if there’s no money”

    If there’s no state-funding, then there’ll be no state-funded program. Nothing to “suspect”–that’s a lead pipe lock.

    I agree that the lead tests are a likely basis for closing more schools, too. But I also think that there is a solid basis for closing more schools based on student population and usage rates (probably NOT the ones that CPS will necessarily close…), so I don’t necessarily see that as a horrible thing.

    I also think that CPS may use the principal exodus to close some schools.

  • 848. harry potter  |  June 21, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    @847, I think there won’t be enough principals qualified to take leadership at all the schools. Or they’ll have to ease up the district requirements for those who hold type 75’s. It doesn’t help that the state changed its requirements a few years ago making it much harder to get a 75, so on that end it could be challenging.

    I also wonder when CPS will decide if its going to open up schools or not and when it will send out lay off notices?

  • 849. Chris  |  June 21, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    “I also wonder when CPS will decide if its going to open up schools or not and when it will send out lay off notices?”

    I hope this does NOT happen but:

    The layoff notices will probably go out on Friday, July 1–which will “preserve cash” (ie, have perhaps thousands w/o pay) until (at least) after the property tax bills get paid.

    They will probably wait until the day before teachers are supposed to be at the schools to decide whether school starts or not.

  • 850. harry potter  |  June 21, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    Except teachers aren’t paid over the summer anymore. Their pay is divided up over the school year instead, so not sure if that will actually save any money outside of those who would lose their health insurance. Or is there some other place they’d save with that date? I hope it doesn’t happen though either. What a terrible blow to the economy not to mention the loss at the school level.

  • 851. harry potter  |  June 30, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    So, how does the budget agreement work out in specifics for CPS this fall? Other than the ability to increase taxes in the city to pay for pensions, what does the additional funding do for CPS? Is it enough?

  • 852. Chicago School GPS  |  July 15, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    Not sure how long these numbers will stick but this is what schools are expecting so far:

  • 853. mk  |  October 23, 2016 at 10:30 pm

    See this article from 10/23/2016 on some of the problems with 403b retirement plans that would replace defined benefit pension plans for teachers in many states.

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