Joravsky Rips CPS Salary Increases & Budget Tricks


"In general there's a great deal of
contradictory information regarding basic budgetary matters here. The
truth is a work in progress. If it serves their purpose they'll tell
it one way. And if it doesn't, they'll tell it another." (Do

as We Say, Not as We Do Chicago Reader)


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  • CTU is too busy with in fighting and preventing others from getting in office.

    I want to know why the rest of the media didn't grab this story. Cut from the classroom - but don't look at the raise Huberman gets? He can not possibly feel the pain, we pay for his leased car and a driver for said car.

  • It's another great article from the Reader. You know, the CPS really should be able to cut class size next year.

    Let's start with their overinflated deficit of $1 Billion

    Now let's subtract the $465 million dollars which is the average amount that CPS has overinflated their deficit for the past 8 years only to have the September audit show them with a surplus. This brings are total to $535 million.

    Now let's subtract the $400 million that they are saving from the pension relief the state just granted them and you're down to a $135 million deficit.

    Assuming that Daley out of his concern for the children of Chicago stops taking $300 million in TIF money from education we're up to a $165 million surplus.

    Now with a little belt tightening and a raise freeze for the higher ups, it sounds like we should be able to drop class size from 31 to 29, still give the teachers their raises, and restore the cuts already made to schools.

    No wonder Daley didn't raise the property tax cap the past two years.

    Joe from CORE

  • Ben Joravsky's excellent article again raises issues I have been beating to death on this blog for over two years. One is the CPS Board of Education as a body does not have a budget audit committee. It stopped meeting in 1995 when the Mayor took control over CPS and the body was formally abolished by CPS last year. Second, at this point a very exhaustive independent forensic audit of CPS is in order. Forensic means suitable for use in a court of law, and it is to that standard and potential outcome that forensic accountants generally have to work.

    I have read a statement by the CORE candidate for President of the CTU asking that the union request such a complex audit. This type of auditing goes well beyond what CPS normally has done in its annual audit and is effectively looking for exactly the type of discrepancies Joravsky's article depicts. I have also found problems in my annual review of the CPS budget for special education.

    The total amount of administrative salaries (both central office and area offices) in the system was listed as $223.7 million in FY 2010 about 3.8% of the budget. Joravsky's article to a degree implies that CPS may be practicing outright salary falsification, he is not alone in arguing that point. For example George from Substance FOIAed the CPS salary files and there were employees listed in it that made more than Mr. Huberman did. CPS came back to George and said it was an error.

    The problem is that the salary data given to George was supposedly based on Oracle reports and if that data is wrong the total salaries listed in budget could also be wrong one way or the other. All of this along with the scandal involving Mr. Scott and the SE enrollment list scandal is hurting any creditability CPS has with the public at large, teachers, and parents.

    It is my own opinion that if actual CPS salaries for administration are higher than what the budget lists the total amount is probably not more than 16% of what is listed in the budget based on the type of data Joravsky presented in his article. I doubt that administrative salaries are universally higher than what appears in the budget, but even if it were the case we are actually talking about $35.8 million. But that does equate to about 340 teaching positions.

    I do think CPS has very serious fiscal problems. But I also think that those of us who have for years raised the type of questions Ben Joravsky' article did, have been treated like crackpots. It is high time CPS has public meetings of a budget audit committee, and it is high time that the CPS budget development process become far more transparent than it is.

    Rod Estvan

  • Rod-you are right again and those who post on this blog are often raising the same issues over and over because we are hopeful that someone in authority will care enought to institute change that will have a positive impact on the students and the employees.

  • In reply to anniesullivan:

    Write your alderman and tell him or her about the Reader article and what it says about Huberman's and Bond's, and et al's. salary increases. Let's see what happens. I wrote Fioretti just now.

  • In reply to anniesullivan:

    We certainly owe a debt of gratitude to Ben Joravsky and the Chicago Reader for this excellent and informative article. If you haven't read it, please do.

    The Lynch & Perry PACT team that is challenging Marilyn Stewart's incumbent administration in next month's CTU officer elections has stated that it will demand a forensic audit of Board finances should Huberman decide to ask the Union to open up the contract. It's beginning to look like this should be done regardless of what Huberman does.

    I think this story shows that the Board has no credibility on the issue of school finance. Why the major Chicago media haven't pursued this story with their far greater resources is beyond me, although I suspect it is because they are on the other side. Politicians and the media have worked hand-in-hand to create a narrative that greedy, lazy teachers are to blame for the ills of the behemoth system, and they are simply unwilling to pursue any stories that contradict that narrative.

    We must get the word of Huberman's hypocrisy out to teachers and other school workers. The Mayor whines that teachers must share the sacrifice and give up their 4% raises, while Hubie gets a 12.7% raise. Forget that. No givebacks!

  • You have no idea what you're talking about, which is probably why you are hiding behind anonymity.

    Let me make it simple for you: We DO NEED an audit of the school board's financial records. The Reader Reporter (who has a name--Ben Joravsky) found inconsistencies in the Board's numbers.

    You cannot draw conclusions or make decisions based on incomplete, erroneous, or inaccurate data. We must be able to have financial data we can trust is accurate and complete in order to find solutions to the "budget crisis."

  • "...think one should check their facts before commenting."

    Why don't you take that advice?

    CPS has no credibility on this issue. An item's dollar amount cited *here* does not match the same thing cited *there*.

    There is no transparency; rather, the goal--it seems--is to obfuscate. It even fails the test that 100 million tax filers must sign each year: that to the best of their knowledge and belief, the information is true, correct, and complete.

    Ron Huberman should have to swear the same under penalty of perjury.

  • In reply to Danaidh:

    The public should be able to see where the money is going . . . especially money spent of consultants . . . my friend works for McKinsey and they have a fat deal with the CPS to look at the CPS students being killed issue . . . they also did free work for the Olympic fiasco. Is there a connection there? What other consultants have been hired and why? For how much?

  • In reply to Danaidh:

    I certainly agree with Anonymous April 2, 2010 6:03 AM that the CPS has a serious fiscal problem, I hope this poster is not referring to me in stating "The fringe wants to believe that the $1 Billion deficit is make believe." Now as to the extent that an approved budget "never precisely reflects every actual expenditure," that is an important issue.

    The real question is the actual level of varaince between what is called the "final appropriation" and what is called the "fiscal year actual" by function. The overall audited data on this issue is included in the CPS Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. Blog readers can see the last one by going to:

    Blog readers can see the varaince between the approved and the actual FY 2009 on page 32,and 79. On page 32 we can see that in FY 2009 CPS appropriated $2.61 billion for salaries but actually spent only $2.57 billion. If we look at page 79 we can see in FY 2009 CPS appropriated $1,987,110,000 for teachers salaries and actually spent only $1,975,940,000 or a savings of $11,170,000. The CPS also spent $25,034,000 less in FY 2009 on carrer service salaries than had been apropriated.

    On page 22 of this document we can see the year to year change for administrative support services. In that table we see that in FY2008 CPS spent $206 million on administrative services and in FY2009 CPS spent $233 million of administrative services. A one year increase of $27 million or 13.1%.

    Now in the proposed CPS FY 2009 budget Mr. Duncan wrote: "we continue to manage as efficiently as possible, cutting spending outside the classroom by nearly $100 million." But the truth of the matter was Mr. Duncan increased administrative costs in FY09 and you can also see this on page 31 of the proposed FY09 budget. You can also see on this page that CPS increased direct compensation for administators by 20.9% in one year and reduced benefit costs for administrators.

    What is more disturbing is that if one goes to pages 269 and 270 of the proposed FY2009 budget we can see a year to year comparison of administrative positions. In FY 2008 there were 1,640.9 administrative positions and in FY 2009 there were 1,749.8 administative positions or an increase of 108.9 positions equaling a 6.6% increase in administrative positions.

    Blog readers can see the FY09 budget at:

    Now as to the question of whether or not there was a billion dollar deficit before the pension legislation? I think clearly teachers and parents need to question the numbers being put out by CPS, I can assure you the General Assembly members from outside of Chicago look at these numbers with skepticism.

    Mr. Joravsky's article is only pointing out rather simple inconsistencies in the budget in relation to the message CPS is sending out. I do not think he is arguing that there is not a revenue problem for CPS, rather he is looking at the expenditure side of this equation.

    Rod Estvan

  • The reporter from The Reader is Ben Joravsky, simply the best investigative reporter in the city who doesn't churn out Daley-speak or pretend to be Royko. If you are unfamiliar with his work, check out archived articles from The Reader online. Thank God we have one journalist in town who's not afraid of Daley.

  • I sure miss Vallas, remember he actually reduced his salary twice? Huberman was here for six months and then he gave himself a raise when all of the other (except a select few) were not given a raise. We have only been given one 4% raise in the last five years, no cost of living, nothing. At least Mayor Daley made him turn in one of his cars. Do you know how many millions we have spent on PM staff (it's in the budget) and countless, countless work hours preparing for them? Why has the city and the CTA done away with PM sessions once Huberman left? We need a leader. Please do the right thing, resign, so we and our students can have someone that we can look up too. Mayor Daley you have failed us in your most important mission by sending him over to loot our funds.

  • Would you be kind enough to list what some of those qualifications are? Could you please list one professional success that Ron Huberman has had that would make one thing he could run a lemonade stand let alone CPS? Is it his brilliant track record at CTA that makes him qualified?

  • crain's greg hinz wants to find fault with ben joravsky's numbers but doesn't seem to be able to work up much steam -- do you count days taken without pay as salary reductions or do you just count the annual salary figure? joravsky's point that there's a lot of fat at CO seems to remain uncontested.

  • I have to assume that Mr. Joravsky was examining job titles as opposed to raises in what is called the position files that are linked to names. So if one looks at the CPS Oracle files attached to the CPS FY 2010 budget, under UNIT 10410 - CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Job code 00500060 CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER in FY 2009 the position was listed as $204,422 in FY 2010 the same position was listed as $230,000. By my math that comes to an increase for the position of $25,578 or 12.51%. Mr. Huberman also recieved in FY 2010 a benefit package of $45,115.39 which equates to 19.6% of salary which is as a percentage far below that of the average CPS teacher.

    Because Mr. Huberman is not certified, he is not entitled to participate in the pension fund, I assume he is part of the city fund. So I do not believe Joravsky is wrong, but the issue is a little more complex than a journalistic article can easily present.

    Rod Estvan

  • In FY 2010 CPS budgeted 2.64 billion in salaries inclusive of teachers and non teachers, this included non-certified administrators. For all of these staff (42,082 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions of these positions 25,642 were teaching positions). CPS allocated $1.02 billion in benefits, so the average CPS employee had a benefit package that equalled 38.9% of salary.

    Benefit package components in this figure include:

    Teacher Pension
    Ed Support Personnel Pension
    Hospitalization/Other Comp.
    Unemployment Compensation
    Medicare/Social Security (for non-certified staff)
    Insurance & Worker Compensation

    This is the best data I can provide without doing a very major analysis of teachers step/lane vs benefit payments.

    Rod Estvan

  • here's a press release from CPS giving its side of the budget and salary story -- obviously a response to the jarovsky piece:

    CPS Officials Correct Recent News Report of CPS Budget Facts

    Many Chicago Public Schools Central Office and Citywide employees have been displaced as a result of tough decisions we have had to make to address our budget deficit. We understand that this has created real and significant impacts to families who have counted on their earnings from CPS.

    We also understand the importance of transparency for the actions that we take. So, we will continue to publicly share our progress towards managing the deficit with respect to actions taken with employees. Over the last six months, CPS has had numerous press conferences to outline the changes described below. The timing of this fact sheet is to dispel a recent media publication that inaccurately represents real cuts to Citywide and Central Office positions, as well as individual salaries.

    To summarize actions taken to date:

    n Since January 2009 (when the current administration began), we have reduced the number of positions in Central Office and Citywide departments by over 800. We have clearly laid out through press releases and other information that we committed to reducing Central Office and Citywide positions by 1,000 by the end of the fiscal year. These actions are out of necessity to preserve school-based positions and protect classroom-based learning to the greatest extent possible.

    n We have reduced the number of positions earning over $100K salaries in Central Office and Citywide departments by over 40.

    n Collectively these position reductions have resulted in over $40 million in annualized savings. Additionally, we have made $100 million+ in non-personnel and programmatic reductions

  • substance's george schmidt weighs in on the salaries and budget mess here -- not sure he adds much new information but check it out if you're so inclined§ion=Article

  • I thought the press release by CPS titled " CPS Officials Correct Recent News Report of CPS Budget Facts," was enormously interesting. In its discussion of the reality of an approved budget the press release states: "Once a budget is passed, the annual budget book is a static document that does not change over the course of the year. However, in an organization with a budget as sizable as CPS, it is to be expected that over the year the actual spending in any particular line item may vary slightly from the budget. This is particularly true in difficult budget years, where new conditions force changes."

    While that is correct there is also the requirements of 105 ILCS 5/34 48 written specifically for CPS. This sections deals with revisions to an approved CPS budget. There are procedures CPS is supposed to follow when the approved expenditures in the budget are not consistent with available revenues before the next budget year. Specifically CPS is required under these rules to amend the budget, but this is not done by CEO directive, but rather by the Board itself.

    The amendment to the budget is required to follow the same process as outlined in 105 ILCS 5/34 46 for the original budget. CPS in the press release effectively states it did not have enough money to meet its appropriations and had to amend its budget writing: "All of these cuts occurred in the context of CPS

  • letters to the editor posted by the reader about the huberman regime

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