AM News: Funding Fight Continues

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School funding pushed Sun Times:  Upset about proposed cuts in the CPS system, a parent and teacher coalition protested on the lawn of
Lane Tech High School Sunday, demanding their elected
officials stand up to keep cuts at bay... A ray of hope for preschools: cash for construction
Catalyst:  Last year, $45 million in state funds were set aside
for construction of
preschool classrooms. However, advocates say that a required
dollar-for-dollar match from each preschool will prevent many from
accessing the money... Walt's
daughter delighted by Disney school kids
Sun Times:  Walt
Disney Magnet in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood definitely would have
been her dad's kind of school, Diane Disney Miller declared after
viewing a 1½-hour multimedia tribute to her father by Disney
kindergarten through eighth-graders... CPS sued by parent group. Columbia Chronicle:  The fight continues, with little
progress made in two years of court dates... Principal Suspended After Complaining
About Students, Faculty On Facebook
Huffington Post:  A Catholic school principal on the Southwest Side
has been disciplined for postings she made recently on Facebook.  [Voucher and school closing updates are in comments below.]

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  • I am very glad that CPS parents and teachers are protesting together over impending budget cuts that could lead to larger class sizes and layoffs. The Lane Tech event on Sunday got very good press coverage.

    The Raise Your Hand Coalition, however, seems to be sending out two different messages. One message is that the General Assembly should pass a 2010 k-12 education budget that maintains funding equal to that of last year's levels. The other message is that the General Assembly should pass HB 174. The Coalition is silent on property taxes.

    Currently HB 174 is sitting in the House Rules Committee and it is going nowhere. HB 174 as amended changes Illinois Income Tax Act. Increases the income tax rate for individuals, trusts, and estates from 3% to 5%. Increases the income tax rate for corporations from 4.8% to 5%.It increases the residential real property tax credit from 5% to 10%. Increases the limitation on the education expense credit from $500 to $1,000. Increases the percentage of the earned income tax credit from 5% of the federal tax credit to 15% in 2009 and thereafter. Governor Quinn no longer supports this bill and in his budget proposal requested only a 1% income tax increase with all the funds going to education and none to human services.

    As of Friday, Governor Quinn had no sponsor for his scaled back income tax increase and there is no bill pending to that effect, unless it is effectively a shell bill. The bill currently sitting in the Senate Appropriations II Committee is SB3880 , this is the proposal coming from Governor Quinn with its massive budget cuts for education. Senators Donne E. Trotter and John M. Sullivan are key players in all of this along with the leaders of the Senate and House. An income tax increase doesn't seem to be going anywhere in the House whether the Assembly adjourns on May 7, May 31 or Oct. 31. There's no stomach to vote for an income tax increase just before an election. By the way Governor Quinn is losing this election based on his call for income tax increases, three of the four major polls show Brady ahead.

    There are rumors that the General Assembly will push a lump sum budget similar to what was done last year when lawmakers simply sent the governor a pile of cash, leaving it up to him and state agencies to figure out how to manage the funds, which generally were not enough to cover a full year's worth of spending. Governor Quinn if given this power may implement the cuts in his proposed budget or he may attack the Human Services budget, which was cut the threads last year, and reduce cuts to schools.

    Here is the latest polling data on this issue from the Paul Simon Institute

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    I agree! If we as parents want to sustain funding for our children, we must be willing to put our money where our mouths are! I have two kids in CPS and am willing to pay more taxes to keep their awesome school, awesome!

  • In reply to teacherparent:

    I'm not willing to pay one cent more than I already do to educate other people's children.

    I feel the current appropriations are more than fair.

    Pay for your own children.

  • In reply to Danaidh:

    Agree with DOC. We owe it to children and we owe it to our future selves, with or without children.

    To turn a phrase, "It's the FUTURE economy, stupid"

  • I don't think anyone's arguing that there should be no public school system. Right now, during a recession, there's going to be a certain amount of pushback against any form of tax increase.

    What I see when I look at parents and teachers rallying against education cuts is people wanting what they benefit from (in their case schools) not cut, but maybe not so concerned about the plight of the home health care workers or patients who are also getting cut. In other words, cut the other guys programs not mine.

    Maybe there are cheaper ways to deliver education than the traditional teacher oriented way. At the high school level, why not add in distance learning where a teacher is filmed at one location and beamed into multiple schools. Instead of a teacher at the satellite locations, have an aid. Or maybe employ other forms of distance learning. This would also have the benefit of a broader variety of electives available at each school.

  • In reply to cermakRd:

    I think this is a good idea. Just have someone create a series of video lectures and let students watch TV to learn. Think of all the money we could save on teachers and school buildings!

    Or make it interactive. A single teacher could educate thousands and thousands (and thousands!) of students each class period through the strategic use of technology. Why pay hundreds of teachers to educate thousands of students when we could pay just one?

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    I don't think it would scale up quite that well. I was thinking more 4 satellites to every real facility. The aid in the satellites would be for both classroom management and also for facilitator of class discussions, grading, etc.

    Also, the distance learning could come in handy for students on homebound or parents who want to homeschool but need a little assistance.

  • Yes. The MANDATE part is key. Enough with promised funds and shams (the lottery). That is my only fear about raising taxes ... concern over where the money might really be going.

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