AM News: Voucher Proposal Defeated

Students Walk Out of School to Protest Budget Cuts WBEZ:  The line of students leaving
Whitney Young stretched for nearly three city blocks...Morgan Park attack leaves 2 teens wounded Sun Times:  Two teens were shot in the Morgan Park neighborhood
on the Far South
Side Wednesday evening... All-girls charter school offers unique curriculum
Defender:  Keyana Gage enrolled in an all-girl's charter school at
the recommendation of her former school because the endless
opportunities to excel were unmatched, she said...Fenger H.S. principal: Things have gotten better here
Defender:  The Defender was granted a rare inside look at the
South Side...Voice of the People, May. 06
Tribune:  Upon reading "Momentum for choice" (Editorial, April 23), I was struck
by the disconnect between using state funds for private school vouchers
and the economic crisis facing Chicago Public Schools.

Filed under: Daily News Roundup


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  • isn't the defender the paper that said huberman was doing a good job?

    now Fenger is ok? what about the daily fights at the school and the rest of the general high schools?

    I guess it is ok for urban youth and school staff to be subjected to systemic violence on a daley basis.

    Overall, Huberman gets favorable marks
    Fifteen months into job, public schools CEO has a few thumbs up
    by Wendell Hutson

  • On the defeat of SB2494 the voucher bill. I think the Chicago Tribune's article today on the defeat of this bill written by Ray Long and Michelle Manchir was distorted. First of all while both the Illinois Education Association and the Illinois Federation of Teachers opposed this bill, members of the House who recieved PAC money from both of these groups could be found voting both in favor of the bill and against the bill. The failure of this bill was not based on the arm twisting of labor unions, but rather on the many, many, problems with the bill itself.

    Moreover, these two unions were not SB2494's only opponents, I spent many clock hours opposing this bill on the basis of its denial of special education rights to families of children who accepted the voucher, as did the Learning Disabilities Association of Illinois and numerous other adovactes for students with disabilities. The ACLU opposed this bill and actively lobbied against it, an organization that CPS Board member Dr. Tariq Butt is an officer of, the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB)also opposed this bill. In fact Dr. Butt was present at the IASB Board meeting where this bill was discussed and there is no evidence he indicated in anyway he supported this bill. So apparently even inside CPS itself there was opposition to the bill.

    The debate itself was serious and all sides were very critical of CPS. Now we need to move on and fund public education in our state.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Thank you, Rod, for your comments. I'm sure your insights on this matter are much closer to the Truth than the distorted reports we get from the Tribune and Sun-Times.

    There is this narrative out there that teachers and their labor unions are to blame for public education's woes, and only stories that fit that narrative see the light of day in Chicago's mainstream media.

    It's a sad situation.

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    so lets see here we have an acting officer and a director so who is in charge?

    FRAYND DONALD 13740 Turn Around Schools Acting Officer

    ANDERSON ALAN 13740 Turn Around Schools Director School Turnaround

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    my bad we have 3 directors, one acting officer, one manager so 5 people running the show.

    PACE ADRIENNE 13740 Turn Around Schools Turnaround Support Specialist 52298.45

    ANDERSON ALAN 13740 Turn Around Schools Director of School Turnaround 96404.35

    WILLIAMS BARBARA 13740 Turn Around Schools Retiree

    ELLIS CARLA 13740 Turn Around Schools Turnaround School Admin 5789.63

    EPINGER CHANEL 13740 Turn Around Schools Senior Office Clerk 27651.56

    FRAYND DONALD 13740 Turn Around Schools Acting Officer

    DOUGHTY GAVIN 13740 Turn Around Schools Director of School Turnaround

    MCCARTHY GLEN 13740 Turn Around Schools Turnaround Project Manager 61022.75

    MILLER KURT 13740 Turn Around Schools Project Manager - Esp 70995.40

    AQUINO MARIA 13740 Turn Around Schools Manager of School Turnaround

    JOSSERAND RANDEL 13740 Turn Around Schools Turnaround School Admin 115597.53

    CURVEY-JOHNSON RUKIYA 13740 Turn Around Schools Director of School Turnaround

    salaries do not include office expenses and consultants

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    m klonsky says that it was downstate republicans scared vouchers would come to their districts that doomed the bill --

    but that was an argument spread by the union allies so i'm not sure where that leaves us. did the unions kill it, or did someone or something else?

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    I am not surprised about the Morgan Park violence. A teacher was threatened and had her tires slashed at Chicago Agricultural High School in Mt. Greenwood on Thursday. Principal Hook is trying to bury the story and only suspended the student for one day. Other faculty have expressed fear that the violence at Chicago Agriculture is getting worse because in the attempt to keep disciplinary paper work at minimum, administration is letting students off easy, thus the chaos is growing within the building.

  • thanks as always, rod. here's jim broadway's equally interesting take on the voucher defeat, which i would link to if i could find it online:

    Vouchers' defeat in House stunning

    By Jim Broadway, Publisher, State School News Service

    Late Wednesday morning SSNS heard from a source on the House floor that SB 2494, the voucher bill, would come to a vote "in about 15 minutes." Hours passed. A reasonable theory was the bill was a vote or two shy and some arm-twisting was going on.

    But shortly after 3 p.m. the debate commenced. It was passionate on all sides. Predicting an individual legislator's vote was difficult. There was no pattern, no clear positions within the voting blocs.

    Democrats were split but seemed generally against the bill. Republicans were also divided but seemed generally to favor it. The Black Caucus was split. The Hispanic legislators seemed most united in favor.

    When the roll was called and HB 2494 got just 48 votes, Rep. Kevin Joyce (D-Chicago) quickly asked to have the bill held for "postponed consideration," to keep his bill clinging to a thread of life.

    A bill must receive at least 47 votes to be put on that status. It means that the bill will be treated as if Tuesday's vote had never been taken. No roll call is posted on the legislature's web site. But Joyce has a printout. He knows who voted how.

    Ordinarily, that helps a sponsor figure out whom to persuade to switch. But that is possible when only a few switchers are needed. To move 12 from "no" to "yes" is a feat we do not recall ever seeing done.

    Technically, SB 2494 remains pending. As legislative reality, however, it is a dead bill as now drafted.

    Argument had little to do with learning

    The debate was as stormy as it was long. It lasted two hours or more, pitting friend against friend.

    Consider two suburban Republicans: One wept as she begged colleagues save poor children from their failing schools; the other scowled and accused her colleagues of ignoring "the majority" in favor of the few, and of ignoring the constitution's mandate to provide an adequate education for all children.

    Of the 400,000 Chicago Public Schools students, the bill would benefit just an estimated 30,000.

    Two arguments were muted in the debate: Studies showing voucher students' learning is just similar to that of their demographic peers in public schools were countered with studies showing the opposite. Fear of unconstitutionally supporting religion was dismissed by court findings that voucher benefits go to individuals rather than religious institutions.

    Two arguments had traction: Helping the few (with a better environment, not academically) and leaving the rest behind was a concern. Further degrading the public schools by "skimming" of the "best and brightest" through vouchers was another.

    Timing was a factor. If the House vote had quickly followed the vote in the Senate - where 20 of the 22 Republicans voted "yes" - the measure probably would have sailed through the House. But with a week to respond, education groups (all of them, not just teachers) had time to lobby the House.

    SB 2494 provided a textbook case on lobbying (it's not really a bad word), and the debate was one of the most dramatic in recent memory.

    House ready for pension bonds vote

    After rejecting a plan favored by Gov. Pat Quinn to give the state's pension systems a $1.9 billion IOU for FY 2011 and borrowing about the same amount, the House decided Wednesday to borrow it all.

    On a 61-56 mostly partisan vote, the House adopted Amendment 3 to SB 3514, which would authorize a $4.1 billion bond issue. A third reading vote is likely today. Senate concurrence should follow quickly.

    Republicans railed against increasing state debt, but Rep. Barbara Currie (D-Chicago) challenged them to say where to cut $4 billion from the state budget, a necessity if the pension funds are not borrowed.

    "Where's your list" of cuts, she demanded, after reminding the Republicans that they have been in session since January. The GOP has opposed a tax increase and borrowing, but they have not offered any specific proposals to cut spending.

    April COGFA report depressing

    The FY 2011 budget being crafted is based on fiscal reports that just get darker by the month. A report by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability for April contained more bad news.

    Illinois seems to be resisting economic recovery in employment, consumer spending and, especially, in revenue flowing to the state.

    While revenue through April was up $198 million, "if $1.411 billion in gains from federal sources is excluded, all other revenues are off a staggering $1.213 billion," COGFA said. "Virtually all revenue sources have felt the recession's impact...."

    "Through April, gross personal income tax has fallen $697 million, or $629 million net of refunds. Sales tax receipts are off a disastrous $461 million, while gross corporate income tax is down $382 million, or $315 million net of refunds. Inheritance tax has declined by $51 million and public utility taxes by $84 million. All of the other revenue sources net an additional decline of $47 million."

    Special ed 'hold-harmless' considered

    In spite of currently dismal state revenue figures, an effort is under way to get $17.1 million in FY 2009 supplemental appropriations to hold school districts and special education cooperatives "harmless" from the effects of a special education funding change.

    A few years ago, support for "extraordinary" special education costs was converted to grants based on student enrollment. Subsequently, programs with large extraordinary expense claims would have had huge deficits without hold-harmless dollars.

    As an amendment to HB 2270, Sen. Gary Forby (D-Benton) seeks to continue such funding this year. Forby is a tenacious legislator and often succeeds in difficult situations, but this will be a challenge.

    Surcharge for capital construction

    Because more than 50 cities and five counties opted out of video gambling that the state relied on heavily to pay debt service on the $31 billion capital program enacted in 2009, another way of tapping gambling interests' revenues is under consideration.

    House Amendment 2 to SB 3146 would impose a surcharge on the sale or exchange of capital assets owned by license holders under Illinois horse racing and riverboat gambling laws. The bill is sponsored in the House by Rep. Will Burns (D-Chicago).

    In the findings section of his amendment, Burns said the opting-out threatens to delay capital projects and keep unemployment rates high for two years or more unless the dollars are replaced in some way.

    The bill also includes prohibitions against locating certain gambling facilities and activities within 500 feet of a school.

    Over the next few days, legislators are going to have to find dozens of ways, such as this, to fix problems they created, however unwittingly, in recent years with disastrous effects on state revenue.

    if you're not already signed up for stateschoolnews, you should be:

  • About 700 students gathered in front of Chicago Public Schools headquarters Wednesday to protest district budget cuts that are estimated at about $368 million(out of the so-called $600 million deficit) and CEO Ron Huberman's pay raise for next school year. Ron Huberman said last night on the 9 pm Foxs news station that he has taken a pay decrease every year that he has been CEO for the Chicago Public Schools. Ron Huberman also said that every CPS non-union employee who makes over $50,000 per year would be taking a 7% decrease in pay next school year because they will be taking 21 unpaid furlough days (including Ron Huberman). Here is a list of Ron Huberman CPS leadership team salaries for next school year and the salaries of CEO Arne Duncan's leadership team for the 2008-2009 school year: Ron Huberman, CEO, $230,000.00 (Arne Duncan, CEO, $204,000.00); Diana Ferguson, CFO, $205,000.00 (Pedro Martinez, CFO, $165,000.00); Alicia Winckler, CO of Human Capital, $205,000.00 (Ascencion Juarez, CO of Human Capital, $157,000.00); Barbara Watkins, CEO, ? (Barbara Watkins, CEO, $183,750.00);Arshele Stevens, CIO, see financial & personnel implications (Robert Runcie, CIO, $170,500.00); Robert Runcie, CAO, see financial & personnel implications (Marion Hammonds, CAO, $170,000.00); Debbie Duskey, CSSO, see financial & personnel implications (Renee Mitchell, CSSO, $156,000.00); Adam Case, COS, see financial & personnel implications (Bryan Samuels, CFO, $156,000.00) Pat Taylor, COO, $165,000.00 (not filled, COO, $143,000.00); Chief Area Officers, $151,131.43 (Area Instructional Officers, $144,000.00); Meliiolu Steele, AMPS Officer, $151,131.43(?); Eilean Rudden, Deputy Director OSS, $151,000.00 (Deputy Director OSS, $145,709.31); Michael Stelle, DOS, $150,000.00 (?); Sara Kremsher, CPO, $149,874.00 (no such position); Jaime Guzman, NSCEO, see financial & performance implications (Joshua Edelman, NSCEO, $145,000.00); Monique Bonds, COCO, $140,000.00 (?, COCO); Adrienne Hiegel, PMO, see f&pi ( no such position); James OReilly, PMO, see f&pi (no such position); Jerusha Rogers, CCPO, see f&pi (?); Alan Anderson, DCEO for Human Capital, see f&pi (?); and Donald Fraynds, EDO for School Turnaround, see f&pi (Donald Fraynds, EDO for School Turnaround, ?). Ron Huberman said he has cut central office employees "to the bone" at the last board meeting. P.S.- District 299 bloggers, please feel free to fill in the blanks or make any corrections. Thanking you in advance.

  • Obviously a Hook cheerleader. Hook is no David Gilligan. Gilligan did a far superior job of supporting faculty than the current administration. Even Hamilton in her brief time managed to back up faculty better. Hook likes to avoid confrontation and hide in the office or bathroom. In fact he failed to show up for the Fall semester report card pick-up. It is time to accept the fact that the environment has turned for the worse at Chicago Agricultural and faculty's concerns are being ignored.

  • Not Yet

    The voucher bill is on the House calendar for May 28th.

  • Ag school? Hype around Ag? You're kidding, right? Who would send their kid there if they had any other choice? The only kids at Ag are the ones who couldn't test into a good high school!

  • a liberal argument for vouchers? occasional guest blogger and freelance journalist megan cottrell has some thoughts:

  • dumber than ten dogs.

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