AM News: Pressure Still On Unions, Special Programs

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Huberman Still Wants Union ConcessionsWBEZ: Changes in funding from the state mean schools might not be facing as big a deficit as originally thought... Magnet, Gifted Schools May Lose Teachers Fox:  FOX Chicago News has learned
that regional magnet and gifted schools -- which each typically
have three extra teachers--may lose one or two of them...  Schools boss: Some class sizes won't go up Sun Times:  Schools CEO Ron Huberman
says more "dramatic" cuts could be ahead. "We feel we ought to be able
to look at the books and find some savings..."
CPS won't raise elementary class size, will restore kindergarten ... Tribune:  Last-minute changes to state funding were not enough to take all teacher layoffs off the table, however, and schools chief Ron Huberman said high school class sizes could still go up to 33 students this fall, from about 31.

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  • You must have a very small school to have such unanimity of opinion on this matter. The teachers and staff at my school have a much broader range of views.

    I, myself, couldn't disagree with you more strongly. I am not willing to give up my raise.

    (1) When the contract was negotiated, both sides gave up some things to get others. Our 4% raise had an opportunity cost.

    (2) Some of the employee co-pays will increase next year, and there is a possibility the insurance deductions may also increase.

    (3) Huberman says the deficit is now $370 million (it changes all the time). Savings from the pay increase are pegged at $135 million. That means the deficit will still be at $235 million--and Huberman will still have to make cuts.

    (4) This is not a one-time or one-year deal. If we capitulate, the Board will be back next year, and the next, and the next asking for more and more concessions.

    (5) For those thinking of retiring in the next few years, their pensions are based on the highest 4-years salaries in the last decade. For them, foregoing their raises affects their pensions for as many years as they live to collect them.

    (6) The union doesn't hire or fire teachers and other staff, nor are we responsible for those the Board does hire/fire. By your logic, if we all take a 50% cut in pay, the Board would be able to hire double the number of teachers and staff, and it's selfish of us not to do so. Think of the families!

    Actually, I don't feel selfish in wanting my promised raises for the next two years.

  • Thank you Ron Huberman (aka 'Daleys poodle')...I have never seen our union so united (despite what some say on here). He has made us stronger in our fight against the Board and it's wasteful ways. I think we should do a forensic audit of the boards budget....I'll bet we could save more than the projected deficit.
    When Huberman gives back his huge pay raise over what Duncan was paid and no person at the board makes more than a teacher then we might consider giving up our raise.
    We have a contract. So does Huberman with the board. I am sure he expects to collect his over inflated salary. We will get our small 4% raise.

  • Has anyone actually seen the people cuts made in central office? We've all seen the ads for openings which means they have not stopped hiring. How is it that they predict lower enrollment in schools, yet need more people in CO? How many paper pushers and number crunchers does he need?
    I don't hear Huberman saying he'll take a cut in his pay. The furlough days don't put a dimple in his take home pay. He's making more than Duncan did.
    Danny hit it right. They are still going to do cuts and you bet they will ask us to give up more than just the 4%.

  • It does make more sense to forgo the raises, especially in the face of a bitter public (private sector jobs been declining in pay and benefits for years). However, if they open up the contract, does this make the entire agreement re-negotiable? Excuse my potentially bad metaphor, but if a doctor puts me under to take out my appendix, does this surgery also put my heart and other vital organs at risk?

  • From WBEZ: "Schools chief Ron Huberman pushed again yesterday for teachers to give up their scheduled raises

  • In a post I made yesterday I raised the issue of the amount of money owed to CPS by the State. I noted that in CPS statements and Press Releases it had declined by about 12%. I contacted ISBE this morning and they were able to verify that Comptroller transferred last week to CPS $45,355,128.

    This is a very good development for CPS and should have been included in the CPS press release issued yesterday.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Thank you, Rod. That is very helpful information and certainly should have been mention by CPS.

    So, that explains why the Board now claims the State owes it $352 million, rather than $400 million.

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    I'm glad you guys are doing your homework!!!! As I said earlier, my very reliable source said that the money was owed to CPS and not given to them by Quinn. I hate it when people come on here with propoganda. Do nto buy i to what Hooterman and the media are telling you. I'm going to change my user name to "I TOLD YOU SO."

  • Your perception is twisted.

    The Union has not said that these teachers should be protected indefinitely and without exception. The Union has said that there is a policy in place, mutually agreed upon by CPS and CTU, for the removal of unsatisfactory tenured teachers. It is not unreasonable, nor is it bad PR, to insist that the policy be followed.

    The bad PR comes from people with preconceived ideological agendas inflicting their own fictional realities onto the CTU.

  • It is not greedy or selfish to expect CPS to be honest and open in its budget analyses. (Hint: it's not.)
    It is not greedy or selfish to expect CPS to fulfill their contactual obligations.
    (Hint: they decline to do so on a regular basis as it is.)
    It is not greedy or selfish to push CPS to solve its budget crisis while prioritizing classroom teachers and, therefore, students.
    (Hint: they won't.)

    I'll gladly and happily forego 2% of my raise this year if the following conditions are met:

    1) CPS must submit to a forensic budget audit performed by a CTU selected firm.
    2) CPS must cut 2% of every single contract it has - without exception. Cut mine? Cut everyone's.
    3) CPS must put a halt to closing public schools in favor of privatized charters at a cost of $300+ million per year.
    4) CPS must insist that the mayor reallocate back to education half the CPS tax money that TIF districts collect for the next three years.
    5) CPS must agree to terminate zero tenured teachers without cause for the next three years and must eliminate any hiring contracts or agreements with Teach for America.
    6) CPS must agree to eliminate IDS - Instructional Delivery System - at a savings of $30-$60 million. Give teachers the professional autonomy to decide what they teach and how best to teach it.
    7) Effective in the year 2012, CPS must agree to a strict limit class sizes - below 30 - using a formula that actually results in class sizes below 30.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Great list but do you really think CPS is willing to negotiate? They are demanding but not giving anything in return except our job and that is iffy. Huberman did state to the effect that the teacher cut list will get smaller - not go away.

  • In reply to ladyfair:

    No, I don't think CPS is willing to negotiate in the least. And that is why I am unwilling to give up our contractual raise. Concessions are fine - but what concessions will CPS make? They are totally lacking the single most important factor when it comes concessions and negotiations - good faith.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Dear CPS teachers, if you give up your 4% raises or agree to reduce your raises to 2%, you will be cutting your own throats! DON'T DO IT!

  • If Huberman sat down with a dozen educators this weekend I guarantee we could come up with the 400 or so million "missing" dollars without affecting class size, students, or teachers.

  • Re: I don't think anyone disagrees that the books should be open. (at 3:01 PM)

    CPS, CEO Huberman, and Mayor Daley disagree.

  • Has anyone seen this?
    http://www.suntimes.com/news/cityhall/2445672,tif-audit-063010.article

    Chicago taxpayers lost $1.2 million in funds generated by the now-defunct Central Loop tax-increment-financing district

  • Vote on that 4% right now? Before we have an opportunity to look at the CPS budget in detail and offer alternative solutions that won't affect students and classroom size? Really? Seriously? Immediately? Sorry, that just doesn't seem like a very smart plan to me.

    Step number one really is non-negotiable: prove to us that there is no other way to resolve the budget gap for next year. CPS can do that by letting the Union look at the CPS budget in all its glory. CPS refuses to prioritize classroom teaching and learning - there are hundreds of millions of dollars to be saved in CPS operating expenses without raising class sizes or damaging students.

  • And what's to stop CPS from just making those cuts anyway or making them next year? The fact is, teacher layoffs are going to happen either way, so you might as well stand on the principle of the contract being the contract.

  • No, it has everything to do with that. The deal is, people agree to work for municipal governments and they seldom earn as much as they could in the private sector. And they don't get bonuses or big raises when the economy is hot. But the deal is, when the economy is cool, they get some extra insulation from the awfulness in the private sector.

    It is that security that has drawn people to these types of jobs. Take it away and it might be hard to attract new people to the work down the road when the economy has recovered again.

  • You can't possibly be serious.

    Why would the incoming CTU leadership make arrangements to vote immediately on contract concessions without a) sufficient information to determine the reality of the CPS budget/priority crisis, or b) putting forth alternative solutions first?

    That would be irresponsible and foolish. One simply does not make contract concessions without all the information laid out on the table. Besides, before anyone considers giving up the 4% increases negotiations must take place. And CPS refuses to negotiate in good faith.

    (Planning at this stage, in any case, is very difficult and not only due to the dearth of information from CPS. The current leadership has functionally shut down the CTU offices since their runoff election defeat. Call someone there. Anyone. And try getting that phone call returned. It won't happen.)

  • You're right. Vote NOW!

    Information is not important to democracy. We should all vote blindly and trust the good will of CPS to make it all right in the end. Collecting, disseminating, and discussing facts about serious matters is dumb.

    I suggest you vote by finding a job at a charter school. Good luck with that.

  • Screw all these old, tired, incompetent teachers. They're going to get huge, fat, Cadillac pensions with or without this 4% raise! And on top of all that they can't teach worth a damn - look at the kids that are "graduating". All these old timers should get a 10% cut so we can keep all the new young teachers who actually give a damn.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Bravo!!!!!

  • You are all forgetting something. The 4% raise only diminishes the deficit by less than 1/3. There will still be cuts and teachers will lose their jobs. You may vote yes to forego the raise, but you may still lose your job.
    Think on this: Huberman did NOT say the system/CO is running barebones. He did NOT say there is a freeze on hiring. He did NOT say insurance premiums will be held frozen. He did NOT say no more consultant contracts. He did NOT say every one will keep their jobs for the next three years.

    It's what he is NOT saying that we should be concentrating on.

  • True.

    Or you could have an idiot pissant for a boss. I've had more of those than anything else during my time in CPS.

  • Daley not moving on TIF money to schools is a real PR gaffe. How about you protesting to get Daley to help out for real and get some of that TIF money into the schools instead of his political crony friends. ohhh sorry, you sound like one of his political friends.

  • Ahhh - "your colleagues". Then you are not a teacher. Gee, there's a surprise.

    Tell me - how much waste is there that could be eliminated and how many teachers would it save? What priority shifts could CPS make to save our students and our schools? What other solutions are there that won't harm students? Do you think the classroom should be the LAST area touched by layoffs? Why aren't there cuts being made across the board with ALL contracts? Where is the proof that CPS has made the cuts it claims to have made? (By all appearances, Huberman has hired nearly as many CO staff as he has laid off - most often at higher salaries to boot.) I believe a forensic audit would cost less than the immediate referendum you so desire. And would ultimately save jobs without concessions.

    In any case, we do not have *enough* information ("perfect" information is irrelevant) to make a reasonable determiniation. CPS is not to be trusted. It is no coincidence that CPS has kept such a tight lid on their budgetary priorities and pushed such a public (and venemous) campaign against workers in the schools. However, that is a campaign they will eventually lose unless we give in to their incomptence. Teachers and the CTU want to be part of the solution. CPS refuses to allow that participation outside of a 4% pay freeze. (See the post June 29, 2010 3:04 PM.)

    CPS manipulation of real people, our profession, and the very livelihoods of their employees because *they* have screwed the pooch is disgusting.

  • Classic divide and conquer.

    The power of 30,000 is in unity.

  • Huberman & Company should open the books to CTU and be receptive to program cuts and other cost-saving measures suggested by CTU. Fine. But who speaks for the children? How can parents/taxpayers be certain these suggested measures are in the best interest of educating our children and not just about protecting union jobs? I am certain there is plenty of fat to be trimmed - I'm just not convinced CTU should be wielding the knife.

  • In reply to mrobertson718:

    Mayfair Dad,
    Then who should be wielding the knife? It is the teachers who know which programs work and which are a waste. It is not a one size fits all when it comes to each grade level and each student. What may work for your child may not work for your neighbor's child. What works in one school may not work in another.
    Most teachers are more concerned with the students in the classroom. You can't shove 33-37 students in a room and expect all the students to grasp what is taught and make gains.

  • In reply to ladyfair:

    A blue-ribbon panel of education experts -- not Huberman (Daley puppet)and his number-crunching MBAs, and not CTU, who is committed to saving teachers' pay raises even if it means putting other teachers out of work. How do we measure excellence? How do we determine what programs are effective? Neither Huberman nor CTU are in a position to make un-biased decisions, each has something to gain and something to lose. Maybe this whole budget issue needs to come before Federal arbitration.

  • In reply to mrobertson718:

    Good idea but...(there is always that but) will the panel, blue ribbon or federal arbitration be able to meet and get this settled before September when the bulk of schools open?
    Gee, taxpayers via the federal government bailed out banks but where is the help when schools need it?

  • In reply to mrobertson718:

    Giving up the 4% raise and/or the step raise will NOT save teachers from losing their job. CPS will still be in the red.

  • In reply to ladyfair:

    The first thing I want to say is that teachers on this list are having a serious discussion of the fiscal implications of the current contract and that is good to see. I applaud all of those teachers who are discussing this issue and I do not believe in any way it is appropriate for the Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Tribune, Juan Rangel of UNO, or Leon Finney of the Woodlawn Organization to attempt to pressure the CTU into giving up the scheduled 4% salary increase. It is totally appropriate, for Mr. Huberman to present that proposal to the union as part of a bargain for layoff reductions.

    Because the current State funding for education is in crisis, there is no question that the CPS budget office has to estimate various reimbursement scenarios. I do, however, believe it is a very good sign that the Comptroller has been able to make some major payments in what the State owes CPS for various categorical reimbursements over the last two weeks. Assuming that the current budget deficit of $370 million projected by CPS is reasonable, then the question of a property tax increase looms even larger in this whole discussion.

    As I have said before even with the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law, commonly called

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    This seems like very good advice to me.

    I strongly oppose any concessions, but if the deficit can be brought down to, say, $135 million, and CPS would guarantee a Union committee access to its budget, then I might be willing to swallow the bitter pill of no raise and no step increases for one year.

    I suspect, however, that CPS will find itself in the same dire straits next year, and ask for even more concessions.

    Those who want an "immediate vote" on the matter, however, are going to be disappointed. Rest assured that no deal can be achieved without a vote of the CTU membership, but it is unlikely to come to that until the start of the new school year.

    Although the new team starts tomorrow, they will be out of town next week for the AFT convention. Further, it's going to take some time to find their bearings in their new jobs.

    Many teachers and PSRP members are also out of town on vacation and travel, or will be at sometime during the summer.

    We don't even know that Huberman has made an offer yet. He seems to be negotiating in the press, but has yet to do so with the Union leadership.

    The Union would probably want to hold informational meetings at different sites around the city to encourage input. The House of Delegates would likely want to be consulted, but the expense of an additional meeting may be prohibitive.

    A vote must be well advertised (and there remains the problem that many teachers and PSRPs may be out of town), and voting sites must be secured. Not all schools are open, and members must be told exactly where they can go to vote.

    No, I don't see an "immediate" vote happening; nor should it.

  • Yeaaaaaah!!!! That's the spirit. I totally agree with you.

  • Sorry, but I want my raise. I work too damn hard for it. If the state and city had enough money to fund the Olympic bid why is there all of a sudden a deficit that can't be fixed. If you know anything about government, remember government lie and can not be trusted. If you're too lazy to look at the CPS budget at least look at the state budget, it's available through the tedious process associated with the Freedom of Information Act.

  • As my parents always said, "If you lay down with dogs, your're going to get fleas."

  • So, because you are afraid of losing your job you are asking your colleagues to take pay cuts? Even senior teachers near retirement whose pensions will be calculated on the cut amount thus losing them thousands of dollars?

    Since only a minority of teachers will be cut, and, in the end, newer teachers will be the first to go (along with a handful of others), I would not bet that you would win that vote.

  • As a Jew, I take some umbrage from this comment. Non-Christians can be honest, too. Though I can't speak to the demons honesty.

  • Amen.

    Parents, students, and teachers individually, and especially collectively, have a far better sense of what works for students. I wonder why the Board hasn't brought in these other constituents? Hmmmm. I wonder. Hmmmm.

  • Why would anyone want to vote to reopen the contract? I believe that the posters who are suggesting that ridiculous idea are UPC hacks who sit at their computers all day trying to divide the union. They do not want Karen Lewis nor did they want Debbie Lynch. They sabotaged Debbie Lynch during her term. Karen Lewis needs to be very aware of the big salaries/perks that some of these UPC hacks receive and that they have had years to hone their dirty tricks. We need to stay united against CPS and opening a contract is never a good idea. Ask around, educate yourself, read the contract book and you will learn about your union. We went on strike many times up until 1987 and we never had a strike fund-young or old we perservered.

  • You forgot one too:

    10) Puchase new bridges for trolls to hide under.

  • Hee hee. Cute. :)

    #9 is wrong, though. Teachers get two weeks of paid vacation and a handful of paid holidays during the regular school year. Thanks for the amusement!

    The very fact that the list seems as incredibly outrageous as the existence of unicorns speaks volumes about the Board of Ed.

  • How many high schools are on Track E? And which ones?

  • So teachers should be the martyrs here? The teachers, and even the union, are not responsible for the financial mess of CPS. That is the Board and Daley's responsibility and until you see them doing something to clean it up, I would think it unwise to offer yourself as a scapegoat.

  • CPS has stated they will lay off thousands of teachers in budget cuts.
    CPS has insisted on elimination of a contractually obligated 4% raise.
    CTU has stated that they want comprehensive budget information and a seat at the table to help resolve budget problems without damaging student learning.

    Just out of curiosity, what demands have been made? What else am I missing?

  • It is sad that teachers have been unjustly villified in this ongoing debate about our state's financial troubles. Why is it every time our elected officials screw up, its the working people --teachers, cops, firemen, furloughed city workers -- who bear the brunt? That being said, the new leadership CTU has a huge PR challenge/opportunity to win over the support of parents. Huberman has no credibility as an instructional leader, so CTU needs to position themselves as the only credible voice concerning what is in the best interest of educating children. Right now parents view CTU as more concerned with protecting jobs, raises, pensions (which is understandable especially during a recession) but this appears greedy to parents. To protect the 4% raise, would CTU agree to a longer school day? If high-stakes testing is the wrong way to measure academic progress, what is the right way? Great schools require great teachers. If CTU's mantra was "EXCELLENCE" instead of "JOBS", they would find more support from parents.

  • In reply to mrobertson718:

    Mayfair Dad, I agree with your post and feel confident that you'll see many of the things you mention from the new CTU leadership. If you don't, well, then they won't last long.

  • I agree - our new leadership needs to take on a massive and immediate PR campaign to build public support for teachers and students. It is something that has been totally absent from the CTU for years. President Karen Lewis, through her media appearances, is already making a dent in negative attitudes towards teachers but that's not enough. It needs to be a full-on, multi-pronged PR assault.

  • What is CPS likely to concede? When's the last time they conceded anything?

  • @anonymous: Yes, as a matter of fact, I do support HB174 which provides realistic and sustainable funding for education and human services through an increase in state income tax. And I look forward to learning from the new leadership of CTU how they will drive the school reform movement, not obstruct it. Because like the other 90% of the US workforce that is not unionized, I don't really care about your union issues except that Chicago has one of the shortest school days/years of any major city in the US and your pension plan is bankrupting the state. Tell me how you're going to improve the quality of education in Chicago (how about raise the high school graduation rate past 50%) and quit carping about tenure. The only job security the rest of us have is the quality of our work.

  • @anonymous: it is exactly your sense of entitlement that weakens the educational system by protecting under-performing teachers through tenure. No one is suggesting rotating teachers throughout the year. That's a really dumb assertion that has no bearing on the discussion thread. Great teachers should earn more than LeBron James; perhaps you would be better off steaming lattes at Starbucks. And FYI, the rest of the US workforce is comprised of the parents of the children you teach. We are stakeholders, too.

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