Huberman Calls Emergency Board Meeting

idealbookshelf16_jm.jpgThe Board has just announced an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss various resolutions related to CPS's budget woes.  

Chicago Board of Education Calls Special Board Meeting Regarding Budget Deficit Resulting From State Cuts in Education Funding and Delayed Payments

 

Chicago Board of Education members at a special board meeting Tuesday will consider several resolutions aimed at confronting the District's fiscal crisis that has resulted from significant cuts in state funding and delayed payments of more than $400 million in state aid. 

 

Board members will meet at 9:30 a.m. in their fifth floor chambers, 125 S. Clark. Public participation will be at approximately 10 a.m. for 30 minutes with comments restricted to matters on the agenda.

 

Board members will consider the following:

 

n                          A resolution delegating authority to the Chief Executive Officer to honorably terminate/discharge tenured and probationary appointed teachers who are displaced as a result of cost-saving measures being implemented to address financial necessities for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years. The resolution includes terminations/dismissals that result from increases in class size.

 

n                          A Board report giving the Chief Executive Officer the authority to increase class sizes up to 35 students per class if necessary.

 

n                          Resolutions concerning the Board's ability to fund contractual wage and salary increases with CPS union members in fiscal year 2011.

 

n                          A resolution authorizing establishment of a line of credit of up to $800 million due to uncertainty in state funding as well as current and potential further delays in state payments.

 

Chicago Public Schools serves approximately 409,000 students in more than 670 schools. It is the third-largest school district in the nation.

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  • Wow.This is really scary. If passed, it appears teachers cut for budgetary reasons will get unemployment apps and COBRA. Solidarity now!

  • No one should have that much power. The guy who knows nothing about education wants to actually fire 3,000 teachers this year and more for next year. He has job security why should he care about anyone else.

  • It is the corporate model to slash and burn and save as many profits -- in this case, tax funds -- for those at the top. It has been happening for years in the private sector, which is why teachers do not seem to have much public support. In this case, students are being burned, too.

  • I find it interesting that he chose to request this emergency meeting and have these items on his agenda on a Friday; on the day of the election of the union party/chief; and after the lawsuit on class size was filed. HOW VERY SNEAKY!! This must be his payback and desire to break the power of the union and cause the voice of the teachers to be relegated to a whisper. FIGHT BACK! I truly believe that if you don't fight now you will gradually lose all of the things we fought so hard to win in the 70's, 80's, and 90's.

  • In reply to RondaGoldman:

    I could be reading incorrectly, but with my very limited knowledge of contracts and outdated experience in reporting on boards, it appears that Huberman set it up so that teachers have little power to fight back legally. It is my understanding that teachers cannot grieve class size. Moreover, I have found nothing in the contract about teachers being dismissed for budgetary reasons and/or increase in class size. In Appendix H, which protects teachers who are displaced, the closest language to budgetary/class size lay-offs is "the educational focus of the attendance center is changed." Meanwhile, an article in Crain's pointed out that the BOE is not going to break the contract regarding teacher raises. Therefore, my understanding is that if teachers fight back with the most powerful tool -- strikes -- than we are breaking the contract and all in void. Are there other alternatives? Are there any laws that prevent videotaping classrooms so we can gain the support of the community (especially after 37 kids are crammed in rooms)?

  • In reply to RondaGoldman:

    What an interesting agenda...

    First of all, the timing suggests that regardless of how both UPC and CORE have insisted that the Board ardently wants the *other* in power, the Board couldn't care less.

    The Board does, however, intend to fund our salary increases. This is a surprise, but it is also the only thing that--if they did--would open our contract. Maybe they don't want to do that.

    As far as honorably terminating those laid-off, I've suspected this was coming. Appendix H specifically targets four reasons why teachers may become displaced, but budgetary-financial reasons are not among them. It wouldn't make sense to lay off so many teachers, only to pay them at the full salary as "displaced" teachers. This will hit people hard.

    Increasing class sizes will be the death knell of middle class families in this city as they leave in droves for the suburbs. Who wants their children in a class of 35? But the contract, as is, allows the Board unilaterally to decide the matter.

    Could all this be a bluff on Huberman's part? I mean, the Board giving him the authority to do these things doesn't mean he will actually *do* them, right? His history in other jobs is frightening in this respect.

  • My students are scared of the increase in class size. I am not sure how they know about this, but my 8th period class and I had a discussion today about what is going to happen next year. The conversation started because someone had mentioned that our 8th period was small (we had visiting students from another class). My student stated that he thinks it is going to be a mess next year because, in his words, "We can't stand to be close to each other now. It's gonna be bad when we are crammed into a room with 34 other mad kids." So, in case anyone is wondering, or even cares, the students understand what this means to them and they are NOT happy about it. Not at all.
    We, the adults, do need to do whatever we can to make them feel safe. I fear that in the neighborhood schools (I am at an Englewood school) there is going to be a huge safety issue. One that many can only imagine. God help us!

  • Danny -- Don't be so sure about the salaries. This could be the 2nd time the Board votes no in the past 10 years.

  • Foxed.
    By granting the raise it will put the union in a position of being the villain.
    The survivors will get the raise while god knows how many of our fellows
    will get the ax. But there is also opportunity here. Let the union have a
    plebiscite to see if we are willing to freeze salaries to save jobs. I think we would
    vote to forgo the raise. Then let the world know we did it, not the board.
    Then we could through it right back in their faces.

  • In reply to rbusch:

    Again, I dont know much about contract law, but if the union agrees to open the contract to address freeze wages, doesnt this open up the contract for other changes? My guess is that a 20 percent reduction in force is saving the board more than a four percent freeze on raises. And I dont see any evidence that the BOE's priority is educating the children of Chicago.

  • In reply to rbusch:

    CORE has always said we will work together and unite as one force to fight the destruction of public education. So saying its CORE's responsibility is just another excuse to pass the buck.

    Join in the fight and become part of the solution rather and waiting for someone to save you. Save yourself by working together.

    That is what a union does.

    Work together.

  • In reply to rbusch:

    On Jun 12, 2010 2:12 PM, "Mary Orr" wrote:

    Hello Mr. Russo-

    My name is Mary Margaret Orr and I was a candidate for Recording Secretary on Marilyn Stewart's UPC Slate.

    I only began reading the 299 blog recently...no offense to you...but it was hard to run for office and read all of the negative words going back and forth.

    I know that all sides were throwing mud, but I am hoping that now the negative words will end.

    Call me naive, but I teach in an inclusion Kindergarten and I teach my children to work as a team. Although the election did not go my way, I am ready to stand behind Ms. Lewis and show my support for the sake of the Chicago Teachers Union.

    I do believe that Mayor Daley and Mr. Huberman are ready to dissect the Chicago Teachers Union one member at a time. With 19 years in and 15 more to go, I pray that there will be a Chicago Teachers Union to protect me and my members.

    So, my request to you is that you post this in hopes of ending the negative rhetoric. We are a union of professionals and we need to pull to together to show our Unity. I posted on the Chicago Teachers Union Facebook page on Thursday night my desire for a unified group no matter the direction of the vote. I meant it then and I mean it now.

    Marilyn Stewart has spoken to Ms. Lewis and has offered her a transition team to help and has assured Ms. Lewis that the fight is no longer with her, but all of us united to fight the Board of Education.

    Thank you for your 299 Blog.

    In Unity-

    Mary Margaret Orr

    Extremely Proud Chicago Teachers Union Member

    Haugan Elementary School

  • In reply to ProudCTUMember1:

    Thank you, Mary! I look forward to working with you. I realize that there will still be rhetoric, but I will assume that 100% of it will come from provocateurs and anonymous trolls, and assume that every union member--UPC or any other caucus or unaligned--is together in this thing, and we will collaborate to take back our school system.

    Thank you for your integrity, and see you soon.
    teacher.
    xian proud CTU member

  • In reply to ProudCTUMember1:

    Far from it.
    Far from being na

  • In reply to rbusch:

    Bob - As a parent of two CPS students that spends most of my volunteer hours working for the school. I have to say it's not just a ploy. It truly is the right thing for teachers to do. Push back. Say you won't take the increase (this year) and realize that the contract was negotiated at a different time. Most of your student's parents got little to no raise this year and some a great number have been laid off as well due to economic hardship all around. Teachers do appear greedy to not be taking this into consideration. Especially because it does appear that teachers, as a whole, are willing to sacrifice optimal student learning environment and your own colleagues. If you want teaching to be rewarded and considered a noble profession it's time to step up and step back. Negotiate - make sure you're saving jobs and reducing class size, make sure that any who are displaced are treated fairly. I'm not a fan of Huberman or the board but in all honesty when it comes down to my kids they are hurt most by SOME teachers who spend more time fighting to get automatic increased compensation rather than working to be a better teacher worthy of better compensation. I believe that the biggest problem teachers face is a PR problem but they have caused it themselves - it's time to set things right.

  • hinz says that the line in the board agenda about meeting its obligations is to prevent the union from arguing it's allowed to strike

    http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/blogs/hinz.pl

    can teachers strike?

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    The Union cannot strike as long as the contract is in force (through June 2012).

    Not paying the raises opens up the contract, and there is always the possibility of a strike if that happens.

  • This cannot stand. Why do people accept this ridiculous narrative?

    "We owe the teachers $100 million that we already knew about! Let's fund the culture of chaos, borrow $450 million for capital projects, announce completely unsupported new afterschool programs, and then borrow $800 million for ???. It's the fault of the teacher salaries because if we don't do this, there will be a strike that no one has suggested! Oh also, we are going to ignore all of the rules and toss world class teachers on the street because it's tough economic times. We have the money to pay them, but we don't care. There's patronage to feed!"

    What the heck are they talking about? Can we get some decent analysis here?

    Alexander--you are always happy to weigh in on gossipy issues. Would it be possible to destroy this fuzzy logic instead of just posting press releases from CPS?

  • In reply to xian:

    Xian

    You might add "and then borrow $800 million when we already have $400 million plus in reserves..."

    From the very first PowerPoint presentation on the budget, Huberman has laid out the things the Board *can* do on its own without either the legislature or the Union. So, while they asked the state for more money and strongly hinted the Union should make concessions, they have focused on what they are able to do as things now stand.

    From Rules of the Board of Education of the City of Chicago (Revised July 2009)

    "Sec. 4-6. Layoff of Employees and Reductions in Force. The Chief Executive Officer shall decide whether and when a layoff of employees or a reduction in the Board

  • In reply to Danaidh:

    Agreed. This was my concern as well. The problem is that if the district is not held accountable to prove the need for RIF, they can essentially gut the teaching force at the detriment of students unilaterally and mercilessly.

    I realize that the anonymous attack dogs will mock this, but that's essential what Rhee was caught doing in DC. Given that the Board has had no problem fabricating a deficit in every preceding year, it's not too weird to ask for full disclosure.

    There are children's lives at stake. All we are asking for is complete disclosure of how the numbers are being arrived at. This does not constitute any of the following:
    1. Unsourced powerpoints or powerpoints that point to non-existent or undisclosed documents.
    2. "Budget information" that only consists of Position Files. That tell us a great deal about salaries, but the bulk of the waste in budget is not in salaries.
    3. Poorly constructed graphs of projections based on the Tuffy Rhodes principle (3 Home Runs opening day means he will hit 486 HRs this year).

    Give us a full, sourced, itemized listing of projected expenditures and let us work with you to balance the budget.

    CPS has fails at this every single year and still manages to maintain Mayoral leadership. It's a culture of failure.

    It's time to either let the Chicago community fix the process, or give back all of our hard earned money--municipal, state and federal and let us do it ourselves.

    xian the teacher from CTU

  • It might not happen, but we would take the advantage on the PR war. And we DO need community support. We have been reactive enough...why must our union always WAIT to respond...why can we not initiate? Pro-action baby!

  • At this point we only have the agenda for Tuesday's meeting, we all need to read the various resolutions in detail. I intend on speaking at the public session on Tuesday, if I can get on the speakers list, in opposition to the resolution relating to class size. Access Living's policy department and CEO on Thursday have authorized me to oppose this class size increase as being against the interests of students with disabilities who are being educated in regular classrooms for most of the school day.

    Unfortunately the Board is only allowing 30 minutes for the public to speak at this meeting. Monday morning I will be heading down to the Board to pick up the packet for this meeting.

    I have many questions about what the Board is doing, but I want to read the resolutions before I comment further, By the way I thought Ms Orr's statement was simply great and I was very glad to see it even as a non-union member.

    Rod Estvan

  • I'm sorry if it was unclear, Respectful Mr. Troll, but I meant "our" as in belonging to the people of the city of Chicago--not the Mayor, or the banks or the clouted folks.

    I would love to let the people of the city decide...

  • The time to apply for other positions was months ago. No city schools are hiring except for extremely high needs areas. Only the suburbs, and few at that, have openings. The suburbs have pretty much finished their hiring. Surely, most teachers saw the writing on the wall last fall when this all came out and were already applying.
    There really are no jobs out there at this point and weren't many back in February. It is probably time for those out of a teaching position to look for another field. I don't say this to be unkind, but to be realistic. Suburban districts hire February through May for the most part....they don't do 95% of their hiring the last week of August like the city!

  • Is our fight with Huberman or with the appointed board members?
    Yes.

    Huberman is appointed by the Mayor. The Board of Education (it really should be the Board of Corporation since none of them are education professionals in any capacity) are also appointed by the Mayor. The BOard is simply a rubber stamping body for they Mayor and for Huberman.

  • Have you read the latest audit from 2009? Could you tell what was spent on consultants or expenses for 'Officers' of CPS? Do you know what 'Other' and 'Other Fixed Charges' covers? Can you determine what salaries are for central office verses people who work in the schools?

    These are the things that a forensic audit will uncover. The released 2009 audit gives an overview of what was spent and what came in and the auditors verified this. This audit does not uncover money spent foolishly or that three people were hired to do a job in central office that one person could handle easily.

    When you need to look closely at your home budget, don't you go line by line on every little bill and determine if it is really needed? CPS only released the numbers of positions eliminated but didn't release the number of the just hired. And how can you say you need to cut 3,000 teachers yet put out ads out of state for 500 new teacher positions? There is no hiring freeze for central office since just recently they had advertised several openings.

    Does the 2009 audit give us answers? That audit was released December 2009 for fiscal year ending June, 2009. Do you really want to wait 6 more months for the 'official' 2010 audit to be released?

  • The best journalists don't have to "dig". They get all the information they need from CPS press releases.

  • In reply to MisterSwift:

    Mister Swift, I thought I was fluent in the language of satire, but I think you even fooled me at first. Your posts are as entertaining as they are perceptive. Thanks.

  • In reply to MisterSwift:

    Actually I have to wonder if any of the Board members have or have had their own children in the Chicago Public School system. I don't see how any of the current board actually represents "us" as parents if they are considering these types of classroom cuts, before looking into every other option to keep our children's education it first priority.

    I do not understand where Daley keeps on finding these spineless puppets he can dance around. Shameless and shameful.

  • I don't see how this relates to the discussion. We are talking about public determination of schooling, not a single vote for supreme dictator with no checks or balances on that power.

    As you put so eloquently, "A union fights for it is membership."

    But the needs of teachers have very much to do with the needs of the community and students.

  • "how is that a single vote for a supreme dictator?"
    Xian already answered that one: no checks and balances.
    The suburbs all have mayors or town managers, yet the citizens of those towns vote for the school board. The school board then selects a superintendent. And the teachers in the suburbs are unionized, too.
    btw, I am a CPS parent, too, and what I want for my son, I want for my students.

  • Do a little education research and you'll see the correlations between most of the things you've mentioned and improved student achievement. Except for charters - something like 2 out of 3 charters nationwide result in lower student achievement. And turnarounds alter the student body enough that it's not a meaningful comparison.

  • Really? If you are going to troll, you should at least be more convincing since you seem to be unwilling to argue directly effectively against any of my points.

    I asked a simple question. Do current board members have their children enrolled or have had their children in the past enrolled in Chicago Public Schools? I don't give a rats bottom if teachers send their kids elsewhere, they are not the one's setting the policies that we have to live with for the next few years.

    Really if you honestly think there are high minded independent individuals on the board of education you would not have had to reply the way you did. You sir instead are simply an idiot. Name one person on the board that has any streak of independence? The number of unanimous votes for any issue is over 95% (more like 99%), far worse than our current set of Daley appointed aldermen. Sure there are mandates, but these simply do not even come up for votes, what they vote for is more along the lines of raising their personal expenditures (which admittedly they rescinded under pressure), signing off on "fixed" contracts, and allowing the seating of multiple unqualified "leaders" of the CPS.

    Also how really are TIFs helping schools? Sure there are new buildings being developed, but those tax dollars were supposed to be for operational use in the schools, not drained off for politically driven capital programs (or unneeded corporate welfare programs.)

    Of course you also attack Jovarsky, so it obvious you are some Daley hack (who's probably getting paid to write these replies, which admittedly has to pay better now then it ever did in the recent past given the shear volume of anti-Daley sentiment now on display.) Javorsky is one of the few people who have tried to honestly report on what I am sure history will find as Daley's greatest crime, the looting of the city through these private slush funds.

    Troll go back to hiding underneath your bridge, this "goat" it too old and knowledgeable for your "gruff".

  • http://credo.stanford.edu/

  • Just because the state isn't paying their bills on time doesn't mean that we should take the board's word on everything.

    In their complete neglect of FOIA law, they are essentially a group of lawbreakers.

    We have studied the budget. If you would like to engage in a reasonable discussion, by all means, put some evidence to your argument.

  • You may be a college professor and you may be Steve Garvey. Please back up your statements.

  • That's a good point. Thanks for reminding us that stories about corporate altruism are the real ones. After all, businesses are developed to help the community, not to make money.

  • Why is it that I am getting guff for my 4% raise because the economy is in such trouble. I don't remember anyone begging the city to pay us more when the economy was booming. That's what I'll never understand.

    Companies, individuals, people who work in the private sector are able to reap the benefits of economic success. Whether they receive Christmas bonuses, stock options, or healthy one time bonus payments, when things are going well many people feel the financial impact. Teachers get nothing. We don't get giant balloon payments, we don't get that surprise Xmas check in our envelope. But when times are tough, we are expected to sacrifice.

    I don't think so.

  • In reply to loserboy:

    Yes, and then when they accidentally crash the world economy, they jump over to education and make money hand-over-fist tormenting children and educators.

    xian the teacher

  • As I stated earlier...when the economy was booming were you urging bonus payments to teachers? When the Nasdaq was over 5,000 did you say, "Well, things are awesome, let's siphon some of that money the teacher's way?"

    Of course you didn't. The state stole money from the teacher's pensions to pay other things, the city negotiated the pension payments INSTEAD of raises...the teacher's ALWAYS carry financial hardship on their back and pay the price, but the teachers NEVER feel the benefit of financial success.

    I'm sorry that the state can't pay their bills, but teachers are not Directv service or the monthly manicure...there are so many other things in the budget that should be cut first.

  • Why FOIA? A lack of transparency in government operations.

    CPS will not release its budget beyond a generic PowerPoint presentation. It is a public document. Likewise, documents relating to teacher cuts, budgetary actions, TIF funds, etc. are public. CPS will not release those materials either. There is MUCH more to the budget deficit than CPS and the media would have you believe.

  • Media. Duh.

  • roz rossi article points out that the resolutions seem to contradict each other -- one says there's not enough money, the other says there is

    http://www.suntimes.com/news/education/2384906,CST-NWS-cps12.article

  • What is ironic is if CPS fires all these teachers, they can go on unemployment for 18months. Where does the government save money?Sure CPS doesn't have to spend as much, but now more financial responsibility will fall on the state.

  • There is already a system in place that rewards good teachers and eliminates bad teachers. The current contract calls for annual raises for teachers. Good teachers receive those raises. Bad teachers may be terminated at the discretion of the principal provided the principal follows the procedures for dismissal in the contract. These procedures are simple and non-grievable.

    Bad teachers are protected by bad principals. They are not protected by the CTU.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    So TRUE! "Bad teachers are protected by bad principals. They are not protected by the CTU."

  • This system already exists. It needs to be implemented.

  • Dear Rod, what did the Bd of Ed packet that you picked up today say?

  • The packet did not declare a fiscal emergency, but stated there was a "financial exigency" that requires giving the CEO the ability to increase class sizes. The word "exigency," is a legal term that allows exeception to constraint on police powers of the state.

    If I have time to speak tomorrow my statement will read as follows:

    Access Living of Chicago Opposes CPS Amending its Current Policy on Class Size

    Presented to the Chicago Board of Education at a Special Meeting Held on June 15, 2010

    My name is Rod Estvan and I am the Education Policy Analyst for Access Living of Chicago, which is a disabilities rights organization. I am here today to speak in opposition to Board Report 10-0615-PO1 which allows the CPS CEO at his determination to increase class sizes for regular education classrooms up to 35 students for FY2011 and FY2012. This policy exempts class sizes for self contained special education classrooms which are determined by ISBE Rules and Regulations.

    I speak to the adverse impact of this potential increase on students with disabilities who are educated in general education classrooms for the majority of their school day. Increasing the average size of classrooms increases pressure on general education teachers who are often required to modify curriculum for students with disabilities in these classrooms and to improve the academic skills of these students. As members of this Board are aware CPS has signed on to the Illinois Race to the Top application and has agreed to implement very major reforms in how teachers are evaluated, the State has also adopted the Performance Evaluation Reform Act of 2010 ("PERA") (Public Act 96-0861). Both of these development require that at least 50% teacher evaluations rating be based on student growth.

    Our fear is that general education teachers faced with larger class sizes will concentrate their efforts on remediating students most likely to show growth and hence impact their performance evaluations.

    Moreover, we have real concerns over this pressure forcing some students with disabilities into segregated educational settings and reversing positive trends the CPS has experienced over the last ten years. The Individual Education Plan (IEP) for CPS students currently in place are based on the presumption of existing class sizes for the time they are in regular education classrooms. The proposed alteration of the existing class sizes raise real concerns for those of us in the advocacy community as to whether what may take place will constitute a massive violation of existing IEPs.

    Access Living fully supports CPS and the State of Illinois in holding teachers accountable for effectively educating students with disabilities, something which has not often been done up to now unless CPS has been litigated against. But it is not just teachers who are accountable, it is the Board of Education which is also accountable for providing the conditions where success and improvement can be realized. The 35 student classroom does not lay the foundation for such success.

    Access Living would urge the CPS to look at other alternatives than simply what is stated in the proposed class size policy, which is that unions agree to major contract modifications including eliminating agreed upon salary increases. Among the alternatives not discussed in any presentation up to now, are increasing property taxes to the maximum allowable by law, eliminating the summer bridge program, and radically curtailing expenditures for turnaround programs for several school years. The maximum amount of savings from this class size increase proposal is only $160 million based on power point presentations CPS gave earlier this year, there are other paths to this $160 million savings that CPS has yet to critically examine.

    Access Living is fully aware of the State level crisis in education funding. In fact we have worked effectively and collaboratively with CPS in Springfield during the last session of the General Assembly. But at least for now, that well has run dry, and CPS needs to examine all sacred cows, including property taxes to prevent this proposed increase in classroom size. Taking away salary increases from teachers should only be on the table once all other options have been exhausted beyond the budget reductions CPS has already implemented.

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Good speech, and I hope you get to deliver it at Tuesday's special Board meeting.

    Regarding the PERA, however, you should remember that it doesn't take effect until AFTER the 2011-12 school year. In fact, CPS will get to phase-in the requirement with about half (300) of its schools in 2012-13, and the remainder the following year.

    Huberman is asking for emergency powers for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years. Thus, it's possible that Board members might think your fears are unfounded.

    You might want to address that.

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Rod, as usual your responses are detailed and factual. You have emerged as a voice of reason for SWD. I cannot imagine how much more difficult it will be for teachers to face 35 students and to differentiate instruction, meet the conditions of an IEP, and deal with the pressure of increasing test scores. I fear that some students who are being taught in general education classrooms may be returned to separate classes as a solution to reducing some of the stressors on the general ed. teacher. LRE could revert to practices from before the settlement agreement. CPS and OSS could be caught between a "rock and a hard place" with ISBE and the court monitor in that they are in the final stages of exiting from the agreement.

  • Our city is NOT as financially strapped as everyone else.

    The idea that other working people are suffering, so we should suffer to while those running the system get to swim in their piles of money like Scrooge McDuck only makes sense if you are the one doing the backstroke.

    But it doesn't really matter. We've asked you to back up your suppositions on multiple occasions and you've just said, "Why should I?" That's not a conversation, it's just you being an obstructionist.

  • "you think that somebody is sitting on stock of cash and hiding it from teachers"

    Actually, yes. $60 million for mandated, scripted curricula. $60 million for high stakes test prep. $300+ million to close neighborhood schools and open non-Union, selective charters. Etc., etc., etc.

  • Thank you for confirming what I suspected. Central Office's argument is that the current round of cuts and doomsday scenarios is based on..."Because I said so".

    Of course there is no official budget draft until August. But that's beside the point.

    We are still getting powerpoints that call for the devastation of hundreds of thousands of children's lives. This powerpoints quote statistics and cite documents that no one has ever seen, and you now confirm do not exist.

    Random poor projections of pension outlays that they are not actually paying and slides about what to cut do nothing to support the specific nature of an alleged deficit and neither do suppositions about other districts.

    To paraphrase that annoying saying we heard when we were kids, "If other people were throwing their kids off a bridge, would you too?"

  • I disagree. This should not be an opportunity to rid the system of under-performers. The time to do that is every year in every school. That is every principal's job. Poor teachers in the classroom are a result of poor training, poor CPS professional development, and poor administration. And yes, of course, sometimes a poor teacher is just a poor teacher. The single biggest obstacle every teacher faces is CPS administration.

    Also, seniority prevents CPS from following the New Orleans model - a constant revolving door of newly graduated, inexperieneced teachers used as cheap, replaceable labor. Sorry, youthful exuberance and enthusiasm does not make up for veteran teaching experience. A 5-year veteran teacher in New Orleans is unusual. If CPS had their way they would fire any teacher with more than 10 years of experience as a cost cutting measure. That's not ok if you're trying to build a professional staff, stable learning environments, and all important relationships with students, parents, and communities.

  • The items mentioned above are in the budget for next year. Next year's money hasn't been spent yet. A reallocation of priorities would go a long, long way to keeping students in classes of reasonable size.

    And the $250 million in TIF money that goes into the Mayor's slush fund is not spent. That's next year's TIF money. Again, a temporary reallocation of funds will save the students.

    So, yes, there are current budget problems in CPS - especially based on the lack of support from the state - but there *are* solutions to the coming year's finances that the Board and the Mayor simply won't consider.

  • This is simply false. Principals have TOO much power as it is. You can be an insanely strong teacher and be pushed out due to politics.

    I think the purpose of a union is to not only protect its members but to improve their lives and their work.

    Management should have the same purpose, but it always seems to come but to punishing rather than supporting.

  • This is not factual. There's close to $1 billion in TIFs now.

    I'm sick of people who don't know jack about our students "trying things". And of course, then they use that spending as an excuse to fire the people who do know what they are doing.

    Innovation is not spurred by more bureaucracy--they are conversely related. Cut the bureaucracy and checks and balances at the bottom and buttress them at the top. Aren't we about "autonomy" these days?

    An autonomous charter can't outperform a neighborhood schools, but that's easy--it's because they don't know what they are doing.

    If the problem is the lack of autonomy, make us autonomous and save the money.

  • I'm a retired principal. Go read the contract. Terminating employment for a poor teacher is straightforward and simple. Does it require paperwork? Yes. But it is not hard to do. It is much easier to do in CPS than any other metro area district.

  • Teachers are not paid enough to live in the 10-15 truly good neighborhood schools. The great schools are great because they draw from communities with money. Plain and simple. Or they draw from communities incredibly dedicated to education. These are often one and the same.
    I live in Rogers Park and over my DEAD body would I send my kid to a neighborhood school. My kids got into a magnet. If they hadn't, I would have kissed my years of experience good bye and moved to the suburbs for a 20K a year pay cut.
    No way is my kid attending school with kids who are in gangs, who are in 3rd/4th grade and can't read, kids who don't do their homework. Teachers can only do so much.

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