August Board Meeting (Zombies!)

 

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What's happening at the Board meeting today?  Well, the CTU planned a protest. I'm sure there's lots of talk about this new extended learning thing, and the layoffs vs. edujobs vs. TIF funding debate.  The heat in the classrooms at Track E schools is all but guaranteed to get some air time.  There are also probably a couple of important items snuck into the reports and policy changes, as well as a couple of big and easy items that are being fed to the press.  But that's all the usual.  I'm crashing on something else but I'm always curious about items withdrawn from consideration before the meeting, or postponed during the meeting -- pushed back so that the Board doesn't ruin its 100 percent agreement streak going back years now.  

 

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  • Not sure, but regarding TIF, the Raise Your Hand Coalition has launched an email campaign asking aldermen and the Mayor to return the TIF surplus to CPS and other taxing bodies. If you are interested in sending an email in support of this, go to:
    http://www.noto37.org/GiveBackTIF/

  • I would have to say, having attended today's Board meeting from 10:30AM to 1:40 PM, that it was a Board meeting like none other I have ever seen. The Board President Mary B. Richardson-Lowry began the meeting by saying the Board would not approve the budget as submitted to them and would consider it a "draft." I was shocked, never before has a proposed budget not been fully supported by the Board.

    The primary issue was the lack of a reserve fund in the proposed budget. Ms. Ferguson, the CPS CFO, presented an oral plan to refinance some of CPS's existing tax exempt bonds and transfer an as yet undetermined amount of that savings to replenish the reserve fund. It was also revealed at the meeting the $800 million in short term borrowing authorized by the Board at the special meeting on June 15th had not yet taken place. (see CPS Board report 10-0615-RS3)

    Many, many, laid off teachers were at the meeting and complaining not just about being laid off, but how it was done and about the re-hiring process. One displaced teacher stated a principal informed her that she would have been hired by the school but she had too much seniority and cost too much, even though she was very well qualified. Mr. Huberman indicated that if that was what took place it was wrong and CPS central had given no such marching orders to any principal in the system. Teachers sitting around me did not seem to believe Mr. Huberman.

    I made comments based on a review of the CPS FY 2011 budget that should shortly be up on Access Living's website or at least I hope it is. I did make one comment about the refinancing of bonds indicating I hoped CPS would not touch its variable rate bonds because they were spread against derviaties to create what is called a synthetic fixed rate or so it is hoped at any rate. It would be a very big loser to open up that pandora's box right now. The Board President assured me CPS was aware of that issue.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    So this means schools will open without a passed budget. I wonder if a draft will suffice for ISBE.
    Schools will have to use their internal accounts to pay for things ordered since many vendors are not accepting POs.

  • actually on TV Lewis asked the questions "Will the kids have fun? Are they engaged? and other pertinant questions. Perhaps it was not her most profound moment, but at least she is in the media spotlight.

  • Oh please. Don't be ridiculous.

    Nice try, though.

  • It would also help the Board's credibility if they would actually solicit the Union's input on decisions that affect teachers and students. I know, I know - CRAZY!

  • here's the wbez update on the budget changes -- ferguson sounds pretty unsure about what they're doing

    http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/Content.aspx?audioID=44027

  • Amen brother (or sister). Schmidt will be the circus ringleader moving forward.

  • Kids today consume information differently than we did as kids. Computer-based instruction (e-learning) has a place in the education mix, but this latest scheme sounds more like a stick to poke CTU with instead of exploring innovative new learning technologies.

  • "Helps kids"?!? You must not be a teacher or parent.
    As a parent of a Chicago school, I would pull my kid out of a school that mandated he sit in front of a computer to do drill and kill for 90 minutes. I cannot imagine any middle-class parent that would allow such a thing.
    Let these kids have enrichment programs, the arts, and museums after school.

  • And when will these children exercise. PE classes are offered only quarterly at some elementary schools. Also, a study was reported by NPR on how brains need time off from activity to reflect and process information. Constant activity is not beneficial.

  • You make two really good points regarding technology as an educational tool. But 90 minutes, five days a week? My point is that middle-class children spend some of their after-school hours taking music, dance, athletics, etc. Some go to after school daycare where they may be do crafts or practice their chess game. Some of these programs offer enrollment in language or arts class; others may have field trips to museums. Why can't we invest our taxes in sending children who are supposedly denied access to these enrichment programs go to after-school park district programs instead of more time in front of a computer? I'm sure there could be snacks offered elsewhere.

  • wbez's "cheat sheet" is back -- here's linda lutton and allison cuttie talking about the board meeting and the budget restructuring mess http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/content.aspx?audioID=44034

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