AM News: Schools Stockpiling Cash Reserves

image from webmedia.newseum.orgSchools stockpile large amounts of money in fund balances
Tribune:  Nearly half of districts reported fund balances of 50
percent or higher, and 70 school districts -- many in the Chicago area
... 'Stand For Children' group standing up for billionaires, not kids
Austin Weekly:  This Friday, representatives of the Chicago Teachers
Union and Stand for Children Illinois will be present at New Birth
Christian Center, 5335 W. Lemoyne, to discuss competing legislative
proposals concerning teacher evaluation... Bed Bugs Found in Urbana Dorm Room Fox:  Bed bugs have found their way into Evans Hall at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign... Cullerton Wants School Districts To Fork Up the Cash
ChicagoTalks:  Dave Urbanek, the TRS public information officer, said
there are 87,000 retired teachers in Illinois that collect a pension...
MORE NEWS BELOW
Nearly 1 in 5 in Chicago aren't sure about their next meal
Chicago Muckraker: How could a family in Chicago be above the poverty
line but still struggling to feed their kids? Read on...Thornridge freshmen-only plan a 'political football'
Tribune: The plan to convert a high school into a freshmen-only campus
is supposed to bring together students from 13 south suburbs, but
instead it has divided a community... Create a separate district for Chicago charter schools
Rod Estvan: There will likely be about 50,000 charter school and
contract students in CPS next year. According to the FY 2011 budget,
CPS projected 37 charter schools with 82 campuses and nine contract
schools across the city, with 44,300 students...  Spring school fundraisers
Wells Park Bulldog:  Mark your calendars, Ravenswood residents!
Schools in your area are holding numerous events this spring to raise
money for their students and programs...

Filed under: Daily News Roundup

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  • Morning Alex. Today, it's the Trib's front page headline that is misleading. For us in Chicago, the reserve of $352 million, 7% of operating revenue, is not a stockpile. The fifth graph tells us that it is customary to have 25% of a district's operating revenue in reserve.

    But the Trib's front page headline today fosters a different impression.

  • Yes many parents there are excited that the Truth school will finally get a makeover now that all the ...are gone. And if any of em do get in? Behave and get good grades or good bye. After all, that's good business, a lousy employee needs to be let go. Too bad Truth couldn't do that. Heaven help the children of the students now enrolling at Quest when they seek free and quality public education. It won't exist.

  • In relation to my letter in Catalyst. I want everyone to know that I believe charter schools are not fully cost neutral for public schools, but despite all their problems they are public schools. By establishing a completely independent Charter authority for these schools we begin to create a more clear separation from CPS. As I stated in the letter, CPS traditional schools could be closed with an independent charter authority just as they are being closed now. Let the charter schools stand on their own.

    I have had discussions with charter operators who feel strongly CPS has not appropriately supported their schools' programs that were cost intensive, like special education in particular. There should be a formal process to resolve these funding disputes and an independent authority should do this. Acting CEO Mazany can see clearly sitting on top of CPS how all of these new charter schools are confusing the existing system and that is why he suggested freezing new openings, which was greeted with a very big NO from the Tribune editorial board and the business community.

    Some folks have already raised the issue that an independent charter authority would not press weaker charter schools and force fiscal accountability, effectively it would be just a rubber stamp operation. Well, very few on this blog would argue that CPS has not been exactly that now for years. CPS needs to effectively run its traditional schools and let another stand alone agency oversee or not oversee the charters as the case may be. Hope springs eternal so I think an independent authority could be effective. We have a charter law which establishes the funding requirements for charters, let them operate with these funds and make their own way in life. Those charters which cannot survive truly independent existences will fail, those that can will survive.

    Teachers in traditional schools and community activists who have been fighting against charter openings have legitimate concerns, but folks the train has left the station. There are over 40,000 students in these schools now and more to come every year. There are families who want their children in these schools as there are even more families who want their children in good traditional schools in their communities. Let the charter wars come to an end.

    Do I think charter schools in Chicago would support the type of separation I discuss in my Catalyst letter, in fact some do right now. Dislike of the CPS central office is not limited to traditional schools and teachers in them. Are some charters hiding behind CPS and incapable of separation under an independent statewide charter authorizer that would report to the ISBE, yes I believe so. These charters are paying big money to EMO parent operations for very few services, they are short changing public school students and these types of behaviors will lead to their fiscal failure in the long run. Teachers in these charter schools are also victims of being short changed. It is time for consistent integrity in the charter school process, my proposal is an attempt to achieve that.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Your voice needs to be heard. Where is analytical media coverage of charter schools?

  • from CTU

    Parents and students from CPS schools across the city
    WHAT: Protest and picket against school closings and consolidations
    WHEN: Friday - April 1, 2011

    10:00 am

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