Consolidation: Eight Down, Many More To Go

Consolidation:  Eight Down, Many More To Go

image from soonerpoll.comTwo thoughts -- you may have others:  (1) The city is shrinking and still has a lot of struggling schools so there will be more changes like the ones proposed yesterday, and (2) the Sun Times somehow till seems to get the news about CPS before everyone else.  Now, onto the consolidation news: Chicago Public Schools deficit up to $720 million Sun Times: A 15th school, Tilton, would slowly "phase out'' of existence, with any new kids in its attendance area picked up by two other schools... CPS marks eight schools for closure; one for phase out:  ome of those on the list were already being phased out...Unfiltered WBEZ:  Listen to Cheat Sheet Thursday during Eight Forty-Eight... Who's next?

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  • The amount of the budget deficit at CPS is extraordinary. There is a structural problem with a system that runs at deficit equal to 7500 teaching positions at 100,000 dollars each. The budget process needs to be review and fix.

  • Some ideas to reduced the budget deficit

    1. Fire the current school board (They are running a deficit)
    2. Cut information technology spending
    3. Make food service private.
    4. Reduced building costs.
    5. Eliminate half of senior year.
    6. Stop giving the ACT. Let ACT use its own people and charge students for their service. (use those testing days for teaching.

  • In reply to Criso:

    Since the current school board sits at the discretion of the mayor, I would imagine it will have changes made to it with the new administration.

    I would agree IT spending right now, in the middle of a fiscal crisis is unnecessary except to keep what currently exists running.

    I don't see how making food service private is going to be much cheaper than what now exists. The vendor may hook folks with a low price up front, but it always goes up over time even if costs remain stable. That private operator expects a profit, after all.

    If by reduced building costs, you mean closing old, in poor repair buildings and moving students to marginally better facilities, maybe, but parents don't like changes, so good luck there.

    I could go for #5. Senior year tends to involve a bit of coasting after taking the college entrance exams for the college bound and an unnecessary waste of time for the career bound.

    I disagree on the ACT. Getting a high ACT score can be a real booster to a student without means because it will likely mean a better financial aid package. The entrance fee can be a disincentive to a student of poverty to even try.

  • In reply to Criso:

    Well, well, well! Welcome to the world of CPS!

  • In reply to Criso:

    I came across articles explaining that Consolidation is not a good idea it will harm more than help.

    EAST LANSING, Mich. (Feb. 1, 2011)

  • In reply to Criso:

    Why do people think that having schools consolidation will solve the problem they should leave the schools a lone and find a better way to help the Children instead of hurting them by combining schools.

  • I agree with you all they care about is politics and money but they never cared about the Children's well Being. I have read a couple of articles about consolidation and they all end up with the same thing it is wrong and it will harm the children instead of helping them.. right now I am in this situation and I just don't know what to think anymore.

  • There is probably little doubt that CPS needs to do some school merging. But if the buildings are not going to be used by traditional schools and charters wants them, then the buildings should be sold to the charters at market rates. Doing that is cost effective.

    CPS is saving only part of what it could by just closing down schools and getting the property off the books. Turning them over to charters causes CPS to assume the bulk of the costs for rehab of the sites, which Catalyst yesterday documented very well. Charters are charged for operational services at CPS sites, but not for larger structural issues, or even major repairs or replacement of heating systems. Holding these buildings become a potential liability for CPS that they can not afford in the brave new world of bankrupt state and city governments.

    The problem is the charters can not afford to buy these buildings outright and currently it is not likely given their weak fiscal standing they can float Illinois Finance Authority Education Revenue bonds to cover the costs. The charters would have to create what are called debt service reserve funds and they can not currently set aside these funds and keep their doors open along with installment payments to the bond holders from what is called a common reserve fund.

    So effectively CPS will be saving very little by these closures. Eventually the walls could come crashing down on the charter schools game for CPS, there is a certain Ponzi scheme aspect to this entire out of control charter expansion process CPS is going through.

    Mr. Mazany is sort of like a figure in a Greek tragedy, he warns his audience watch out bad things are coming if we keep supporting endless charter expansion and then he facilitates it. Why, possibly because like the Greek characters he is controled by powers greater than him, usually Gods. Yes, it must be the Gods that are causing this.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    I like you, Rod.

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    It certainly makes sense fiscally to the charter students' parents that fail or "cut up" and have to pay for remediation/conciliation. Back to the neighborhood school!

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    An unnamed poster who basically argued that if the charter schools did not educate the students they are enrolling then the CPS would have to, hence really whether CPS sells off sites or keeps them and allows charters to use them for only operating costs is of no importance. The poster raises a good point that has the power of logic. But, how do we know that the students currently being educated at charter schools would have attended a CPS school, and not a private school, if charter school options were not available?

    If we look at some charter schools we can see that a good number of charter school students come from families above the poverty line. Just looking at three major charters, Noble, UNO, and CICS we can document that in 2010 there were 1,805 students enrolled that were above the poverty line. But to be fair we must state that most charter school students come from families below the poverty line.

    We can also see that the decline in enrollment in Catholic schools accelerated once charter options became available in Chicago. We also do not know how many working class families who are also formally below the poverty line with children would have left Chicago for suburban options if they did not have charter options, and I am not saying that would be a good thing.

    Moreover, some of the schools being closed for low enrollment are in communities where population is declining and any charter opening at the site will be bringing in many students from other areas of the city. We all know that the population of Chicago is declining and Chicago is also less and less what is called a port of entry for Hispanic immigrants, more and more suburban areas and smaller cities are playing that role because rental costs in the city.

    The situation of the theoretical costs of educating students currently attending charter schools and not attending traditional schools based on residency does not justify CPS carrying costs for buildings it may not need now or for many year ahead. I know many people will not like this, but it makes more sense for CPS to tear down buildings it does not need rather than rehabbing them and putting charters in them if the charters cannot afford to buy them.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Every building put into long term storage costs money and requires at least some staffing. While some of these buildings are simply wonderful in their beauty they can be profoundly antiquated too, putting an elevator in an 1890s building can cost easily a million dollars. Once CPS changes a school from a traditional school to a charter they create a trigger that requires significant ADA modifications that can and do cost millions alone.

    If a neighborhood is depopulated to a significant degree keeping the school makes little sense. A school building alone will not provide the basis for rebuilding a community. CPS with the support of the city council has vast legal powers to acquire property under eminent domain authority paying only fair market value for any land within the city needed for building a school on. So if a community becomes populated again via development CPS can build a school in that community. Sticking charters in the middle of urban deserts just because the building is sitting there makes no sense. Now if a charter wants to buy the property and pay for the ADA and other upgrades, that is their choice and I have zero problem with that.

    I agree CPS has not been open to selling off buildings to charter schools, when they could have paid for them several years ago.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    The consolidation momentum continues to City Hall. Ha! how do you alderman like being downsized? Rahmbo is making friends everywhere. I hope he continues with this so city council becomes his enemy.

  • Why do either exist?

  • so true!

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