Today's $700M Budget Announcement (upd)

UPDATE:  See here for CPS budget.

Catalyst-Chicago: CPS will max out property tax collection; make more cuts To make up for a $712 million hole, Chicago Public Schools will need to collect $150 million more in property taxes, taxing the maximum amount allowed by law for the first time in four years and adding an additional levy.

News roundup:  The big news of the day from WBEZ and Catalyst is that CPS will unveil its plan to fill a $700 million budget hole with some combination of cuts, new revenues, and new sources of funding.  (As to how they're going to do it, I'm most worried about area and citywide folks.) Oh yeah, and school starts for Track E kids on Monday.

CPS to announce plan to close $700M deficit WBEZ: Officials have said since March that the budget hole is around $700 million.But so far, it hasn’t felt like a crisis.

Chicago schools to release new budget, with details on closing $712 million deficit Catalyst: CPS officials are reportedly thinking about increasing the amount they collect in property taxes to the maximum allowed under state law. They could be looking to Mayor Rahm Emanuel to provide some money from tax increment financing districts, or planning on refinancing some bonds as they did last year.

Fighting Crime and Pressuring the Mayor, via Shoe LeatherCNC:  The pastor of Mission of Faith Baptist Church is leading nightly foot patrols through his far South Side neighborhood in an effort to reduce crime.

Laid Off CPS Teacher Can’t Get His Unemployment Benefits CBS2: Collins says he filed for unemployment when he was laid off on July 1. But his benefits were denied by the state, which told him that CPS claimed he was still employed and was still getting bi-weekly paychecks.

School fees: Wide gap among districts Tribune:  The so-called course or lab fees can range from $10 or $20 to more than $100 per class, depending on the school, records show, pumping up parents' bills and adding to the rising cost of a public school education in the Chicago region.

Trib Nation education essay contest Tribune: What makes a public schools education succeed or fail? What would you ask the heads of the Chicago Public Schools or Chicago Teachers Union? We'd like to invite you to join us for a discussion about the future of public education in Chicago.

Chicago Forward: Education Tribune:  Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard and Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis will join Tribune Editorial Page Editor Bruce Dold at the next Chicago Forward forum on Sept. 13.

School year set to begin Monday for some students: Summertime leisure is coming to an end for some Chicago Public Schools students.

Year-round schools back in session on Monday: The first day of class for Chicago Public Schools students on the regular track is Tuesday, September 6. Charter schools all have their own opening days. Parents should call their children's school to get the date.

Rainbow PUSH back to school rally, pledges: With the Chicago Public Schools' academic year for Track E students beginning next week, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition's PUSH for Excellence program will host their annual back to school rally.

Image via Sun Times


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  • highlights from the press release from the board for you to sift through -- i'll post the links in the main post above. take a look -- what do you think?

    The proposed budget includes an additional $107 million in cuts to Central Office and administrative functions. Among those reductions is $50 million in cuts to the Chief Education Office by consolidating departments and programs as well as eliminating duplicated resources across multiple departments responsible for academic programs and school supports. For example, five offices currently provide support services for summer learning programs and by consolidating these services CPS can reduce costs without impacting students. An additional $32 million in reductions will be made to the Network Offices. Over the next 60 days CPS will be taking the steps necessary to implement these cuts.

    Increase Class Size to 31 Students: 330,000 students impacted; $41 million cut
    Eliminate Supplemental Full-Day Kindergarten: 11,000 students impacted; $19 million cut
    20% Reduction of Early Childhood Programs: 12,000 students impacted; $40 million cut
    Reduction Magnet School Supplemental Positions: 50,000 students impacted; $10 million cut
    5% Reduction in Charter/Contract School Per Pupil Rate: 50,000 students impacted; $17 million cut
    40% Reduction in Violence Prevention Initiatives: 40,000 students impacted; $13 million cut
    Approximately 945 teachers and full-time employees would be laid off or moved to part-time positions as a result of all cuts listed above.

    Program reductions of $86.7 million which the leadership team chose to do in areas that did not impact core priorities or that could be continued through school-based funding.

    Rather than close the remaining $241 million gap by cutting essential programs that could impact the academic success of students for years to come, the leadership team has opted to bridge that gap by utilizing the Stabilization Fund.

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    The budget does not have a class size increase.

  • Math

    This is so preliminary that I hesitate to comment. However if you do the math
    Adding three students to a class of twenty eight is a little over a 10%.That means
    A whole lot of teachers will be laid off.

  • In reply to rbusch:

    Not necessarily, many classroom already have 31. UPC caved on this stipulation and agreed with the board that its not 28 kids in the classroom but a teacher can teach a maximum of 140 students a day. No where does it actually state this in the contract. Infact the only place a reader can find "140" is between pages 139 and 141. I pointed this out to a UPC rep who still refused to accept this fact. Another reason Stewart lost.

  • In reply to FrontRow:

    Dear front row

    You are correct ,however we all know the number 28 is a joke.
    Most high school classes are approaching 35 right now. I even know
    Of self contained instructional classes with 17 students. I do not understand
    the number 140, since that is 28 per class for a 5 period day. Increase the
    load to 31 per class that equals 155 students per day on a 5 period schedule.
    Look at it like this: A high school with 1,400 students 1,400 @ 140 per teacher
    = 10 teachers with 28 kids per class.
    The same school with 1,400 kids @ 155 per teacher = 8.1 teachers with 31 per class.
    It is not hard to speculate what will happen to the teachers since you would now
    need only 8 instead of 10.

  • CTU's lewis says this is a bad budget:

    “Unfortunately, the Board released its budget on a late Friday afternoon in August, leaving little time to review the details. However, it is troubling that while they are firing teachers in neighborhood schools, the unelected and unaccountable school board decided to increase funding for charter schools and refused to renegotiate agreements with banks that take millions of dollars each year out of our schools. A cursory review of their proposed $87 million in cuts to student programs harms our students and their community schools. Once again, this sends the wrong message to the more than 400,000 public school children and their families who deserve an equitable, high-quality education.”

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    What happened to Abbey Meyers, Deborah Esparza and the rest of the area 2

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Abbie Meyers - Armstrong Elem
    Donna Bedtke - Armstrong Elem
    George Chipain - Jahn Elem
    Natalia Szymczak - Office of Performance Management
    Deborah Esparza - rumor says she relocated to work for one of her former CPS vendors - or to avoid public humiliation. In either case, she lost her pension.

  • Reduction Magnet School Supplemental Positions: 50,000 students impacted; $10 million cut

    Hey! How come my neighborhood school doesn't get supplemental positions??? WTF???

  • From Brizard:

    Today, I announced the first budget of my tenure as CEO of the Chicago Public Schools. Because the district faced a massive $712 million deficit, this budget is filled with many difficult, but necessary choices. Declining revenues and contractual obligations strain our operating budget, while the loss of Federal ARRA funds left many vital programs without a funding source.

    During my first week as CEO I announced $75 million in reductions in Central Office administrative and non-classroom spending and made a commitment that we would keep cuts as far away from the classroom as possible in this budget, while maintaining critical priorities that invest in our children’s future. This is a budget that I can proudly say will protect our priorities, make new investments in students, cut waste and inefficiencies, help support our school leaders and close the significant budget deficit facing our district.

    To further bridge the deficit, we have proposed significant steps to reduce spending and increase revenues, including:

    * An additional $107 million in cuts to Central Office and administrative functions including $32 million in reductions that will be made to Network Offices.
    * Raising the CPS property tax levy to the cap, resulting in more than $150 million in funding to save critical academic programs impacting students throughout the District from being cut.
    * Eliminate the 4% pay increase for collective bargaining unit unions because of the District’s financial state, resulting in an additional $100 million in savings. (Note: Step and lane increases were maintained which ensured that approximately 75% of teachers would receive a raise this coming school year.)
    * Additional program reduction of $86.7 million. These include programs for which costs could potentially be absorbed by school discretionary funding or eligible federal funds. Other programs will continue to serve the same number of students but the student to counselor ratio would increase.
    * Other operational efficiencies that will save the district an additional $27 million.

    At the same time, we are keeping our commitment to our budget priorities while increasing investments in students:

    · Maintaining class size throughout the district.

    · Maintaining Pre-K funding.

    · Expanding All-Day Kindergarten for 6,000 more students.

    · Expanding Magnet School Programs for an additional 2,300 students.

    · Maintaining the World Language Programs serving more than 103,000 students.

    · Maintaining the school-based Culture of Calm Initiative serving 44,000 students.

    The steps listed above brought the deficit down to $241 million, and we have chosen to use our reserve funds to bring that number down to zero, therefore, avoiding cuts that could significantly impact the classroom.

    To view the proposed budget, visit

    I know that the past few years have been difficult on all of our school-based and Central Office staff. I know that you have made sacrifices and done more with less. I want to thank you for your continued support and perseverance as we more the District forward. We must continue to support school leaders and empower principals, while holding them accountable. We must empower parents with the tools they need to help them become more engaged in their child’s education. We must make sure teachers are supported and provided the best environment in which to help their students become successful. Finally, we must work together to build a world-class education for children in every neighborhood.

    Thank you for all that you do to help support our efforts to ensure all students graduate college and career ready.


    Jean-Claude Brizard

    Chicago Public Schools | CEO

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    JC, you are now supplanting-making schools use for or their poverty $$$ for basic education of public school students. Arne, aka Obama, will do nothing about it. So you will get away--any one out there like MALDEF to fight this?
    Our schools are already at bare minimum, closing more positions this week. As a CPS insider , I DO NOT BELIEVE YOU ARE SHUTTING DOWN or making less CO. Look at P-12, look at OLCE, look at academic enhancement cost and the layers upon layers of people there and at special ed. We are all paying for this and so too our students. Where is the forensic audit?

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Will there be a class action lawsuit since the 25% of personnel not receiving step raises are the older employees? What BS!

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Oh, wait! Brizard has a federal lawsuit against him already...for ...age discrimination because..."in teaching, age matters"....

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    It's years of service, so it depends on what age the teacher entered the system. If it was right out of college, a lot of 35-39 year olds are being affected. And if the teacher started later in his.her career, and a lot do, they get the increase regardless of their age.

    But a fair point you should raise with your CTU officers when they next attempt to negotiate a seniority based system that leaves the most senior out of the game, regardless of performance.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    "Will there be a class action lawsuit since the 25% of personnel not receiving step raises are the older employees?"

    Anyone can file a lawsuit, but it would be a waste of money. The step and lane increases are part of the contract ratified by the membership. Besides, Step 16 (which affects those with 25 or more years of service) kicks in this year--an increase for the most veteran teachers in the system.

    What about non-teachers? Brizard says 75% of teachers get raises, but what about the PSRPs and those on "grades." Are those the same as step-and-lane? And how about the other bargaining units for food service, engineering, custodial, classroom assistants and other personnel? Will they get an equivalent "step-and-lane increase" or nothing at all?

  • is an $84 property tax increase really that big a deal?

    the sun times makes it the headline

  • Brizard does not have a pair to say how many classroom teachers he is laying off!

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    This unknown number of teacher layoffs will be used against CTU to steal our 4%.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Pretty sure he already did that back in mid-July. 500+ teachers being laid off due to school closings and other actions and enrollment drops. They are all getting reassigned teacher pool/cadre benefits. Another 450 or so are being laid off for econdomic reasons and get unemployment.

    Brizard's been up front about this.

  • Drop some of the assessments! As Interim CEO Mazany correctly said, our students are over assessed. It will provide more instruction time and free up computer labs for real work and save some dollars!

    Wireless Generation, a Murdoch Company, OWNS our students data! Get that. We pay for the service, be it crappy, but he owns the data! WTF!!!

  • It is disturbing that someone feels it's okay to cut early childhood positions, regular classroom teachers, perhaps counselors when the school year has begun for some schools and MOST schools have their staff in place.

    HOW is this to happen without impacting students negatively and creating unnecessary chaos at the beginning of a school year.

    WHY are there so many chiefs downtown? Why does Mr. Brizard earn more money than Mr. Huberman did? It does not truly seem that cuts are being kept out of the classrooms- what a terrible shame...

    And no, a property tax increase of $84 per household is not significant in the larger scheme of things.

  • Alexander, you posted as if the increase in class size and the cuts to full day kindergarten, etc...are a done deal. As I understand it, from reading through the budget report, those things will only happen if we don't get a property tax increase. Your information appears to be incorrect. Am I wrong? The cuts you wrote about are frightening and I am concerned this is incorrect info.

  • Teacher parent is correct, I think Alexander misread the PR release. All the cuts listed in his introduction to this discussion were possible cuts. The PR release stated before listing the cuts Alexander cited "Without the $150 million in property tax revenue, CPS would need to make deep cuts to core programs..." I would also add these theoretical cuts were picked for PR impact and in my opinion would not necessarily have been the ones CPS would have picked to make up the $150 million in reality.

    I was interviewed by NBC5 yesterday around 6pm yesterday about the property tax increase, I supported the decision to go to the cap. I do not know if it aired because I did not watch the news last night. The reason I supported this increase is that the property tax increase cap changes each year based on the CPI from prior years. The cap next year will be lower than this year and hence generate fewer dollars if CPS waits. This does not mean the allocation of those dollars within the CPS budget is all good in my opinion. But I need some time to look at the details of the budget in order to draw those conclusions.

    But I did see that CPS central special education got an increase in funding, that is the first increase I think since Vallas was CEO. I support that because the central office Special education staff and staff in what were the regions (now networks) are spread so thin case managers are having real problems getting clear direction on many issues. I will be looking closely at where these dollars are going in the days to come.

    Hopefully by the hearing next week I will have had a better chance to study the proposed budget. In my past formal budget reviews I have compared the CPS property tax rate to other school districts in Cook County and have shown that the CPS rate is one of the lowest. That does not mean our actual tax bills are the lowest in the county because of our property values, or at least what is estimated to be our property values in the city.

    Because the budget is so massive it is easy to get confused and we should all read it as carefully as possible before saying too much.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Thanks again, Mr Estvan.

    It does no good to hire SPED people at the CO level IF they are inexperienced, incompetent and unable to offer viable solutions to the mess that is SPED in CPS. We need written (AKA able to stand up in court), not unreliable, usually illegal oral directives from OSS.

  • Why not get rid of the REA manager in the PM budget since REA has no one to manage, brings in less then 10k a year and can easily be handled by ITS. That way we can add another teacher to the payroll. Glad to see the NCLB director is finally off the payroll. Pay check for no work is over.

  • I am looking at position counts now and I am not seeing additional positions at the central office level for special ed, in fact I see one less. I have to spend some time trying to figure out where the dollars are going. It will take me all weekend and into next week I am sure.

    I have been looking for the back payment of money CPS claimed on June 27 it owed the Chicago Police Department. I have not been able to find a reference to it in the budget, if any one finds it please give me a reference with page number or unit number.

    Also I am seeing budgets for areas for the FY 12 school year, apparently they no longer exist. Why are these in this budget? Is someone knows the answer clue me in on that one too.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Please look at positions in SPED specifically teacher positions which are budgeted but not filled...CPS saves alot of money by filling these positions with subs...this was noted on a joint CTU/CPS/ City of Chicago committee on special education years under Debbie Lynch. No one could answer where the unused money went...I believe it was at least a million.


  • substance's george schmidt says the budget is murky and lacks transparency

  • Karen Lewis thinks it's a bad budget and George Schmidt thinks it's not "transparent." Knock me over with a feather.

    Karen Lewis continues to call CPS's budget crisis "purported" and spouts off sophisms like giving teachers a 4% raise should be the priority because it helps kids learn. WTF? This woman is a world class fool. I do not how she ever expects to get the public behind teachers with kind of nonsense.

    And George . . . George? . . . hmmmm . . . .are really going to make me say it?

  • No money for teacher raises, but plenty of money for Central Office raises and Charter Schools. Seems contradictory to me. Why doesn't Rhambo keep teacher salaries competitive?

  • In reply to FrontRow:

    The "Central Office raises" are the elimination of furlough days.

  • fb_avatar

    At this high rate of jobless economic, I rather have a job than the 4% percent increase of salary. Because I'm label of "not recommended" from teacherfit survey, I doubt the principals will give me the time and day for interview. In addition, I have to wait 18 months to apply with CPS again. I dont know what the governor could do for me. I'm not poor enough to be on WIC and I can't apply unemployment. Suggestions please....

  • King Lee, I hear you on that one. 20+ years of very successful teaching, fantastic recommendations, but I don't seem to be getting the interviews. Is this stupid TeacherFit still haunting the process? I've already proven I can teach - just ask my references!!! But I'm really wondering about all of this.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to anonymous:

    Anonymous, Unfortunately, I don't have 20+ years of very successful teaching and fantastic recommendations. I only have couple years in teaching with the one and the only CPS. I have bachelor and master degree. In addition, I have general science and ESL endorsement. I really doubt that the principals look at our credentials when you and I have a "not recommended" on next to our name. Now, I'm waiting for 18 months to pass and reapply again. Should I be honest with survey or just answer the survey that it wants me to answer? Lie through my teeth..... For the principals, would you hired willingly to work teachers or teachers who know how to play the game but can't execute the game?

  • Mr. Brizard, you are charged with presenting a budget to the Board. It is the duty of Board with a guaranteed blessing by the mayor, to raise the taxes. If you do not know by now, the Board will do what the mayor says. Taxes will be raised. Even though you feel this was a smart move on your part to speak of raising class sizes of 31, with school starting tomorrow, (the class size of 31 already exists for 4-8th grades and high schools;) you unnecessarily scare our parents, depress and disparage our teachers, and worry our principals. Your ‘threats’ are unnecessary and it is not your case to make. Your position is to be one of rationality and finesse. Please work on both.

  • if i told you that JCB is going to ring in the start of the year for 247 Track E schools tomorrow morning and that WGCI was going to be there among others, and that it was a high school, would you be able to guess which school? or would i have to tell you which ward?

  • Alexander, it's Harper High School.

  • Re: AnnieSullivan question. The budget does not list unfilled positions vs filled positions. So I cannot easily examine that issue, there is no question that there are some special education positions not filled, but far fewer than in the past I would suspect. The reason for this is that numerous suburban and down state school districts have laid off special education teachers so CPS has a pool of unemployed teachers to select from unlike in past years.

    Rod Estvan

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