Heat For Raising $41M In Taxes

Morning.  Today's news:  The Mayor is taking some heat for the $41M increase in taxes the Board voted on yesterday.  Rocks and Resnick are leaving the Board.  Some students go to school for 13 years without kids of any other race.  Brizard was in New York yesterday joining other big city superintendents to pressure publishers to provide better, cheaper materials.  Mayor defends $41 million school property tax hike Sun Times: Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday defended his decision to authorize a $41 million school property tax increase — the second tax-to-the-max increase during his first year in office. With Emanuel’s blessing, the board has now raised property taxes by a grand total of $191 million in just one year.

CPS losing three top executives Tribune: Chicago Public Schools is losing both its top legal officer and its top labor executive to retirement in the midst of tough contract negotiations with its teacher's union. General Counsel Patrick Rocks and Chief Labor Relations Officer Rachel Resnick will both be retiring.

Chicago students reflect on 13 years of segregated schools WBEZ: The seniors in this story went to five different high schools. Some have gone their entire education—kindergarten through 12th grade— without ever having a classmate from another race.  ALSO: School districts can use race-based policies to avoid segregation

Supt. McCarthy: We have strong leads in slaying of 7-year-old in Austin Sun Times: After several shootings in her West Side neighborhood, Heaven Sutton had begged her mother to move. The 7-year-old looked forward to escaping on a family vacation to Disney World next month. Wednesday night, just after getting her hair styled for the trip, Heaven was gunned down in front of her home in Austin.

Schools chiefs give publishers ultimatum about new standards GothamSchools: Greg Worrell (right), an executive at Scholastic, introduces himself to Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard after the event. Calling for a “buyers' cartel” against the publishing industry, more than 30 large urban school districts have ...

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  • This wouldn't be the old City Hall Two Step, where the big boys give the impression they are advocating for cheaper prices, when the deal has been already worked out and after the posing, all have a few drinks afterward to celebrate about pulling a fast one?

  • While it may seem impossible to believe the CPS property tax levy is one of the lowest in Cook County. I have written on this issue extensively, in particular in Access Living's review of the CPS budget in August of 2010.

    Given the fact that CPS faces increased costs and frozen or reduced contributions from both federal and state sources this new increase in the levy is rational. Clearly if teachers want more money and CPS wants to keep creating new programs including charter schools and a longer day it does have to come from somewhere.

    I don't think there are too many people out there that do not believe that our State's system of funding schools isn't deeply broken. Illinois ranks 49th in the nation for the funding gap between rich and poor students, and white and minority
    students. It should come as no surprise that Illinois also ranks near-last for the
    achievement gap between these groups of students. There is no doubt that Illinois' school funding system exhibits an over-reliance on local property taxes. Compared to other states, property tax payers in Illinois contribute the third highest share of education costs in our nation, at 62%, and we pay the 10th highest dollar amount towards school funding.

    But because of our State's constitution prohibits any graduated state income tax and caps corporate taxes in relation to the individual income taxes addressing this problem in the General Assembly is next to impossible. Increasing income taxes always is therefore a big problem in Illinois and if you shift away from property taxes the money has to come from somewhere. Believe me I have tried down in Springfield, including in the past supporting Senator Meeks SB2288 introduced in 2008, which tried and failed to begin to fix this system.

    So right now CPS is doing the only thing it can do which is to raise taxes. I would like to see some serious work done by CPS on non- central office cost savings [despite claims made there is very little left of the central office that perform real educational work]. I also don't disagree that costs for things like PR are too high, but really those costs are overall not big enough to do to much.

    School based cuts need to Include very unpopular things like forcing charter schools and traditional schools alike to operate in buildings with higher numbers of students much closer to design capacity. I think the bridge program probably should be closed down to save money. As I have stated many times CPS really does not have the money to afford a longer school day, but that is a political issue as much as an educational one. CPS should eliminate special education co-teaching and attempt to get ISBE to agree to allowing the utilization of cross certified teachers to deliver services in general education rooms for more moderately disabled students. CPS should force a cost reduction for its primary turn around vendor AUSL. CPS needs to battle any new TIFs due to their drain on new funds, but again this is a political issue that lands at the Mayor's door.

    But even with reductions and cost savings CPS would still need to increase the levy in my opinion.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    What is your definition of moderately disabled? How many years below level would this be for a child with learning disabilities? Are you aware that the mildly disabled usually do not even get referred in CPS? Are you aware that many of our children with learning disabilities really are cognitively disabled? Are you also aware that now, CPS does not even complete IQ tests so it is very likely more children who are really not in possession of average intelligence will be labeled learning disabled? It is difficult for a sped teacher to disagree at an initial IEP meeting if all indications point toward cognitive disability but the psychologist disagrees and has not administered an IQ test. (very convenient for CPS) I do agree that IQ tests do not have to be given at the three year unless there is a question of mislabeling but I do think at an initial we should administer it . Are the teachers aware that their evaluations presume that the children show grow based upon the premise that the children are learning disabled? A child with cognitive disabilities can not be expected to show the same type of growth as a child with learning disabilities.
    Providing services in the general education classroom sounds wonderful in theory but our classrooms are very overcrowded and the older children are loathe to entreated differently in front of their peers. It has been my experience that pulling the children out of the gen ed room for 40-50 minutes a day was much more successful than push-in services.
    anniesullivan

  • Former CPS and current Phila administrator Emmanuel Caulk tapped as Portland’s next superintendent — http://ow.ly/bVtnu

  • Is any media going to discover how much the longer day is costing schools? Word is that schools are having to pay 100s of thousands of dollars just to meet this requirement.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    What are the "100's of thousands of dollars" for? Equipment, supplies, wages? can you give us a break down?

  • Wages--funds had to be taken from the instructional budget to cover wages for staff to watch students during the 20 minute mandatory recess for the mandatory longer school day. We never before had to spend money for this--we do not know how will cover lunch duty for 25 minutes--we will be stuck asking teachrs to do this! We never had to do this before either until we had this longer day.

  • from CTU

    CONTRACT EXPIRES FOR PUBLIC SCHOOL EDUCATORS AS NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE WITH BOARD

    On June 30, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU)/Board of Education 2007 – 2012 collective bargaining agreement will expire for the district's more than 25,000 educators. Without a new contract in place, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) may impose a number of changes to the school calendar, class size, holiday schedule, work schedules and school personnel. The Board has the ability to remove holidays from our current schedule.

    “It is our responsibility to work toward a contract that is fair and equitable to our members and one that will help us give our students the high-quality, first-class education they deserve,” said CTU President Karen GJ Lewis. “While there has been progress in some areas we remain far apart on many others.” A fact-finder will release recommendations on many of the economic issues on July 16. Both sides will have 15 days to accept or reject the recommendations. Should both sides accept the fact-finding report will become part of the new contract.

    Despite the absence of a new collective bargaining agreement, as of July 1 CTU members still retain specific rights. These rights include, but are not limited to:

    · Wages – The wages paid to CTU members at the levels currently described in the Appendix A cannot be reduced—regardless of the length of school day.

    · Health Insurance – Members retain the same basic coverage at the same rates described in Appendix B of the contract.

    · Pension Pick-Up – The board will continue to pay the employer contribution for educators’ pensions.

    · Sick Days – Sick day banks remain intact and will continue to accrue. The Union is currently negotiation over payouts of unused sick days, and this will be determined when the contract is settled. However, the PEP program expires at the end of the contract and will not continue unless it is included in the final contract settlement.

    · Grievances – Teachers, paraprofessionals and clinicians still have the right to file and process grievances.

    · Summer School – All of the terms in the current contract should continue without any change.

    · Leaves of Absence – All of the terms in the current contract will remain.

    · Vacation – No change, however, the Board has already announced its intent to eliminate Columbus and Pulaski days from the current schedule.

    · Whistleblowing --- CTU’s right to monitor and police CPS activity is unchanged.

    There have been critical changes in state law regarding evaluation and teacher practice begin this school year. Please reference www.ctunet.com/evaluation for detailed information on the Performance Evaluation Reform Act or the new REACH system being imposed by CPS.

    CTU has been in contract negotiations with the Board since November 2011.

  • tribune has arrest of man who allegedly killed 7 yo girl
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-1-held-in-slaying-of-7yearold-girl-20120630,0,5001124.story?page=1

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