Budget Hearing Boos

Today's stories are the budget hearings from last night -- conflated with the teacher contract negotiations and the fact finding report coming next week -- as well as the end of the troubled scholarship program, and a little more about contracts, violence, and problems at Emmet Elementary.  Were you at the hearings?  What was it like?

BUDGET HEARINGS

Teachers, activists boo CPS budget Tribune: "I'm not surprised by your reaction," Cawley said. "I promise I won't shout at you when you talk. I would hope you would extend me the same courtesy."

Teachers voice disappointment with CPS budget Catalyst: The budget hearings at Malcolm X and Kennedy King colleges were two of three taking place simultaneously across the city. The hearings were announced on Friday at the same time the district published and posted its proposed $5.1 million operating budget.

Boos and hisses at Chicago Public Schools public meeting Chicago Sun-Times: Plans to “stand tall'' on controversial charter schools and invest an extra $76 million in them while draining Chicago Public School reserves down to zero drew boos and hisses Wednesday.

Teachers say CPS budget creates financial crisis WBEZ:  Teachers at Chicago Public Schools claim the district is creating a financial crisis to justify underpaying them.

New website lets public build their own CPS budget — even if it’s illegal Sun Times:  The tool gives residents the ability to focus on a few, limited spending categories and slide a scale from side to side to see how adding or subtracting to that category would affect the system’s operating budget.

CPS Lets Web Users Suggest System Budget CBS2 Chicago: The Chicago Public Schools system wants to give you a chance to play budget wizard, and determine how spending choices you would like would affect the school system's allotted $5 billion.

CONTRACTS AND PENSIONS

CPS rights Chicago Tribune (editorial): As Chicago Public Schools parents, we eagerly await the release next Monday of the independent fact-finder's report on contract negotiations between the Chicago Teachers Union and CPS.

Today's history lesson The Capitol Fax Blog (blog): And Chicago was able to strike a deal that funneled a fair share of state tax revenues into funding pensions for Chicago Public Schools. That all changed in 1995 with the deal that ceded control of CPS to Mayor Richard M. Daley.

CLOUT SCHOLARSHIPS

Illinois lawmakers to lose tuition waiver perk WBEZ:  Illinois lawmakers are about to lose a century-old political perk — the ability to award college scholarships.

The end of the scholarship racket Tribune (editorial):  Gov. Pat Quinn lives for moments like this: Flanked by lawmakers — from both parties, he pointed out proudly, and both houses of the General Assembly — he used a dozen pens to sign a pet reform measure into law. It was a historic day in the Land of Lincoln, he said. And it was.

VIOLENCE

Why is the Second City first in violence? Austin Weekly News: With a price tag of almost $6 billion a year, Chicago Public Schools graduate less than half of its students. Only six of every 100 high school students graduate from a four-year college or university in four years.

Some South Side neighborhoods safer than Lakeview, Uptown, Rogers Park Chicago News Report: According to a recent Chicago Sun-Times shootings and homicides map, several South Side neighborhoods are much safer than their North Side counterparts.

MISC

Emmet Elementary parents accuse administrator of misconduct AustinTalks: Robyn Ziegler, a spokeswoman for Chicago Public Schools, says the district is investigating the school's assistant principal but declined to answer questions.

Comings & Goings: Ayers, new principals Catalyst: John Ayers, new principal contracts, Urban Students Empowered, George Washington High School student Christopher Loehrke.

Comments

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  • Are charter schools the answer to – or one reason for – Chicago’s violence? http://ow.ly/cc8Hc @pureparents

  • Clearly, the Board cannot afford to compensate teachers for a 15% increase in the school day/year (which is not a raise). Until the Mayor can afford to pay for it, he must drop his demands for the LSD/Y.

    As is so often the case, there simply isn't enough money to go around. I'm always skeptical about what the Board tells us, but there are many reasons to believe their revenues are on target.

    (1) They have raised property taxes to the maximum allowable under the law. (2) The state is not going to appropriate any additional monies to CPS. (3) The federal government is not going to appropriate any more monies to CPS. The Republican-majority House is not about to repeat EduJobs or anything similar to it.

    What other revenue sources are there?

  • Revenues may be on target; allocations are probably off

  • As I was correctly quoted by both the Tribune and Sun Times this morning I am deeply concerned CPS will attempt to operated with a zero reserve fund. There is without question validity to the issues that Danaidh has posed. I agree there will be no additional money coming to CPS from either the state or the Feds. In fact if the economy declines we can expect the state to be even later on paying its bills which requires a larger reserve not a smaller one. Effectively with zero reserves CPS will have to go to the short term credit market and float loans based on a lower credit rating.

    To give some credit to Mr Cawley last night he clearly admitted that the property tax increase would not really realize additional funding for CPS. But neither he nor the budget are actually presenting the property tax problem accurately to the public. The fundamental problem is not totally based on the property tax collections being based on a calendar year basis as opposed to the CPS fiscal year basis as it is presented in the budget at page 12 , it is also based on an actual decline in property tax values within the city. My own home just went through its three year assessment and I was actually a little surprised at the magnitude of our decline.

    Effective tax rates for residential properties in Chicago were 1.4% lower in 2009 than in tax year 2000 while effective rates for commercial properties in Chicago fell by 37.3% over the same period. Effective tax rates are a measure of property tax burden for homeowners and businesses. They translate the tax rates on property tax bills into rates that reflect the percentage of full market value that a property owed in taxes for a given year.

    Since 2009 they have declined even further. In the Rogers Park community the average single family home in 2010 was valued at $354,505 and by 2011 it had declined to $272,010. Things were even worse for Condos and townhomes in Rogers Park where in 2010 the average condo was worth $132,980 and by 2011 had dropped to $91,320.

    None of this means any of our actual property tax bills are going down, in fact they actually go up to keep the levy the same for CPS and other taxing bodies. But the decline in values is hurting CPS. Clearly right now CPS should be creating no new programs that carry any additional costs, but that is clearly not the case regardless of whether CPS teachers are compensated in any reasonable manner for the longer school day.

    Rod Estvan

  • Teachers, activists boo CPS budget

    Tribune:
    “I’m not surprised by your reaction,” Cawley said. “We’ve closed your schools, laughed at your FOIA requests, stolen millions of dollars, lied to you, lied to the public, lied to the media, paid protesters to denounce you, bribed Chicago clergy, fired veteran teachers and replaced them cardboard cutouts, destroyed opportunities for your children, dismantled your communities, waged negative add campaigns to tarnish reputations, called your concerns ‘noise’, and plan to continue stealing millions with the unveiling of this fictitious budget. I promise I won’t shout at you when we throw you on the street where you can beg for pennies and sell lose cigarettes. I hope you will extend me the same courtesy as I count my millions, nestled in my huge and luxurious north suburban Winnetka home and dream up new schemes for screwing children, teachers and taxpayers of Chicago.”

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Who is over the OIG? Cawley is to live in Chicago. It is wrong that he gerts a pass. If he does not want to move-he is out! The OIG is accoutable for this-who holds them responsible?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    This residency pass is disrespectful to the policy and totally unfair. A double standard like this causes the system to lose credibility. Cawley is in violation and other CPS employees have been fired for residency as recent as this spring. Folks have been removed due to residency for as long as I can remember. It would be nice to hear the OIG respond to what allows the violation to be acceptable for specific individuals. Maybe others can benefit. If all can't, no one should. .

  • Does the American Elite Want Real Public Education?

    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=8543

  • Hyde Park Career Academy will seek the wall-to-wall IB?

    http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/13732972-418/hyde-park-career-academy-to-become-an-ib-school.html

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Headache299
    Fran Spielman, Groveling City Hall Parrot Reporter, and certainly not burning any midnight oil, clearly didn’t have to work very hard reprinting abstracts from previously printed CPS press released IB promos for her recent Emanuel loving commercial all dressed up like news…

    Compare today’s Spielman Hyde Park IB story at

    http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/13732972-418/hyde-park-career-academy-to-become-an-ib-school.html

    to her June 21, 2012 Clemente IB story at

    http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/13324469-418/clemente-latest-high-school-to-adopt-international-baccalaureate-program.html

    And what you will find after reading both is a set of identical twins.

  • CPS wants to drain the districts entire $432 million in reserves funds? Yet they plan to increase total spending on charters to $500 million?! What a bunch of BS. CPS Crawley is full of s___t!

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I should know better than to wade into this emotionally-charged subject, but...

    (1) Those are Chicago's children in charter schools. Chicago should pay for them. Claiming otherwise undermines the rationale for all public education. (Why should the majority of us without school-age children have to pay to educate other people's children?)

    (2) On a per-pupil basis, CPS devotes fewer dollars to charter schools than to those in its system. You may feel that is entirely appropriate, but realize this: if the charter schools were all to close their doors and these kids went back into the public schools system, there would be LESS money per-pupil system-wide.

  • In reply to Danaidh:

    (1) Many would argue that Charter Schools undermine the rationale for all public education.
    (2) On a per-pupil basis, does CPS really devote fewer dollars to charter schools than those in its’ traditional neighborhood school system? Exactly what is the per-pupil spending for traditional schools v. charters for let’s say, 2011, or 2010. If you have a report, send the link. If it’s in the current budget, which is already hard enough to believe, where can it be found? I’ll buy your argument #2 if you present evidence.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    From Observer: Is a Charter School a Cheaper School? Maybe Not.
    http://www.texasobserver.org/snakeoil/is-a-charter-school-a-cheaper-school-maybe-not

  • In reply to Danaidh:

    I see your point Danaidh, but I agree with the previous responder that (2) is suspect. For example, the latest news: http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-07/duo-uno-organization-breaks-ground-second-southwest-side-academy-100826

    That's right- $27 million for a brand new charter building. How much of that $27 million (which very well may run over cost) be considered part of UNO's "per pupil" spending? None. While you could argue that nearest high school to this new school- Solorio Academy, which was recently built and is technically a neighborhood school (run by AUSL)- does not consider its capital expenses in its per-pupil funding, there are several other much older neighborhood schools in the area (Gage Park, Curie, Kelly, Hancock) that have not had nearly as much capital spending even over the last 10 years. So this idea that charter schools spend fewer on a per-pupil basis is highly suspect.

    I'm also curious why the board feels it's appropriate to break ground on a new charter school less than three-quarters of a mile from the newest district neighborhood high school (Solorio), less than 2 miles from the next district neighborhood high school (Back of the Yards), and less than 4 miles from a brand new STEM high school (at 76th and Homan). There's no way that all of these new buildings plus the old neighborhood schools will be operating anywhere near capacity in the 2013 school year and beyond- while there may be multiple families to a home in the area, the housing stock is still limited, and the population growth on the SW side certainly seems to have peaked. Yet we see four to five (including the existing UNO high school) new schools built in the area while Curie, Gage Park, Kelly, Hancock, and other schools take year after year of reduced budgets.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    The only actual data I know of on per-pupil costs for charter school students in CPS appeares in CPS's COMPREHENSIVE ANNUAL FINANCIAL REPORT
    for the year ended June 30, 2011. You can find this data on pages 210-225 of this report which can be downloaded from the CPS website.

    Just by looking over the data it appears that charters on a per pupil basis operate at a lower cost than do most traditional schools. But those really interested in this issue should crunch the data. The simple truth is that the larger the school is the lower the per pupil cost is and this rule applies to both traditional schools and charter schools.

    It really should be no surprise that charters can operate at a lower cost point than do traditional schools because over all the average teacher makes less money in a charter school than in a traditional school from what I can tell, how much less is not clear.

    No national average salary scales exist for charter schoolteachers. What we do know is that average charter school salaries for 2009 include $60,140 for New York, $59,270 for California, $51,350 for Georgia, and $51,050 for Massachusetts. Some charter schools augment teacher salaries for better performance; this can increase the average salary by 5 percent to 10 percent.

    If I were to guess about Chicago I would assume even with additional payments the average charter school teacher makes somewhere around $7,000 to $10,000 less than a CTU teacher depending on the charter school. But that is only a guess. By the way these numbers do not include benefits, these are generally far less than for CPS teachers.

    Rod Estvan

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Rodestvan:

    Larger the school...or...larger the class size? Of course the cost per pupil does gown when you inflate the denominator.

    Rod, been reading you for quite some time - thank you for your posts. Do you know is there is any balanaced (read as accruate) data on student performance at charter schools?

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Headache299
    As always, excellent researching, Mr. Estvan!
    But if the charter teachers make around $7000 to $10,000 less than CTU teachers, where does the $ difference go?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I am going to try to reply to both posts, because these are excellent questions. In relation to the class size school size issues. If you glance at the data in the COMPREHENSIVE ANNUAL FINANCIAL REPORT you will notice that the larger the traditional CPS elementary the lower the per child cost on average. These schools supposedly have the same class size rules.

    The cost savings seems to be driven in part by non-educational costs, like utilities etc. One reason why charter school costs are as high as they are I think is because of their inability to utilize economies of scale. Most of these individual charter schools are relatively small. In order to force charters to contain costs CPS is going to have to force them to operate in larger schools to drive down costs. If CPS does not do this they will be faced with endless campaigns by charter supporters for more money.

    The average elmentary school in this data set has an enrollment of 544 students (this includes both charters and non-charters). We can compare two CPS schools Lincoln elementary (where I graduated from in 1967) that in this data set had an enrollment of 741 and Lenart which had 325 students.

    Both of these schools have high performing students and very contained costs related to students in deep poverty. If we look at only what is called the per Pupil Regular Expense we can see that Lincoln costs $6,511 per student whereas Lenart costs $7,871 per student.

    Unless the school has a severe profound program or some other very high cost program we can compare schools with similar profiles and see that generally the larger the enrollment the less the per child cost. At least using this data set this is what I see.

    On the charter schools cost factoring. We need to recall that charters actually, even with the proposed increase in the FY 13 budget, get less funds per child than do what I call tradtional schools. So the fact that charters have cheaper teachers is offset by the lower per student funding provided by CPS, and by several other things. 1. Payments made to educational mangement organizations for materials and services they supposedly provide in some cases. 2. In some cases, particularly UNO and Nobel Street for capital debt loans coming in part from deals cut with the IFF and banks. 3. To offset special education costs because of the historical underpayments to charter schools even though on average many charter schools enroll fewer more costly disabled students than do traditional schools. I am sure there are other factors here too. Generally at least in the charter budgets I have seen several years ago, administrators are on average making a little less than those in traditional schools. Even the CEO of Nobel Street is getting a little less than are Superintendents of comaprable sized traditional school districts in the state.

    Some, but not every charter school, also get grants, but Catalyst which looked at this several years ago found that these grants were not being used by charters to supplement education for kids but were being used largely for necessities.

    I am not trying to be an appoligist for charter schools but the facts are what they are. I am also not arguing charters enroll children with the same needs as students in many poor traditional schools. Charter supporters have posted on this site the per child reimbursement payments CPS provides numerous times so I don't need to do it again.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Headache299
    Again, thanks Mr. Estvan!
    At the top of the CPS’s COMPREHENSIVE ANNUAL FINANCIAL REPORT, General Information for Elementary Schools it reads:
    Average Student Memb: 544
    Average Per Pupil Regular Exp: $9,339
    Average Per Pupil Capital Exp: $1,093
    Per Pupil Suppl Exp: $1,187

    Question: are the last two expenditures taken out of the the Average Per Pupil Reg Exp as in $9,339 – ($1,093 + $1,187) = $7,059, or is it $9,339 + ($1,093 + $1,187) = $11,619.

    In other words, is the total average $9,339 or is the total average $11,619?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Dear 299.

    According to the 2010 school report card
    Chicago dist 299
    .Chicago operating expense was $13,267.
    per pupil. Don't take my word for this check it out.

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Uno's chief-Rangel makes $250k per year.

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Headache299
    Rod, you wrote that “we can compare schools with similar profiles and see that generally the larger the enrollment the less the per child cost.” However, for the year ended June 30, 2010
    CPS’s COMPREHENSIVE ANNUAL FINANCIAL REPORT

    Chicago International Charter-Bond had a student membership of 342 and the Per Pupil Regular Expenditure is reported at $8,173. Edison Park also reported student membership of 342 and Per Pupil Regular Expenditure was reported at $6,587. Why, at least in this case, do you think Chicago International Charter-Bond received $1,586 above that of Edison Park?

    Both had reportedly the same enrollment, yet, at least in this case, the Charter received more per pupil funding.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Research debunks charter school claims about low financing

    http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=3268&section=Article

  • Steven Ashby, an expert in labor relations at the University of Illinois at Chicago, thinks the board’s actions indicate they want to provoke a strike.

    Do people here agree with this?
    How would CPS benefit from a strike?

  • More recent numbers would be nice but this what I found.
    See: http://www.civicfed.org/sites/default/files/Civic%20Federation%20Charter%20School%20Report.pdf

    page 8:
    "Total actual expenses per pupil in FY2008 were $10,956."

    I believe (correct me if i'm wrong) per pupil expenditure at CPS is about $12,000

  • CPS pays for other charter expenses under the table per se--like utilities or charges them no rent in CPS properties. They kick out kids which can cause them to turn to the street. They pick students and their students still get low scores--and we pay for this! They take from the neighborhood schools, hurting them and the neighborhood. Now they are getting rewarded by getting more money that gets taken from the neighborhood schools.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    There are a lot of great questions and statements in relation to these per pupil cost numbers. If the dialog on this blog were consistently at this level we would be all the better for it - just saying as Alexander would put it.

    As to supposedly under the table charter payments. The new CPS interactive budget for the first time gives us charter school payments on what appears to be close to a school by school basis. Because I am looking deeply at special ed programs I ran across this data. Go to the pull down menu for budget by program click instruction go to the alpha charter and there are several buckets of funds including facilities, tuition, etc. I simply do not right now have the time to digest all this data, but those interested should do so. By the way the entire CPS web site is down right now so you will have to wait.

    Why some charters have a larger average per student cost than others or similarly sized traditional schools is totally unclear to me. I assume in the case of CICS there could be debt factors involved related to individual sites run in some cases by different charter school organizations, CICS is effectively an education management group with sub providers, so we would have to look at each case. Also the data set I referred to people does not equate to tuition payments made to these individual schools, but rather to cost per child from all sources including I think grants.

    The Civic Fed report is an average, what I like about the CAFR data is that it is on a school by school basis, and state law actually requires that. I haven't looked at that particular Federation report in several years so I am not sure how they developed the data, but the CAFR data whether it is right or wrong has been consistent since about the 1980s.

    In relation to Mr. Rangel's salary, there are Superintendents of school districts with a fraction of the students UNO has that make more or the about the same than Mr. Rangel does. Mr. Rangel's payments also according to UNO's tax statements that I looked at two years ago include his role in UNO's non-charter activities. I know teachers and parents can get outraged by these types of numbers but once you look around the state you find these folks are making good money. Again I am not saying that Superintendents should get paid this kind of money or they should not, I am only saying on average charter administrators in particular principals are not making grossly more money than other such administrators around the state. If you want to get really upset look at the kind of money some small south suburban elementary school districts composed of only two or three schools are paying their Superintendents.

    In general relating the the CAFR data I look at only regular costs per student because the other costs that include special education/ ESL honestly only really apply to groups of kids and in a way its not fair to a school to average these out to all kids in the building.

    I think CPS has provided the public in its new budget with a lot of data that can be downloaded in excel. I am finding the downloading process very slow going and think just looking at special ed data the process will take several more days. I think I already spent 5 hours on this on Friday. There are other aspects of the interactive budget that are so different from how tables were presented in the past that it is going to make historical comparisons next to impossible and I have already told CPS I am not happy with that. But legally even using FOIA I can't force CPS to reproduce data in a particular format if the raw data is there. So right now I am trying to figure out what I can do about this and trying to write my annual special ed funding report by July 25.

    In general I believe that the fundamental economic law of economies of scale in relation to cost apply to schools. That does not mean, however that bigger schools are better for low income urban children. But in the context of Illinois where our state funding for education while slowly decreasing is being held up to the extent it is only by massive cuts to human services, funding to city governments, criminal justice, and not really paying what is needed for state related pension funds we are going to have to look at all options. Of course one solution would be a graduated income tax, but given the Illinois Constitution and the general perspectives down in Springfield that is unlikely right now.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    But the argument being made is that Chicago teachers are overpaid in correlation with student test scores, which are near the bottom when comparing against other school districts. Given that scenario, the same argument should also be made that administrators in Chicago are being over paid, since they are connected to the same low scores. Rangel's overall duties as a Charter school CEO, a fractional sub-component of a much larger CPS system, would hardly compare to the duties and responsibilities of Brizard, or any superintendent who has to be prepared for board reports on a bi-weekly or monthly basis. Rangel's position shouldn't be any more than what a Network Chief makes, and it should be less given that Charter schools are less accountable.

    I'm not even sure how Charter schools because such a hot item except to promote its use for alternative motives. My understanding of Charter schools back in the 90s was that a Charter school would be developed with a theme that a regular school could not offer, as opposed to replacing or trying to duplicate what a neighborhood school was offering. A good example would be Urban Prep, an all boys' school. Or a charter school that was music based where every student took music courses. But if one of the reasons why the Charter school movement evolved was because they were cheaper then all Charter employees including the CEO should have salaries proportionally cheaper than their counterparts. Rangel, as CEO, should not be making more than $100,000. The fact that he is making some $250,000 a year is reflective of the top 1% using the Charter school fad to scam the public's tax dollars.

  • Headache299
    I have frequently heard that the bulk of per-pupil spending goes straight into the hands of the teacher. If this is true and the FY2008 spending was $10,956 and a teacher had 28 kids, that’s $306,768.

    I don’t know any teacher ever making $306,768. Even if the teacher is at the reported 2011 so called average salary of $76,000, that still leaves the remaining bulk at $230,768, and I don’t know any classroom teacher who is making that either.

    Somebody is running off with all the cash and somehow teachers always get the blame.

  • NPR
    Steven Ashby, an expert in labor relations at the University of Illinois at Chicago, thinks the board’s actions indicate they want to provoke a strike.

    Do people here agree with this?
    How would CPS benefit from a strike?

  • The Board wants the strike. By digging into the reserves-the Board has a plan afoot. Rahm expects and has his minions plotting, for compensation for being embarassed by CTU's call for the vote and geting 90% of it. The man is about revenge, payback and getting his way. He will stop at nothing to get it. If CTU is forced to strike, EVERY union in Chicago will need to support it.

  • "CPS budget pushes for charters, magnets, specialty programs in school budgets" |http://ow.ly/ceo2B @catalystchicago @WBEZeducatiom

  • Could Chicago afford to have a teachers' strike in the presidential election season?

  • Yes--Rahm will do what Rahm wants--then, Obama will come in and bring CTU and Rahm togther- overwhelmingly winning the election.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I'm not so sure that's what will happen. Like it or not, the Obama administration has done more damage to the teachers unions and has advocated privatization/charters more than any other presidency. "Race to the Top" (a Obama/Duncan initiative) alone has done more damage to the teaching profession than any other federal education initiative. The only reason Obama would intervene would be if the AFT or NEA threaten to pull the massive amounts of political contributions made to his campaign (I understand the decision to endorse him over Romney- a necessary evil). However, what is a player (if a strike were to happen) is the horrific violence that this city has experienced this summer. If the mayor doesn't get results quick, he will continue to be put on the hot seat (rightfully so!). Now imagine, 440,000 children out of school due to a strike. Let the first child (who should have been in school) lose their life due meaningless violence, the city will be up in arms (rightfully so!). My question is, who will be blamed for that loss of life (because you know someone will point the finger). The mayor or the CTU?

  • @Maestro The CTU. The reason why the "blame" might lie with the mayor is complicated to explain and involves numbers and percentages. Most Chicagoans haven't received meaningful raises in years and may have even seen net reductions in wages while the cost of living and property taxes keep increasing. The "longer" day is perceived as a return to a "normal" day and the perceived months of vacation time is unfathomable to most who get two weeks or no vacation at all in the case of most hourly workers.

    Personally i'm fine with a 4% - 6% per year increase for more senior teachers and 0% - 3% for those who are newer to the system.

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    @Parent

    I understand your point and agree that somehow the blame will fall on the union. However, I think this kind of thinking is fundamentally at fault with much of the American middle class. The economic elite have done well to pit the middle class against itself. What has resulted is this "crab mentality" where one person thinks "if I can't have it, neither should you." CEO and top coroprate positions have enjoyed hefty pay raises through out this recession, all the while the middle class has suffered huge losses (significantly minorities). I wish to see the working class people (Rep & Dem) unite and begin to take this country back from the oligarchs that now control it. For that to happen this "crab mentality" must end. Just my humble opinion.

  • Dear CPS Parent,

    You may be fine with teachers working longer hours without compensation. Perhaps that is because you are not being asked to do it. If the Mayor cannot afford to compensate the teachers for the extra hours and days added onto the school schedule, then perhaps we cannot have an extended schedule. I will also refuse to agree to a contract that includes the removal of compensation for educational advancement and years of service. This is just not going to happen.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Maestro asked where the public will place "blame". What i'm suggesting is that the public is not going to understand why a raise is needed for a return to a normal length school day and year. In addition the concept of automatic raises based on seniority and additional education is completely unknown outside of the K-12 (unionized) teaching profession and will not have any traction with the public either.

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    The public just needs to be made to understand that teachers do significant amounts of work outside of the regularly scheduled school day, i.e. according to a recent study by Bruno & Ashby, CTU teachers already work an average of 58 hours per week.

    I don't think that type of public support is an especially high hurdle to clear. Despite the attacks on teachers by the mayor, the Board, and "reformers" parents see how hard teachers work. According to a Tribune poll, about 90% of Chicagoans think that teachers should be paid more if they are required to work more. Well, duh.

    I disagree that raises based on seniority, education, and training are unheard of outside of the K-12 teaching profession. It is totally standard for the private sector to pay more for professionals who have more experience and more education and training. That pay increase is not automatic, true, but it is ubiquitous enough that it is not something so alarming or shocking for unionized professionals to receive.

    Rahm is the one that has work to do. Twice as many Chicagoans believe in teachers' vision for education compared to the mayor's destructive plans.

  • Lots of private companies also reimburse employees for tuition.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Completey different from an automatic, permanent salary bump

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    so what? don't minority students have the right to attract the best teachers? in order for that to occur the pay scale has to be competitive. if you take away the automatic salary bumps then prospective top teachers are going to go to the districts that do offer them. everything that rahm is doing is ensuring that chicago students are going to get the leftovers of the teaching profession. the damage that rahm is doing will take decades to fix. do you seriously think that the white middle class is going to stay around when their kids are being taught by the most inexperienced and incompetent teachers? have you not seen the rise in crime? do you seriously think it is not related to the decline of the school system? have you not seen how the black crime wave is trickling into downtown and middle-class areas?

    when i think of the cps and its teaching force i think about a picture from the south depicting a white-only water fountain that was big and nice looking next to a colored-only water fountain that was small and dirty. and while rahm is cheapening the school system, his allies are pocketing the profits. no way should any charter school "CEO" reap a ridiculous $250,000 salary (rangel). his duties are only a fraction of what a real superintendent does, who must be prepared for board reports on a bi-weekly or monthly basis. charter school salaries should be less proportional at all levels, not just the teachers. administrators have learned to cheat the system out of tax payer money.

    rahm's political career must end as mayor in chicago. he is the worst mayor in the history of chicago and uneducated people like cps parent will learn the hard way.

  • Regarding "The public just needs to be made to understand...". This is very hard to since it involves numbers and percentages and a fair amount of critical analysis. The public at large is very limited in this ability.

    Regarding "reformers". The general public which does not follow education issues in any meaningful way perceives "reform" as a good thing. The CTU has conceded the concept of "reform" to its enemy. It has failed to come up with a counter moniker which stands for the position the CTU has regarding school improvement. This is a national problem - I'm not just picking on the CTU. The public has no concept of what the "teachers' vision" is and I don't think the CTU can concisely articulate it.

    Yes, I would be one of the 90% that agrees teachers should get a raise for going back to a normal workday. 4% - 6% seems about right.

    Regarding lane increases. As you point out it is not automatic in any other profession and therefore is shocking to most people. I have explained this to people and they are - shocked. Even my most pro union friends have difficulty with this notion. I do think teachers who have been enrolled or have graduated this year should see some benefit in this contract before its phased out entirely.

    Regarding step increases. I do understand why this exists. Unlike the private sector the K-12 system has failed to come up with a hierarchy of responsibility levels which would allow for salary increases based on added responsibilities. Perhaps a Lead 3rd Grade Teacher would assume responsibility over all 3rd grade teachers and coordinate PD, lesson planning, etc. I could see a gradual phasing out of step increases with something else taking its place. I am not all a fan of student standardized test based teacher evaluation.

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