CPS's "Private" Public Meetings

Yesterday's Board meeting included the approval of the revised budget, the official signoff on the hiring of Barbara Byrd-Bennett, and the revelation from Catalyst that CPS was holding private public meetings about closings and consolidations.


CPS holding "private" meetings with community leaders on school actions Catalyst: CPS officials at the meeting said they are trying to make the process of school closings more palatable than last year, when CPS was sharply criticized for not heeding input and some community members were paid by a politically connected organization to show up at meetings in support of the actions.


CPS approves teachers contract Tribune: The three-year contract, already ratified by the Chicago Teachers Union, will cost the district an average of $74 million per year, the district said. To accommodate that, the district plans a number of financial moves, including refinancing bonds and ...

Intelligence Report: Changing CPS CEOs comes at a cost ABC: Change doesn't come for free. In this Intelligence Report: The cost of replacing the head of the Chicago Public Schools.

Chicago students and teachers, listen up: rare truth-telling about the system's future Warren:  The bottom line was crystal clear: the system is headed toward huge shutdowns of schools. There was talk by Cawley and Bennet of looking at every "nook and cranny" for more savings and efficiencies. There are not that many nooks and crannies in any institution in America outside, say, the Pentagon or the New York Yankees payroll.

CPS budget includes $103 million in pay raises as fiscal challenges loom Medill Reports: The board approved Chicago Public Schools' fiscal year 2013 budget in August, but now must amend the budget to include pay increases outlined in the new Chicago Teachers Union contract resulting from last month's strike.

New teacher union contract approved WGN: The Chicago Board of Education approved the new three-year Chicago Teachers Union contract Tuesday


Byrd-Bennett approved as CPS CEO CPS: The Chicago Board of Education voted unanimously Wednesday to approve the hiring of Barbara Byrd-Bennett as the new schools chief at $250,000 annually for three years.

Hey, teachers: you should have voted for del Valle! Chicago Reader (blog): He did not get the Chicago Teachers Union's endorsement—they stayed neutral—even though his record as a state senator on everything from charters to local school councils to high-stakes testing was far more favorable to teachers than any of the other ...




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  • Today. Thursday 10-15-12, is 'Give Principal Ken Hunter a Hug' Day at Prosser Career Academy HS.

    Everyone should walk up to our principal at Prosser, Ken Hunter, and give him a hug. Why? Because Ken desperately needs the human contact, especially with all of his pseudo-friends ignoring him of late and leaving him by himself in his office to play hours of 'Hey Jude' on his warped sounding guitar. And, it's too bad many of the newbie teachers are unable to understand the key to success at Prosser is by applying their lips to Hunter's behind, selling your soul to him, and visiting him in his jail cell (office).

    It's a shame a man in his late 50's to early 60's could be in such a high position of authority and be void of any true friends. Hunter is in essence a relationship illerate, which has led to two divorces, a son that feels uncomfortable around him, and many minions which have relationship problems of their own with many divorces among Prosser staff members. And, Hunter likes his staffers having serious relationship problems as he considers them as broken as he is.

    In fact, Hunter is need of friends so bad, he has now welcomed his former nemesis (Wood Shop teacher, Richard Martin) into his inner circle. It's not uncommon to see Hunter and Martin yucking it up in his office like they were two old buddies from Carol's Speakeasy. Though, Martin tells other teachers, who can stomach listening to his double talking and psycho 'union' babbling, he now has Hunter eating out of his hand and his job at Prosser is safe until he retires.

    Hunter is so void of a true friend he'll give anyone that's nice to him things which truly aren't his, namely taxpayer's money. And, Hunter is really good at giving away other people's money and things. One could find Hunter using up the Culinary Arts' budget on gourmet meals for his buddies from England along with giving anyone who can give him a 'favor' a Prosser goodie bag. While, our Prosser students are in dire need of textbooks and teachers could use three working copy machines with paper, not one part-time copy machine from the 1980's.

    Our principal Hunter is so starved for a friend, he has confided to many he wishes Prosser was a year round school just to have people around him more often. It's not uncommon to stop by Prosser on the weekends to pick up something you may have forgotten to see Hunter wondering the halls and talking out loud to himself, a fate he brought on himself.

    So, if you see our principal at Prosser today or outside the building, go up and give him a hug. Some students may not actually remember what our principal Ken Hunter looks like because he only leaves his office three times day. Once to walk during the national anthem to the lunchroom to get his morning cup of coffee. (Hunter does this to get recognized and to show his power, tempting anyone to tell him to stop for the anthem). Two, to go to the bathroom to relieve himself of all his meaness, negativity, and guilt. And three, when he walks to his car to go downtown to get reamed out by CPS for doing one of his misdeeds.

    Today is "Give Ken Hunter a HUG Day" at Prosser, enjoy it.

  • This is a very rude comment! It is easy to hide behind being anonymous when blogging. Why share your feelings about Ken Hunter with everyone who reads this blog site? No one else cares about personal vendettas! This site's purpose is to share news about CPS at-large, not petty comments about people. Why stay at Prosser if you are unhappy with the leadership and the way things are handled? Perhaps you have fallen out of favor with the principal and are striking back in a public forum???? Worry about our pension fund! There may not be enough money in the fund to pay you a pension someday. Worry about the 5.1 amendment to the Illinois Constitution which if passed may mean that it will be nearly impossible to ever get an increase in your pension when you retire!

  • In reply to RondaGoldman:

    It may be rude but this is the only venue teachers and staff have to safely out these inept principals. Central Office knows when there are problems at a school just by the teacher transfer rate but it does nothing to curb these little sociopathic principals. Now we have a Little Village principal charging parents $20.00 per child for the air conditioning (see Sun-Times) My niece has a new principal who refuses to give the teachers their preps-he schedules meetings during prep times and has told the special education teachers that all of their pre-IEP meetings, MDC and IEP meeting will be held during their prep periods. Yet Catalyst has an article about signing bonuses for principals. I think a mandatory principal psychological would be money better spent.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    could someone at least try and document the situation -- are there LSC minutes, is the principal in question under a performance plan of some kind? are there letters or statements that have been presented to the board about this principal?

  • In reply to RondaGoldman:

    Well said

  • Alexander the Board did not vote on the amended budget, it was withdrawn at the last moment. Look at Substance which reproduced a statement I gave to the Board on the problems with the proposed amended budget see http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=3721&section=Article

    Rod Estvan

  • Courthouse News blurb about lawsuit against CPS over Cooke Elementary molestation case http://ow.ly/eLAd8

  • In addition to the Substance report the Tribune also reported on CPS delaying a vote on the amended budget. See http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-cps-board-meeting-20121025,0,2808863.story

    Let me add this, I thought the comments made by Board member Henry S. Bienen at the meeting in relation to a power point presentation made by Tim Cawley were correct and pointed to the significant fiscal decline of CPS. These comments were not reported on, nor were comments made by Board member Penny Pritzker which basically supported those of Bienen.

    CPS is entering what I would characterize as a deteriorating downward spiral. It is now rolling debt without having any reserve fund. As someone who was once a risk manager I can tell you this behavior sends out warning signs to lenders. Aside from the pending increased pension payments CPS will have to make, CPS also faces some uncertainty in relation to state funding due to the overall fiscal crisis in Illinois and if sequestration takes place federal funding.

    Up to now there has not been an honest discussion at CPS relating to a solution. In particular over how much is anything school closures would save CPS. Each particular school closure may have to be looked at seperately to determine whether or not it might save money. The of closures are dependent on the situation of the receiving school, not only in terms of avaiable space, but also in terms of whether or not additional teachers would have to be hired to absorb the students.

    Then you have the complexity of the closed building, if you mothball it that costs money, if you tear it down that also costs money, if you turn it over to a charter and the facilities payments made by the charter are not equal to the plant operations costs that also costs money. CPS has to pick its poison. All of this needs to be publicly discussed and understood. There is no public understanding of these issues and CPS has not attempted to inform communities of these complex issues.

    Rod Estvan

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Rodestvan:

    CPS does not want to shed too much light on the specifics. This is to mask that the over all goal is to use "consolidating" as a nice media friendly term for dramatically increasing the number of charter schools. Politics and lies.

  • "The contract provides Byrd-Bennett with $30,000 for relocation and transition expenses. Byrd-Bennett has been the district's chief education officer since April."

    Exactly why was BBB given $30,00 for relocation and transition expenses when she has been here since April??

    Another example of financial mismanagement.

  • Does anyone know why there is a shortage of subs? There is shortage this week, even with the Track E schools closed for intercession. I retired and received an undated letter asking me to sub but when I called the number it was the wrong number. My friend applied to sub in September online and hasn't heard a thing. Is this some new game CPS is playing? Where are all of the displaced teachers?

  • good question about subs and the displaced teachers…and where is the do-nothing union?
    They don’t even mention it on their web page
    teachers tell me that the union doesn't even return their telephone calls

  • Since other people brought this up go over to Substance and
    read about one persons journey along this slippery trace.

  • Thanks I did read the posting at Substance. You've been waiting since last March to sub. I can only assume this is being done to save money. Teachers need to start filing grievances due to missed preps and total shut-downs of programs including those who service children with legally mandated IEPs. Parents can file lawsuits if their child gets hurt due to lack of adequate supervision. According to state law a certificated employee is to be in the room-TYPE 75 or teaching certificate. What next- the janitors will be asked to supervise/teach?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Yes-CPS is not supplying subs to save $$.
    Yes-schools are being forced becasue of lsd to use custodians, parents and special ed aides to supervise students.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    How can I find out if my kid is losing his sped aide during the day?

  • There is a huge problem getting subs. If you are a sub I suggest you get out there and visit some schools, give them your phone number and employee ID. They can than request you, or call you the day before. Last year when I was a sub I was plugged in with 2 schools that were great. By April I had principals calling me directly to see if I could sub. CPS is either not sending subs out or they are creating a sub shortage by keeping the sub enrollment closed. I remember last year they closed sub enrollment in October. This year I got a full time gig....thank goodness!

  • Retirees can't even get an employee ID number so they can't sub nor do they want to sub (I am assuming) IF there are displaced teachers or others(non-retired)

  • Dear 30 year.

    Things have changed.To get sub credentials One is directed
    to apply online .After that nothing .

  • Headache299
    There is no substitute teacher ‘shortage’ – CPS just isn’t sending them

    Last week, CPS mandated vapid REACH ‘Professional Development’, yanked teachers out of their classrooms and then didn’t provide substitutes to cover the classes.

    This happened to classrooms in the Garfield Humboldt Park Network, you know, predominantly ‘low income’ so who is going notice?

    Chuck Goudie from the ABC 7 I-Team?! Well, he didn’t mention it, but as the link below illustrates, there is no shortage of sub-standard reporting from Chuck Goudie.

    Check out his Sub-Shortage ‘report’ from October 15th where he blames the Track-E substitute-shortage on a “quirk in the calendar after last month’s strike” at


  • Saw this from Rod Estvan in comments at Catalyst:

    "Rod Estvan wrote 1 sec ago
    As I stated publicly before

    As I stated publicly before the CPS Board yesterday, school closings will not save much money at all if the receiving school has to open additional classrooms to service these students. I used the example of a school closure discussion in the small school district of Newtown CT.

    What the Board in that district discovered was that in order to close one elementary school and merge it with another under enrolled school that was in better physical shape they would have to put most the new students coming from one under enrolled school with 17 classrooms into basically seven empty rooms in another under enrolled school. It would also require eliminating from the receiving school rooms for specials classes, so art and music would be taught in regular classrooms. It was also being discussed that whether some of the moved students could be placed in portable classrooms.

    Newtown CT may still go ahead with the closure and consolidation, but cost savings are not likely to be realized for years, if there are any. As one Board member named Bill Hart from that small town said: "I think the savings potential is over-estimated. You only save a small amount of staff and the cost of operating a building, which would hardly create a dent in our operating budget."

    I suspect that this is what CPS will find also if it does an honest analysis. There are no doubt a few schools that could be consolidated into two or more schools without these types of bad results. But a 100 or more, that I would suggest is not likely.

    Rod Estvan"

  • http://www.catalyst-chicago.org/notebook/2012/10/24/20547/cps-holding-private-meetings-community-leaders-school-actions

  • There was a failuer to communicate at the at Malcolm X. Westside parents stood up to CPS brass and told them enough manipulation!

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