Big Changes for Hiring Teachers

Today's education news: CPS says it's going to expand the student-based budgeting plan from a 40-school pilot to citywide, which means among other things that principals will have to pay for their teachers' salaries rather than just paying a citywide average salary. Prepare for howls of rage.  Some minority lawmakers are threatening to end or slow the planning closing process.  The Tribune editorial page says that not renting empty CPS buildings to charters makes no sense.  

STUDENT-BASED BUDGETING

CPS restructures funding to give principals more say on spending Sun Times: Chicago Public Schools will transition to a new per-pupil funding model next fiscal year intended to give principals greater flexibility on determining how each school’s dollars are spent — on staffing and programming — while bringing all schools, including charters, onto the same funding formula, CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett announced Monday.

New CPS funding formula drops 30-pupil standard Tribune: Chicago Public Schools officials plan to scrap a school funding formula that assumes a typical class size of 30 students in favor of a system that would divide money on a more straightforward per-pupil basis.

CPS changing how it gives money to schools WBEZ:  Currently, all charter schools and about 40 district schools are funded on a per-student basis. Critics worry per-student funding gives principals an incentive to hire less-experienced teachers in order to provide more programs or have smaller class sizes.

CPS Introduces Per-Pupil Budgeting CPS Chatter: This move will also make principals much less likely to hire older teachers who already face a difficult time getting hired in the system.  Principals can hire 3 first year teachers for the cost or 2 veterans.  This is obviously a move toward vouchers and further deskilling of our profession.  Somehow it doesn’t surprise me much.

CLOSINGS

Lawmakers threaten to push CPS closings moratorium Chicago Tribune: The news conference comes a week after a district commission found that Mayor Rahm Emanuel and schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett could safely close or overhaul as many as 80 schools this year, despite earlier concerns noting the district had never ...

Black and Latino legislators call for moratorium on CPS closures Sun Times: Leaders of the Illinois Legislature’s black and Latino caucuses on Monday accused CPS of preparing to close schools without having a comprehensive plan in place and called for a moratorium on closings for the 2013-2014 school year.

Rational Decisions and Heartbreak on School Closings NYT: Officials in cities like Philadelphia, Chicago and Washington are being met with anger and criticism as they close schools citing budgets.

CHARTERS

A promise worth breaking Tribune (editorial): Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett has made an unfortunate promise: She won't allow those shuttered buildings to be reopened as stand-alone charter schools. Byrd-Bennett shouldn't have made that promise. CPS shouldn't keep it.

MISC

Lawsuit highlights difficulty for parents of students with special needs WBEZ: But a lawsuit filed against Chicago Public Schools indicates it may be a hard one to get schools to acknowledge. Heriberto Lopez Alberola and his ex-wife Elizabeth Nash filed a lawsuit against CPS last week, claiming the Ogden International School ...

FOIA Fest for journalists, activists CMW: How much does CPS spend on standardized testing?  How is the CHA spending federal subsidies it’s getting for housing units that it’s failed to occupy?  What’s happened to the clients of mental health clinics that were closed?  Which schools are losing students to urban violence?

Emanuel: Chicago Casino Money Would Go To Schools CBS2: Mayor Emanuel says Chicago children would be the beneficiaries if the state allows the city to have a gambling casino.

New school may come to the South Loop, but neighbors demand park Gazette: The possibility of a new British School of Chicago in the South Loop became a hot topic at a recent Greater South Loop Association meeting attended by approximately 75 local residents.

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  • If we are closing schools because there isn't enough of a school-age population to support them, why on Earth would we spend money opening new schools in those very same buildings? It makes no financial sense at all. Does the Tribune editorial board have a single brain cell among them?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Generally it does not make any sense for charter schools to open up new schools in sites where there have been population declines. There are a few exceptions however and I think that is what the Tribune editiorial board is looking at.

    One of those exceptions might be Lyman Trumbull School on the north side which is on the list of underutilized schools. But even Trumbull might be a weak site for a charter, because the community around Trumbull are not lower income families looking for a charter that promises to help their children get into college. These families expect their children to get into college.

    CPS could likely sell off Trumbull to a higher end private school which could easily charge families over $10,000 a year per child and still fill up. Any charter school that might open at that site would likely have to bring in low income children from around the city in order to fill it up.

    Rod Estvan

  • Just saw this from Rod Estvan at Catalyst-Chicago:
    http://www.catalyst-chicago.org/notebook/2013/03/11/20875/cps-adopts-pupil-budgets-equal-charter-funding#comment-39776

    Rod Estvan wrote 1 sec ago
    Per pupil funding perfect for coming cuts

    I am surprised that CPS educator is enthralled with per pupil funding. I assume principals understand the funding cuts Illinois and the Federal government will be making and the reduced funding CPS will be providing to schools. To write as CPS educator does "based on what my budget will allow I can now hire a music teacher full time OR pay for a music program which would cost considerably less," is fantastic in our current situation. Your school budget could very well require the elimination of music, but CPS still have the legal power to mandate it if they want to.

    Per pupil funding allows CPS to do is to shift responsibility for cuts to the local level. In effect they are telling principals here are the mandates for academic improvement here is your reduced funding and now you figure out how to do it. It also allows CPS to contain property tax increases if it wants to and simply blame principals for being weak managers with the funds they have been provided. It's not going to be a choice between young or older teachers, it's going to be far more difficult choices than that. Illinois is a fiscal disaster and so is the City of Chicago. There is no golden sunrise coming that will shower cash on schools be they charters or traditional public schools.

    While I believe it is unlikely that Governor Quinn's full education cuts will get through the appropriations process in the Illinois General Assembly, it is also unlikely that there won't be cuts. It is also unlikely Illinois will be able to make its payments to school districts in a timely manner any time soon. Other states like Minnesota are increasing k-12 funding because of an increase in revenue due to more people working and paying taxes. But even in Minnesota the funding increase will not make up for what schools have lost in funding over just the last two years. Illinois too is receiving increased revenues, but those funds are going to pay the huge debts the state has piled up and the cuts must continue.

    If the Chicago Principals & Administrators Association takes the same position as CPS educator then they have lost contact with reality, not that they can stop the imposition of per pupil funding either. Cheering for the freedom to make administrative choices with declining funds is somewhat strange.

    Rod Estvan

  • Rod, I usually agree with your very informed and thoughtful comments. However, I don't think the question of per-pupil funding is so cut and dry. I work at one of the schools that is currently on per-pupil funding, and it has its advantages and disadvantages. It does give principals a lot more discretion over how they spend their money, which can be very nice. With the old way of budgeting there is often very little in the way of discretionary money. On the down side, it's true that principals may pay more attention to the invisible price tag hanging over each of our heads - lower-paid newer teachers may look like a bargain while more expensive veterans may be "priced out of the market". However, smart principals will not see things that cut and dry. Smart principals will do what smart principals have always done, find the best teachers they can. So, message to teachers looking to be hired in the era of per-pupil budgets, be damned good at what you do, take on leadership roles, be a team player, etc. All of which sounds oddly like how it works in most of the working world.

    It may be that the timing is convenient for the board to mask coming funding cuts or blame principals for the truly difficult decisions they have to make, but is there any reason to think the cuts would NOT be coming if we didn't move to per-pupil funding? It's not that people are cheering for declining funds. The cuts are coming either way, so as a principal I would prefer to be able to choose how to spend what money I do have.

  • In reply to Chicago Teacher:

    I forgot to mention another possible upside to per-pupil funding. Currently each school is allocated a certain number of positions based on number of students. Principals fill each position with whatever teacher they choose to hire, whether they are cheap or expensive. This can lead to large funding discrepancies between schools in CPS. How? Some schools, which are perceived as being more desirable places to work at (e.g. selective enrollment, less poverty, racially integrated, etc.) tend to get both higher numbers and better quality of applicants. Other schools that are not as desirable get many fewer and less experienced applicants. I'm not saying all experienced teachers are better, just that there's probably some correlation between experience and effectiveness, not to mention the self selection that occurs as many teachers to seek to "move up the ladder" from less desirable to more desirable schools. Even if the AVERAGE teacher quality is the same in the pool of applicants at each school, the pool of teachers applying to the more desirable school is bigger and, therefore, contains more high quality applicants. So, imagine in the current funding system if both the desirable (school A) and the undesirable (school B) school each have 10 vacant teacher positions. If the principal at school A has many quality teacher applicants with lots of experience and hires 10 teachers at an average salary of $90,000 and the principal at school B has mostly new, inexperienced applicants and hires 10 at an average salary of $50,000 that is a perfectly legal funding difference of $400,000! Now figure that over time most of the other teachers hired have a similar level of pay at each school and the funding discrepancy between the two schools can easily surpass a million dollars. Interpretation: the relatively well-to-do kids who go to North Side College Prep get hundreds of thousands of dollars, maybe more, in funding that kids at a "ghetto" high school don't get.

    Furthermore, I'd bet anything that the teacher turnover at the desirable schools in CPS is much lower than it is at high poverty schools, which means that even without hiring more expensive teachers, the principals at the "good" schools benefit because those teachers stick around and become more and more expensive, while at the undesirable schools teachers often leave for greener pastures as soon as they get the chance.

    So you see, in this sense per-pupil funding would be the great equalizer. Teachers may still want to move to more desirable schools, but principals won't be able to afford to hire all "expensive" teachers (although they'll still benefit from them sticking around longer, but even then they'll have to make some tough choices as their aging teacher population becomes more and more expensive).

    Maybe the headline should read "PER PUPIL STRIKES A BLOW FOR LOW INCOME SCHOOLS".

  • In reply to Chicago Teacher:

    Principals will be held accountable for outcomes despite the cuts in funding. Good principals will make very bad choices because there will be no other choices to be made with the money left in the pot. I have seen some very excellent CPS administrators who directed CPS special education, many former principals by the way, make really bad choices. Once one showed me the memo on the cuts the budget office was directing be made and started crying.

    One bad choice was eliminating all district level support for students with autism in non-cluster site schools. This forced even more students into cluster programs, but given the choices it was the least harmful that could be picked at the time. CPS at one point eliminated every city wide behavior therapist position so local schools had no one to turn to when they had a child completely falling apart, which of course means more kids get shipped out, and so it goes.

    A smart principal knows when they are getting set up to take the fall. CPS will not have to order cuts, the principals will do it for them. There will always be a young administrator willing to take the job for $100,000 or so a year if a principal stages an uprising against the cuts. As a wise man once said the chickens are coming home to roost.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Rod, How will SWD be protected? Any hope?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Well I am up early and I am heading to Springfield to meet with as many members as possible of the body, JCAR, that will review the ISBE proposal to abolish all special education class size rules. I have been on the phone and exchanging emails with parents of students with disabilities from around the State. The Illinois Federation of Teachers including the CTU and the Illinois Education Association are asking members to also visit JCAR members and urge them to prohibit the ISBE from abolishing these rules.

    Many people will submit commentary on these proposed rule changes to JCAR. I don't know of one disability related organization that is supporting this change and most are actively opposing it. The ARC of Illinois has formally requested that there be public hearings on this proposal and that call has been backed by several members of the Assembly including Rep Golar from Chicago.

    All we can do is oppose these changes to try and protect students with disabilities to the extent we can within the context of fiscal austerity that is being imposed on public education in our state.

    Rod Estvan

  • Assistant principals going to lose their jobs? Didnt Rahm say schools dont need aps?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Rahm-I just love the smell of napalm in the morning.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Rahm – America’s favorite Murder Mayor

  • Per pupil funding perfect for coming cuts
    I assume principals understand the funding cuts Illinois and the Federal government will be making and the reduced funding CPS will be providing to schools. To write as CPS educator does "based on what my budget will allow I can now hire a music teacher full time OR pay for a music program which would cost considerably less," is fantastic in our current situation. Your school budget could very well require the elimination of music, but CPS still have the legal power to mandate it if they want to.

    Per pupil funding allows CPS to do is to shift responsibility for cuts to the local level. In effect they are telling principals here are the mandates for academic improvement here is your reduced funding and now you figure out how to do it. It also allows CPS to contain property tax increases if it wants to and simply blame principals for being weak managers with the funds they have been provided. It's not going to be a choice between young or older teachers, it's going to be far more difficult choices than that. Illinois is a fiscal disaster and so is the City of Chicago. There is no golden sunrise coming that will shower cash on schools be they charters or traditional public schools.

    While I believe it is unlikely that Governor Quinn's full education cuts will get through the appropriations process in the Illinois General Assembly, it is also unlikely that there won't be cuts. It is also unlikely Illinois will be able to make its payments to school districts in a timely manner any time soon. Other states like Minnesota are increasing k-12 funding because of an increase in revenue due to more people working and paying taxes. But even in Minnesota the funding increase will not make up for what schools have lost in funding over just the last two years. Illinois too is receiving increased revenues, but those funds are going to pay the huge debts the state has piled up and the cuts must continue.

    If the Chicago Principals & Administrators Association takes the same position as CPS educator then they have lost contact with reality, not that they can stop the imposition of per pupil funding either. Cheering for the freedom to make administrative choices with declining funds is somewhat strange.

    Rod Estvan

  • Chicago Teacher, your conclusions don't make sense to me. If a school is undesirable, they will be able to hire cheaper teachers because of high turnover and the fact that experienced teachers sometimes know better and avoid certain schools. Therefore, they will not have to pay higher salaries. That will save that school hundreds of thousands of dollars.
    Our highest achieving schools have teachers in them that never leave, because they are much easier to teach in. They will cost their schools tons of money.
    CPS is saying it will only give so much money per school. This means, principals will not be able to keep their veteran teachers and will have to find ways of firing them. They will also be forced to fire teachers just before they hit their tenure year, since a 4th year teacher is more expensive than a first year teacher. CPS will no longer pay for any teacher the principal wants to hire. It will give a lump sum based on # of students and when the money is gone, it is gone. Its not like CPS will give schools more money if they have more veteran teachers. Or did I misunderstand you? The less money a school spends on staff, the more money it will have for other things. It sounds to me like no one should ever bother to get any degree past a B.A, because that costs money too for a school and principals won't want to hire anyone with an advanced degree.

  • In reply to teacherparent:

    You are 100% correct. Cheap cheap cheap. It's union busting at it's roots. Let's remember who is at the lead in all this... billionaire's best boy Rhammmy.

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