So, Yeah, More Hearings

So, Yeah, More Hearings

Today's education news:  The final round of school closing hearings began.  The Sun Times editorial page says that the savings are real -- albeit small.  Catalyst notes that the receiving schools are going to be cramped. There's a new preschool program being implemented.  See also comments and tweets from over the weekend.  You have been warned.  

HEARINGS

Hearings begin, parents and teachers sound off on school closings plan WBEZ: Attendance at the first day of meetings was sparse. Across 13 hearings, fewer than 400 people turned out. At one of the hearings, the district recorded just one person having attended. At hearings held before the final closing list came out, 400 people turned out to single meetings.

CPS launches 27-day series of 180 public hearings on school closings on Saturday Sun Times: The Board of Education is expected to cast its final vote in late May. Three hearings must be held for each school to be closed, two in the community and one at the Board of Education.

Parents, community speaks out to save West Side school Tribune: A crowd of people appearing in red T-shirts that read "Save our Schools" packed a West Side high school auditorium to speak against the shuttering of Leif Ericson Elementary Scholastic Academy in the East Garfield Park neighborhood.

Activists Call For Boycott Of CPS Meetings CBS: “Why should we go to a CPS community meeting in which the mayor said it doesn’t make any difference,” Dwayne Truss, part of the Raise Your Hand group.

Parents voice concerns over proposed CPS closings WGNtv.com: That's a charge CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett took personally Wednesday saying “that is an affront to me as a woman of color and it is an affront to every parent in our community who demands a better education for their children.”

CLOSINGS

Editorial: Numbers add up for CPS savings Sun Times: How real are the financial savings projected from the closing of 54 Chicago public schools this summer? Pretty real, a close look at the school system’s numbers tells us. CPS has calculated the annual savings fairly conservatively. So the numbers are real, yes.

For the Record: School closing logistics Catalyst: A Catalyst Chicago analysis of CPS utilization data shows that in eight instances, the receiving school will be more than 100 percent over capacity if the current enrollment of the closing and receiving schools combines. In another eight cases, the building will be at more than 90 percent at capacity. (See school-by-school info in an Excel file below)

PRESCHOOL

CPS preschools to start charging sliding-scale tuition Tribune: Parents can apply to as many as three preschools at one of 13 application centers, or on designated days at local elementary schools, in a process that, according to the CPS, begins Monday and ends May 3. Previously, applications were sent to individual schools and there was no limit on the number of schools to which parents could apply for their children.

Ready to Learn shifts preschool funds Catalyst: Twelve elementary schools and more than 40 community-based preschool providers around the city will lose preschool funding under the city’s “Ready to Learn” preschool competition, an effort to shift preschool seats to high-quality programs in neighborhoods where they are needed. Except for Hampton Elementary in Ashburn, all the schools that lost preschool programs are in Lincoln Park, the Near North Side, the Near West Side, or the Loop.

SAFETY

Chicago Police program protects kids targeted with gang violence Sun Times: Sounding the alarm to help save those students’ lives is a little-noticed unit of the Chicago Police Department — the Gang School Safety Team. Over the past three years, at the team’s recommendation, about 60 students have been transferred to other schools for their protection. Most are sent to another public school in Chicago. Some head to the suburbs.

Suburban teen in New Orleans for volunteer mission shot and killed Sun Times: Joseph Massenburg, 18, of Matteson, had just started a nine-month assignment as an AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps volunteer when he was killed April around 11 p.m. He was in New Orleans and talking on his cellphone to a 17-year-old friend in the Chicago area when it happened, according to Joseph’s mother, Sharon Massenburg.

MISC

Mitchell: Rahm's parents raised him not to be scared of a good fight Chicago Sun-Times: Indeed, Karen Lewis, head of the Chicago Teachers Union, has publicly labeled the school closings as “racist,” and more than a few clergy are following her lead. Yet Emanuel, the city's first Jewish mayor, grew up in a household with a mother who ...

Parent Mentor Program Celebrates Statewide Expansion Progress IL: In one year’s time the Parent Mentor Program more than doubled its presence in schools across the state, increasing from 28 schools last year, to 57 today. Participants gathered at today’s conference came from cities ranging from Moline to Niles.

Kindergarten Teacher Goes 'Above and Beyond' DNAI: Laura LeQuesne Filipiak teaches kindergarten at Goethe Elementary School in Logan Square.

At Sullivan High School, Bhutanese Refugees Find a New Home DNAI: Hundreds of Bhutanese families moved to Rogers Park after years of living in Nepal refugee camps.

 

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  • Ednovate Names Nationally Known USC Rossier Alum Oliver Sicat - The Sacramento Bee http://ow.ly/jQXPj

  • I would like to comment on Sun Times editorial in relation to cost savings of school closings that Alexander linked. I found it absurd that the editorial states in relation to their estimate of cost savings that it was likely "a conservative figure since it includes no teacher layoffs." It's simply inconceivable to me that there will not be teacher layoffs. The Sun Times comes up with a number of $43 million a year in cost savings for CPS, I come up with much more.

    Sarah Karp on April 3 in Catalyst published an article on line titled "Losing track," it was in part about the closing of Guggenheim last year and the movement of their children to Bond. In that article Ms. Karp wrote:
    "Perhaps sensing that Bond was not all that much better than other choices, parents didn’t flock there. But the fact that so few Guggenheim students went to Bond had consequences. Last spring, anticipating an influx of newcomers, CPS gave Bond 14 additional teachers and money for six parent workers—workers the school didn’t have before, according to the school’s budget.
    But when only 94 students showed up, Bond ended up with 162 fewer children overall than expected. The school had to eliminate 8.5 teacher positions and two of the parent workers. Bond got so few students that it is still considered underutilized, and the one factor that saved it from landing on this year’s potential school closing list is the fact that it was a receiving school last year."

    I think there is every reason to assume teachers will be cut as was the case in the Guggenheim closing. If we generalize just an 8.5 teaching position reduction for each of the 54 closings at a salary value of $74,000 a year you get $629,000 per school or about $33.9 million just for these teachers salaries. If you figure pension and health care savings we are well over $40 million in cost cutting for teachers. If you figure $133,000 in average salary for the principals you get another $7.2 million. If you figure the average AP as making about $92,000 a year you get another $4.9 million without benefits. Then there are the clerks, custodians and other staff.

    Despite the Sun Times claim that they "dove into the numbers deeply," I think they actually low balled the potential cost savings.

    I am also not arguing CPS isn't in fiscal difficulty, in fact I expect things to get worse instead of better. Here is the problem, the basic strategy of school closings can't be repeated over and over again as CPS is faced with its never ending saga of fiscal calamity. It won't work, one of three things separately or combined will have to happen down the road, a road the Sun Times editorial board does not want to look down, there will have to a generalized wage reduction for all CPS employees, a significant increase in class sizes, or a significant increase in revenue based on taxes.

    Rod Estvan

  • On the money Rod! CPS is looking at privatizing all engineers, food service and custodians. Perpupil budget will force principals to raise class size and/or layoff teachers and staff, since older/more experienced will cost more. Schools now forced to pay for sub as teachers take sick and personal business days, depleates school budget more. Rahm will never raise taxes nor will he release TIFs back to the schools. (more) Death to the neighborhood schools.

  • Maybe it's time for a new mayor with a different vision of public education?

  • But who will that be? It must be someone who can win against him and all his monied supporters.

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