Pension Problems for CPS

Pension Problems for CPS

Here's what I found for today's education news roundup: Pension problems.  Enrollment snafus in welcoming schools.  Violence, CMSA success, and school age changes.  What am I missing?


Chicago Public Schools new pension headache WBEZ: After Illinois lawmakers rejected a plan for Chicago Public Schools to delay pension payments, the District’s budget problems may have gone from bad to worse.

Mr. Madigan, Mr. Cullerton — CPS needs major pension reform pronto Tribune: For CPS officials, 400,000 students and more than 20,000 teachers, the abyss opens now.


Students Enroll in New Schools WTTW: Chicago Public Schools says 78 percent of students from closed schools have already enrolled in their new schools. But parents say the process is too difficult.

Chicago Public Schools enrolls three-quarters of all children at closing schools, but remains vague on special needs programs WBEZ: Last week Thursday, only about 50 percent of students at schools slated for closure had registered elsewhere. But a huge last-minute surge brought that number up to 75 percent, with some schools making significant leaps.

Chicago School Closures Galvanize Parent Activists EdWeek via Catalyst:  Of the 11,800 students in grades K-7 currently attending targeted schools, nearly 5,800 had enrolled in their new school as of May 30, according to a district spokeswoman. The parents of 86 percent of that number elected to send their children to the dedicated "welcoming" school—the term used for receiving schools.


Vaccine Exemptions Could Help Make Whooping Cough a Thing Again Atlantic Wire: The rising percentage of parents opting out of at least one mandatory vaccination could be a major factor in the recent increase in whooping cough cases.

Chicago Math and Science Academy Boasts High Graduation Rate DNAI: The 600-student charter school in Rogers Park was proud to be well above average this year.

Family seeks answers after 8th grader’s murder Tribune: Rocio Alvarado wonders if anyone will be charged with the shooting death of her 14-year-old brother. An unknown assailant shot Alejandro “Alex” Jaime May 18, 2012, as he rode his bike with a friend near his family’s home in Brighton Park just two weeks before the family had planned to move to a safer neighborhood. [...]
School age goes to 6 from 7 Tribune: The move gives education officials a tool to fight a truancy crisis that reaches into the earliest grades.

Fed probe of East Aurora puts bullying in the spotlight Aurora Beacon News: Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, or PBIS, is a popular discipline system in Illinois that is being implemented in many districts including East Aurora, West Aurora, Indian Prairie, Elgin U-46 and Chicago Public Schools.

Filed under: Daily News Roundup


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  • As Catalyst as pointed out in FY14 and 15 school closings will generate no real savings because of the costs associated with the closings. Only reductions in staff or new loans can balance the books now. What is left of the CPS central office and the network offices will again be reduced, but that will generate no where near enough money. CPS will have to look again at cutting funding to charter schools which is why charter school supporters have been campaigning for equal funding with traditional schools. Cuts will have to be made to school budgets and those plans I suspect are being finalized now since CPS knows it is going to have to pay up for pensions. (From R. Estvan- not posted by him.)

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Equal funding for charters and overall cuts can happen simultaneously. What that may mean in reality is that the cuts come from CTU schools, while charters receive about the same funding as this budget year.
    I don't see all schools taking the same percent cut "across the board". Money following the student is the fairest way to allocate scarce resources. Most Chicago charters already run on relatively small budgets.
    I also don't see why Rahm would financially favor CTU schools over charters.
    Perhaps the plan is for eventually all CTU members to draw a CTU paycheck? That must be it, because rational adults normally take some care in how they talk about their boss.

  • The Tribune editorial took this issue to a new level writing "CPS officials have told us that if the district has to cover the additional pension costs without state help, it may have to fire some 4,000 teachers. Imagine what that would do to class sizes."

    Let's stop for a moment here, 4,000 teachers - really. You mean CPS won't cut any funding for charter schools? Carry out additional administrative cuts? Play more games with existing debt?

    I find it highly unlikely that all the cuts will come down only on classroom teachers. I don't think there is any chance additional funding will be provided to CPS for these pension costs so let's get real here - ok. Instead of putting out a 4,000 teacher reduction why doesn't CPS and the Tribune put out a few real scenarios so families can know what is really possible. Scare tactics are pointless, when our state is broke who is the Tribune and CPS trying scare the union? Would this be the same union that just tried to pass the pension holiday along with the CPS?

    Rod Estvan

  • Firing 4,000 teachers. I think that's just the dream of the Trib editorial writer/s.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    As schools have yet to get their budgets--class size increases and/or reduction in student enrollment for the CPS schools still open--then add the 50 closed schools--well maybe 3000 teachers. This may be an even more devastating June 30 when teacher layoffs are finalized.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Yes today's Tribune report from Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah agrees that the editorial writer took a statement from an unnamed CPS official and blew it up. This is from today's paper (6/5/13):

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Here is the quote:

    CPS officials say they are analyzing the impact of paying a total of $612 million in pension payments in the budget year that begins July 1. The district said it is looking at additional reductions in central office, administrative and operations spending to deal with that, in addition to possibly moving its central office from 125 S. Clark St. in the Loop to less expensive quarters.
    CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll said cuts will be kept "as far away from the classroom as possible" and that class sizes will not be increased.
    She acknowledged the additional budget expense equals roughly 4,000 teaching positions but said suggesting teachers will be hit anywhere near that hard "assumes that we won't be able to find other ways to address the increase in our pension payment."
    "That is not a reflection of how the district will have to close its budget gap," Carroll said.

  • "That must be it, because rational adults normally take some care in how they talk about their boss." - Especially if they don't have a management-union contract.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Rational bosses don't seek to alienate their employees.

  • In what world is it o.k. to ever be disrespectul to your boss? If you are a teacher and think that this is o.k., then I am sure that you have no complaints about students being disrespectful to you. #thegoldenrule

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Humor is dead in Chicago... shesh...never been around the proverbial water cooler?

  • Is "boss" still used in most schools? Really? "I am the boss" vernacular? The origin of Boss is a dutch term Baas which means... no joking.. master. In my world, "education leader", even "administrator" is used... boss is a little antiquated? no? And as much as I prescribe to the golden rule, today's more leveling approach is... we sink together or swim together. Disagreement is not the same as disrespect... good "bosses" know this.

  • In reply to urbanteach:

    You have it backward. "Boss" came about in in 17th century New Netherlands as a replacement for the term "master". It indicates a more equal status. At least based on the recent scholarship of Russell Shorto.

  • In reply to urbanteach:

    "education leader", that's a good one!

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    In CPS, the problem is not employees disrespecting bosses. The problem is a minority of bosses thinking that disagreeing or pointing out ways to improve things for the students is "disrespectful". It's the opposite.

  • In reply to Xian Barrett:

    I had a principal who used to shout at us during faculty meetings things like, " I have 200 resumes on my desk and if you do not like it here, leave," came inebriated to school parties, and conducted an illicit relationship on school time yet was asked by CPS to be a principal mentor. CPS rewards the inept. Who is evaluating the principals?

    Thankfully, I did experience good bosses/instructional leaders before and after but it does leave one feeling disillusioned.

  • CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll said cuts will be kept "as far away from the classroom as possible" and that class sizes will not be increased.
    Should the Tribune and you believe that? Someone please make CPS release the FY2014 Budget Summary given to each school today.
    Once reviewed--will you still believe Ms. Carroll ever again?

  • Becky Carroll is correct. The budget cuts are kept as far from the classroom as possible. The budget cuts are made in Central Office by people like Becky and Rahm who have never spent more than a couple hours in a neighborhood public school. Every principal should make a copy of their budget and share with their staff. If the staff happen to leak the budgets to the media then so be it. We are facing a $600 million shortfall and CPS claims they will fix it yet they anticipate an even larger shortfall next year. We are in a state of constant crisis and it reeks of Rahm using crisis to his advantage. When will we have a stable school system and stable society? Or is that not the goal in this lifetime?

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