Friday Social Media

Friday Social Media

It's too hot for blogging, but I'll be on Twitter @district299 (which also posts to the District 299 Facebook page).


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  • Chicago Public Schools lays off 2,113 workers -

  • CPS to lay off 2,113 teachers, staff; CTU calls it ‘a bloodbath’ - Chicago Sun-Times

  • Chicago principal rips CPS school budgets, Mayor Emanuel | WBEZ 91.5 Chicago

  • Devastating cuts: CPS to layoff another 2,085 teachers/employees
    Raise Your Hand is disgusted to learn that Chicago Public schools has laid off another 2,085 teachers and staff bringing the total number of layoffs for the year to 3500. This news lies in stark contrast to the ongoing CPS rhetoric to minimize any impact of budget cuts on the classroom. Now CPS is claiming that there will be "winners and losers." Even if a few schools have been spared from these widespread and severe cuts, we believe that there are only losers in this scenario.

    RYH started in 2010 to advocate for improved funding because for too long, our children have been subjected to inadequate staffing and basic programs and standards at Chicago Public schools. The situation has only worsened under Mayor Emanuel. After pushing through a “full school day,” our mayor has chosen to prioritize property tax spending on unnecessary and frivolous projects such as $55 million for a stadium for DePaul University, while CPS continues to receive drastic funding cuts that severely impact our children's ability to thrive and learn. The Mayor's decision not to use TIF money to offset some of these cuts is deeply disappointing and is forcing many parents to leave the city. Parents who don’t have the option to leave will be stuck sending their children to underfunded schools that lack the appropriate staffing and programs needed to provide a realistic"full school day." This is a frightening day for the children of Chicago.

    Email us if you'd like to participate in actions around these cuts. We will be having our next action next Wednesday 7/24 at 9:30am.

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Typical myopic, incendiary, attempt at rhetoric by RYH.

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    Why, exactly? I'd like to understand why.

  • Fact Sheet: Process on Notices to Staff at Underutilized Schools and All Other Schools
    Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is faced with a historic deficit of $1 billion driven by a $400 million increase in the District’s annual teacher pension payment. Since 2011, CPS has made reductions to Central Office, operations, and administrative spending of nearly $600 million in order to avoid cuts to our classrooms. This year, we have proposed an additional $52 million in reductions to Central Office directed, administrative and operations spending. However, given the magnitude of the District’s $1 billion deficit this year and despite all the steps taken to mitigate impacts to our classrooms, the lack of pension reform in Springfield has brought this crisis to our schools’ doorsteps.
    Beginning today, Friday, July 19, CPS principals are notifying teachers and support staff that have been impacted by either budgetary decisions made by principals or changes in enrollment. The District also notified tenured teachers from a Closing School rated Superior/Excellent who were not able to transfer to their Welcoming School because there were not enough positions created by the addition of students.
    Any teachers who were impacted will be able to reapply in the CPS system. On average, more than 60 percent of displaced teachers have historically found positions elsewhere in the District. All processes and procedures associated with these layoffs are done in accordance with the District’s CTU contract.
    The following groups will be notified:
    Non-teachers: 1,077
    Teachers: 1,036
    Closing schools:
    Support staff: 68
    Food service: 194
    All other schools:
    Budgetary decisions made by principals
    o Tenured teachers: 398
    o Non-tenured teachers, PATS: 510
    o Support staff: 815
    Other (changes in enrollment school by school)
    o Tenured teachers: 43
    o Non-tenured teachers, PATS: 85
    Background on Impacted Staff
    Closing Schools:
    Tenured teachers rated Excellent or Superior who could not follow students to their Welcoming School are eligible to be in the reassigned teacher pool at full pay and benefits for 5 months next year, followed by placement in the Cadre substitute pool, which is a higher paid substitute teacher who is guaranteed deployment each school day. They can also elect to resign and receive alternative severance benefits of 3 months’ salary. This is per the CTU agreement.
    Budgetary decisions made by principals:
    Tenured teachers are eligible to be placed in the day-to-day substitute pool for next year. Probationary appointed teachers rated Excellent or Superior are also eligible to be placed in the day-to-day substitute pool. This is per the CTU agreement.
    Tenured teachers are eligible to be placed in the Cadre pool, regardless of rating, for 10 months. This is per the CTU agreement.
    Next Steps
    Affected teachers can reapply for positions within CPS through a new talent acquisition process called the Teacher Quality Pool (TQP). This is designed to ensure consistency in teacher quality in all District schools. It was created as part of the agreement with the CTU.
    Applicants must successfully complete the TQP selection process to be eligible for hire. Applicants remain eligible and in the pool for two years.
    Former tenured teachers rated Superior/Excellent who have been outside the system for less than two years are automatically eligible for acceptance into the TQP. They will receive an e-mail asking if they would like to be in the pool.
    Impacted teachers rated Superior/Excellent on their most recent evaluation will also be automatically eligible to be in the TQP.
    They are also offered career transition services.
    CPS is hosting a number of career placement events this summer for impacted employees. A large number of outside vendors are expected to attend, which will increase employees’ changes of quickly regaining employment.
    Teachers will receive 30 days of virtual career counseling, resume writing, interview training, and job search supports. Support staff will be invited to a resume-writing and interview training workshop.
    Over 60 percent of the District’s displaced teachers historically find employment in other schools before the start of the school year. CPS expects this year to meet or exceed our historical experience.

  • An idea to get money from per pupil. When a high school teacher is absent, send students to the auditorium. Have a security guard, aide or clerk watch them, but don't order a sub. Then the money for the sub not bought/paid goes back into the high school's budget for supplies and books. Do you see how desperate per-pupil budgeting is?

  • Board asks questions after Tribune story on new lights for shuttered schools -

  • I spoke with 5 friends with children in CPS today. All of them are in very high performing schools. One already had her house on the market, one more is listing it next week so they can go to the burbs. Another is pulling her kids out and putting them in private. The 4th is staying, but only because her kid is in his last year of high school and the 5th is still in lottery heaven because her kid got into Jackson for kindergarten. She doesn't yet realize what she's getting into.

  • In reply to teacherparent:

    I will be interested to see CPS enrollment figures over the next few years. As I have pointed out there are very few whites left in CPS. Because City property taxes are so cheap relative to suburbs like Evanston and Oak Park many families are likely to stay in the city.

    As Moody's pointed out in its down grading of Chicago debt the only quick fiscal solution is a significant increase in our property tax rates. In fact based on the data put out by Moody's a doubling of the rate would be needed unless there are very big cuts to all Chicago public employee pensions.

    I like the people at RYH, but currently while pointing out things like the $55 million for DePaul being proposed by the Mayor scores media points it doesn't even begin to address the problem. Of that $55 million the city would put in to the stadium if all based on TIF funds only about $28 million would come from TIF money that would have gone to CPS. That does not address the problem, which is much larger.

    Currently even David Orr does not know what the surplus TIF figure is and he has asked for a current full report to the public. We need the actual data to talk rationally about this, CPS is claiming it is only $10 million, a figure I have my doubts about.

    The State is going to be no help given its fiscal condition. The proposal to reduce pension benefits will boomerang and reduce sales tax revenue as retired public sector employees spend less. It will in rural Illinois really hurt because retired teacher and other public workers are relatively speaking upper income in those communities.

    Getting away from a flat income tax on the state level is part of a solution. But that idea right now has limited support. There are in front of us only two big solutions massive cuts like we are starting to see which would have to continue for years and be applied very deeply to the charter school sector also or a very large increase in the property tax rate which would require lifting the cap.

    Because the majority of property owners in Chicago do not have children in CPS I would expect a ground swell of opposition to lifting the tax cap. The simpler solution will be something less than a full doubling of property taxes linked with cuts to CPS and reductions in pension benefits. There is no happy solution to all of this.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:


    Wouldn't a very rapid increase of charter schools to about 75% of all schools also be a solution? What is the total cost - salary, benefits, pension of a charter school teacher/semi skilled non-educator/administrator vs. a traditional CPS equivalent? In addition if there were mostly charter schools wouldn't the cost of Clark St. be halved or so?

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    Charter schools are not significantly cheaper than traditional schools. Charter school teachers are also in the same pension fund as are CPS teachers. Charter schools appear cheaper because of additional foundation funding they recieve.

    The average cost of a teacher now at Noble Street has to be over $50,000. While that is less than the $70,000 or $72,000 or a traditional CPS teacher it doesn't solve the problem. The costs for charters are rising in part because some are unionizing and those charters that want to stay non-union must provide better packages to their teachers to prevent them going union.

    The foundations that supplement charters can not provide the current level of support if CPS expanded charters to 70 percent of enrollment. Catalyst has done articles in the past examining the importance of foundation funding in the overall budgets of charter schools.

    Charter schools are not the magic solution to Chicago's low property tax rates and our state's flat income tax.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Does the State Charter require them to participate in the same pension fund or is that by choice?

  • In reply to CPS Parent:


    Rod Estvan

  • CPS enrollment figures will go down. There are less children in Chicago and less children born these past few years nationwide, (Census.)
    Chicago is also chasing parents with this insane per-pupil budget and the continued lack of transparency all around city hall, not just CPS. The deep misspending at CPS, with wasted networks, charters, lighting (recent tribune story) and the wasteful expensive principal leadership academy where principals are voting with their feet, shows that CPS financially is out of control and 'business' people like Mr. Vitale either are too greedy or cannot handle the financial crisis that historically the board of education has placed themselves in with tax payer and their own employees' money (pensions.)
    Rod, I disagree about DePaul ( another money waister.) $28 million is $28 million. A million here a million there, we have to start somewhere. There is real tangible money out there, in Chicago and in Illinois, but it is being hidden and hoarded. This greed will strangle Chicago and only the tourist attractions will be what is left.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Did you think my post supports the DePaul proposal? It does not in my opinion, but it does put the amount of CPS related TIF money in its proper context, it's not $55 million. As for flooding CPS with TFAers that is really one of the amazing proposals I have seen.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to district299reader:

    "Chicago is also chasing parents with this insane per-pupil budget..."

    What's a fairer way to divide up available funds? Lack of money is the problem, not per pupil funding.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Agreed. Finally having a system of equitable funding for city schools is not the problem, lack of funds is the problem. Now, everyone is feeling the pinch...

  • In reply to EyesontheOffice:

    Donn and Eyes--Its not equitable funding. Different schools got different $$. Did you not read on how CPS tried to give one school a extra to shut up? (Get why CPS will not release the budgets yet?) Also, charters have advantage of picking students, charging students money and quietly letting low performing students go to the neighborhood school. CPS Board made a contract schools must stick to. Rahm made a longer school day that is to be paid for. Neither put the money where their mouths are.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    So the same money shouldn't follow students to charters? How is that fair to the student?
    My understanding is that selective enrollment schools are not cutting teaching staff next year. There's your target if you really want to discuss equitable distribution of available funds.

  • In reply to Donn:

    "My understanding is that selective enrollment schools are not cutting teaching staff next year. "

    Not true, at least of one of the South Side SE high schools.

    Hard to say, though, without the schools themselves self reporting since CPS downtown isn't.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Completely and totally not true. SE schools are losing a lot. Lane Tech laid of 35 staff members on Friday.

  • In reply to teacherparent:

    I didn't say staff members, I said teachers. How many teachers is Lane Tech losing? What did they teach? It seems almost all schools have had their budgets cut, but privileged schools aren't getting the same funding as neighborhood schools and charters.
    Should more money follow a student attending a selective school? Odd how the CTU doesn't complain about the obvious disparity of funding between CTU schools. But perhaps not "odd" as most leadership benefited from that disparity.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Donn-I hope you get a real answer, a line by line-date by date of what CPS did to Lane's budget just for June and July, (good luck),but it is true that SE and lottery schools have gotten extra money and teacher positions for years. In the last 3 years, or more, CPS has taken funds away from poverty schools that had cluster programs, even closing those programs, expecting the schools to somehow recover from this with already strained poverty funds. Putting extra funds in SE programs keeps scores high as they continues to attract white parent and parents of means. (Just count how many of these schools are in the UniVillage neighborhood.) This is a set-up by CPS. Example, Lane's scores started to go down since the opening of Payton and earlier Northside. You can figure out why. CPS gave funding to Lane to open an accelerated 7-8th grade, expecting that 7-8th graders at Lane would stay instead of Payton or Northside. CPS did not care that Lane now took higher scoring 7-8th grade students away from the neighborhood schools, who then have to face lower enrollment, less money and then are forced to try and steal higher scoring 7-8th graders from other lower scoring schools. Shell games and cannibalization any way you look at it.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Whitney Young lost 7 TEACHING positions. All in core areas. In addition, one non core teacher retired and that position is not being filled and another non core PAT was cut.

  • In reply to Donn:

    My selective enrollment school is down 10% of teachers this year, and I suspect I don't know of all the cuts yet. I think this may be the one time Donn has got his facts wrong.

  • In reply to Ira Abrams:

    I know of two schools that the cuts to actually teaching positions are minimal to none. I doubt that the budgets are different between SE schools. There's more "meat on the bone" for SE principals to save teaching positions, if that's how they want to allocate their reduced budgets.
    My impression of neighborhood school budgets is that those principals had a limited number of bad options. If they don't have any PE equipment, they don't have to worry about cutting PE equipment from the budget.

  • In reply to Donn:

    It probably does not matter if this series of cuts is being applied more equally than in the past. The cuts will not stop with this year, they will continue for the forseeable future unless CPS gets more revenue. They will be expanded to the charter school sector and will force smaller operators out of bussiness eventually.

    CPS can"t cut its way to fiscal stability, either the state puts in more money, very unlikely, pension benefits for existing retires and future retires are seriously reduced, likely unconstitional, or property taxes in the city go up to the average rate in Cook County. In order to increase the rate Mayor Emanuel would have to advocate for lifting of the tax cap, politically he may not have the courage to do that,

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Donn:

    By polarizing the school issue the CTU has not put Rahm in a good position to significantly raise property taxes. He would need to go against the wishes of one faction who support him to please a group that works hard at hating him.
    I think eventually they will find a way to cut state pensions. Thta's the least responsible choice, so I assume it's the one the they will make.
    As far as per student budgeting, I think it will open up a healthy analysis and debate of what's fair. I would like to better understand the apparently huge disparity in school environments within a single school system.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Looks like Emanuel is giving the kids the shaft.

  • CPS finds the money when it want to: Some of the teachers could be replaced by Teach For America recruits, as the district has committed to more than doubling its investment in the TFA program that trains college graduates for five weeks then sends them into schools for two years at a time. The Board of Education voted to increase its payment to TFA from $600,000 to nearly $1.6 million, and to add up to 325 new TFA recruits to CPS classrooms, in addition to 270 second year “teacher interns.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Sorry, but I'd pull my kid out of any classroom taught by someone from TFA. They aren't qualified in and sense of the word.

  • I just read in the SunTimes that Xian Barrett, who posts here, was among those let go yesterday.

  • In reply to PDec:

    Which is exactly why teachers should never post on message boards using their own name.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    It does make you wonder.

  • In reply to PDec:

    "When something goes wrong with the Red Line, they get out and figure out how to fix it. They don’t get rid of the Red Line.” -

    Xian Barrett, in 2009

  • In reply to district299reader:

    How long would the Red Line last if most of its passengers never reached their intended destination?

    As far as the layoffs, lets not forget why the termination decisions are not merit based. The methodology is not in the interest of students, parents, or younger teachers.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to district299reader:

    With all due respect, it's exactly why more of us need to speak out in our own names.

    It's hard to be silent when you know bad policy hurts the students you love.

  • TFA

    What the system does to these people is almost criminal.
    I went to Chicago Teachers College in the late 60's.At that institution
    we were in regular school classrooms from our sophomore year on
    and student taught for16 weeks .Personally I student taught at Harper.
    Most of our college teachers had been CPS teachers themselves.
    a few had also been CPS principals.There is no way anyone can learn what we did in a 5 week summer boot camp.
    All that is history and personally i always gave TFA teachers all the help I could.But the reality of being a teacher does not hit home until
    you shut the door to your class for the first time.that is when it hits you.
    It is a real shame that the smarter they are the harder they fall.
    No body should ever consider a teaching career without the real
    experence of student teaching for at least one quarter.

  • What will be interesting is when we see what the principal decided to keep. Everyone is so busy arguing about cuts, they haven't realized that we will really see where principals' focuses are. Do they have class sizes of 40 and a host of friends working in made up positions? Or, did they do the best that they could? That's the real story...the principals and LSCs can cry foul but not one group has shared what they did spend money on.

  • Principals dont have 'choice' in who to keep because they must follow the Board rules. It is certification first, then years. FYI-there was no money to 'spend' in the school budget. This is why there are forced cuts in the school budget and forced increase in class size.

  • Every school doesn't have increased class size. The principals cut other things even with reductions. Principals don't select who but they do select what.

  • My niece recently finished her student teaching and just got 3 job offers from CPS schools. How is that possible with all these cuts?

  • In reply to PDec:

    It might have to do with what kind of endorsements she holds on her certificate. With the requirement that teachers now hold endorsements to teach middle and upper grade subject areas, many older teachers only hold a general certificate. It plays into why many experienced teachers are being replaced with recently graduated teachers. Seeing the writing on the wall several years ago, I began acquiring endorsements in several subject areas, science, social studies, math, ESL, reading and language arts. It was costly and took a lot of time, but it also made me attractive to schools even though I am at the top of the pay scale.

  • Teach for America = SCABS

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Now I love me some divisive name calling, but I'm a little confused by this one. Isn't a scab required to cross a picket line? Did I miss the news headline where Teach for America corps members were crossing the line during the last strike?

    Or were you just channeling Glenn Beck and putting two words together in the same sentence (e.g. Obama and Hitler) and letting your readers make the (il)logical jump in connecting the two?

  • fb_avatar

    True! Well meaning goofs who push real teachers out.

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