Monday Morning News

Monday Morning News

CPS stands pat on budget cuts despite Local School Councils' pressure Chicago Tribune: ... has not wavered about the need for cost-cutting as part of a $5.58 billion budget unveiled this week, but a coalition of Local School Councils continued to press their case to restore funding at a meeting Thursday with schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett.

CPS raising taxes, tapping reserves to close budget gap Chicago Tribune: "It is very, very clear that the lack of pension reform in Springfield has really brought this crisis right now to our classroom doorstep," schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said as she called on Local School Councils, parents, faith leaders and ...

Quinn signs law expanding gym class exemption for disabled students Tribune: Students with disabilities who play organized sports outside of school will be able to skip gym class under a new state law.
Wrongly accused Tribune (Zorn): You wouldn't know it, but Chicago isn't even close to being the most dangerous city in America.

Still at the front of the class Tribune: Barbara Bowman was at the front of the classroom — where she has stood for an astounding 60 years — lecturing about the qualities of a good leader. It was 8 p.m. on a Wednesday, hardly the ideal time for Bowman or the students in her...

Alicia Gonzalez, fighting child obesity Chicago Tribune: "I do enjoy yoga, believe it or not," says Gonzalez, executive director of Chicago Run, a nonprofit organization that works with Chicago public schools to help fight childhood obesity through running and other exercise.

CPS budget Crain's Chicago Business: A good chunk of the rest will come from school operations, with "core" education spending in neighborhood schools trimmed $68 million, or 3.5 percent, and another $41 million gained from the earlier and extremely controversial closure of more than 50 ...

Chicago hip-hop stars team up to teach kids how to write music WBEZ: Kanye West and Rhymefest are collaborating on a free music writing program to assist at-risk youth on Chicago’s South Side. The “Got Bars?” program will teach young people how to write and record their own music over the course of 10 weeks. It’s a collaboration between West’s non-profit, Donda’s House — named in honor of his late mother — and St. Sabina Church.

Could Chicago Public Schools’ troubled pensions become the model for the rest of the state? WBEZ: The bill failed, meaning Chicago Public Schools has to pay that extra $400 million into its pensions. Yet two of the most powerful lawmakers in Springfield continue to push to make Chicago’s pension structure the model for every other school in the state. Chicago contributes to its own pensions. But the state pays for suburban and downstate schools. And lawmakers like House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), say it’s high time those schools pay for their own teachers’ pensions.

Can Race, Immigration Status Help Predict Child Well-being? NPR: The well-being of kids in America may be tied to their race and the immigrant status of their parents. Donald Hernandez talks about the Foundation for Child Development's new report with guest host Celeste Headlee.

Beauty School Students Left With Broken Promises and Large Debts NYT: Hundreds of women in New York City have found themselves deep in debt and with little training after attending cosmetology schools that falsified applications for student loans.

Science 'Classroom Without Walls' Replete with Snapping Turtles, Snakes PBS NewsHour: "Snake! Snake!" an eighth-grade student shouts from the boardwalk as she crosses a bridge. A dozen of her classmates rush over, scouring for the snake in the water. It's a Friday in April, and these North Carolina students are making their weekly trip from the science classroom into the stormwater wetlands behind Elizabeth City Middle School's baseball and soccer fields.

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  • Guardian Angels for Safe Passages (since Mayor Emanuel doesn't want them on the Mag Mile)? http://ow.ly/nqhjd

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    I am not sure Mayor Emanuel would want the Guardian Angels on the safe passage routes if many of them had concealed carry permits. Legally there is nothing to prevent a Guardian Angel from having a gun assuming they are eligible for the permit once the Illinois State Police start issuing permits. The Chicago ordinance would prohibit 1,000 feet of a designated "school safety zone" during school hours. Beyond that distance any Guardian Angel could be armed in the future.

    Rod Estvan

  • Prior to 1995, the Chicago Teachers' Pension fund (CTPF) received revenue directly from the City of Chicago based on an annual property tax levy. This levy ensured a steady stream of revenue was available to bolster investments and support pensioners. For many years, the State of Illinois also provided a stable and substantial revenue source for CTPF. State contributions failed to keep up with inflation and fell dramatically in recent years. If the tax levy had not been diverted and the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Board of Education had continued to make contributions, CTPF would be about 80% funded instead of the 51% funded as it is today. Lawmakers who approved the 1995 law understood that the Fund could not survive indefinitely without revenue. The law offered two "Safety Net" features. 1. The General Assembly agreed in principle to make a contribution to CTPF in an amount equal to 20-30% of the State contribution to Teachers' Retirement System (TRS) of Illinois. 2. When CTPF funding fell below 90% the Board of Education would have to resume contributions. Instead of increasing as promised, CTPF funding from the State of Illinois has fallen dramatically since 1995. CTPF now receives less than 1 cent for every dollar contributed to TRS. PA 89-0015 established that when the CTPF funded ratio fell below 90% the primary employer Board of Education (BOE) would have to resume making contributions. BOE was required to contribute beginning in 2006. Board contributed in 2006-2010, but sought additional "pension relief" for 2011-2013 and owed $600 million/year but only paid $200 million/year. This legislation cost CTPF $1.2 billion in revenue. Extending the period to fund pensions will cost Illinois taxpayers an additional $12 billion. The funding schedule under PA 96-0889 is schedule to escalate in 2014. Emperor Rahm Emanuel and CPS is still trying to get new "pension relief" which will only make things much worst in the future. CPS, stop trying to "kick the can down the road."

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