Protests, Pensions, Acceptance Rates

Protests, Pensions, Acceptance Rates

And we're back.  Long weekend.  Hope everyone stayed cool.  Lots of comments in the posts below -- thanks!  Not a ton of news that I've found so far.  Take a look and let me know what I missed.

Anxious CPS parents, push for change Chicago Tribune: A three-year break that allowed Chicago Public Schools to skip pension contributions is ending. CPS had to pay $196 million into the teacher's pension fund in the fiscal year that ended June 30.

Blame pension mess for school cuts Chicago Sun-Times: The Chicago Public Schools leadership has been slow to admit it, but many schools are facing significant budget cuts. Take Lake View High School, an up-and-coming neighborhood high school. The North Side school is spending $2 million in tax increment

Chicago Public Schools working to ease transition for students from 49 closed ...
Daily Journal: Chicago Public Schools officials say the district is working to ensure a smooth transition for students whose schools have been closed. In a statement Friday, the district says CPS has been contacting parents and families by phone, text ...

Heat over new CPS admissions policy rising Chicago Current: Parents, advocacy groups and community members who make up the Committee for Fairness in Magnet and Selective Enrollment School Admissions plan on fighting against a new proposal, which they believe will further segregate Chicago Public Schools.

Shalom Whattt?' Revisiting My Sixth-Grade Teacher Chicago Tribune: It comes as no surprise that the mission statements of The Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers' Union* are essentially alike. However, despite "sharing " the same "customers" in the common "business” of education, they do so as adversaries.

Why is Chicago always so much more violent? Crain's Chicago Business: ... to do what really needs to be done because gang violence has been viewed as mostly a black and Latino problem. I don't know. What I do know is, we have to keep looking for answers.

Protesters Rally in Front of Rahm's House, Criticizing City Budget Cuts DNAI: The demonstrators took their beefs with the mayor to his front door — literally.
2013 SEHS Application and Acceptance Rates cpsobsessed:  This show the 3 of acceptances by Tier compared to the # of applications by Tier for each school.  I made an assumption that each student applied to 5 schools to estimate the number of unique applicants.  For Tier 4, I assume kids applied to only 4.5 schools because… well, we know how Tier 4 people based on what has been written here in the past.  I’ll see if CPS will give me the # of applicants by Tier.

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  • Karen Fraid: Unafraid to tell the truth about school "reform" | Bleader

  • Anyone know when ISBE's new ELIS for Educators site, which replaced ECS, will be back online? It's been down for over a week.

  • The Sun Times editorial that Alexander linked to was most impressive and really went well beyond the pension issue. I agree in part that the immediate fiscal crisis faced by CPS is driven by pension issues. In my opinion CPS put all of its chips on the passage of the pension holiday bill SB 1920 House Amendment #2 on the very last day of regular session of the Assembly. The proposed legislation would have reduced CPS contributions to the Chicago Teachers pension fund to $350M in 2014 (from $612.7M) and $500M in 2015 (from $631.5). The bill needed 60 votes to pass, but received only 39 votes.

    From everything I can understand CPS, the Mayor, and maybe even the CTU were possibly given some assurances by both the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House that a pension holiday bill that would reduce the need for more dramatic budget cuts and it could be passed at the very end of the legislative session via the old shell bill technique along with limiting the floor debate to under two hours. The legislative leaders were wrong and also under estimated the ability of retired teachers to flood the legislators with phone calls and emails even on very short notice to oppose this bill.

    So now the current situation is that the General Assembly will likely not vote tomorrow in favor of another bill similar to SB 1920 House Amendment #2 because neither the Republicans nor many Democrats want to see Chicago's Teachers Pension Fund enter the danger zone for under funding. The editorial seems to suggest the Assembly should try again at providing immediate relief to CPS via the pension payment holiday approach. I think that approach is wrong completely wrong.

    The Center for Tax & Budget Accountability has looked at this issue and concluded that attacking the pension issue alone will not fix the school funding problems in our state, the situation requires looking at tax policy in our state. The Center's analysis can be seen by going to:,%20Tax%20and%20Revenue/CTBA%20Special%20Report_Structural%20Deficit%20and%20Temp%20Tax%20Increase%20FINAL%206.3.2013.pdf

    Its more than fair for people to argue about the Center's proposals, but the Sun Times needed I think to reference them at least. I was happy to see that the Sun Times agreed that the TIF surplus issue needs to be discussed and that CPS needs to formally reveal the extent of school based cuts it is passing down.

    I will be in Springfield tomorrow and I don't think the pension issues can effectively be addressed in any way without additional revenue streams to provide for the long term stability of these defined benefit plans. There will never be any type of buy in for any so called pension reform either by current retired teachers and working teachers unless there are revenue streams to help support these plans.

    I applaud the Sun Times stance in favor of "a more fair tax structure. . . progressive tax system for Illinois." I agree with the Sun Times that some type of temporary lifting to the property tax cap may be necessary in order to generate immediate revenue for CPS. But I think another pension holiday bill would be bad and if it passed it would just will kick the can down the road to an eventual pension fund default.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Rod - I agree kicking the can down the road again would be a big mistake. Can you provide some insight; I understand $400,000 is needed stemming from deferred payments accrued but now due. Does that include this year's "normal" payment to the pension fund or is that another amount on top and how much is that?

    The $400,000 is a one time expense the way I see it. If CPS bites the bullet this year (mostly at the expense of teachers) how much of the following years budget (2014 - 2015) will come back to the classrooms?

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    The amount CPS has to pay into the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund is determined on an annual basis by what is called annual actuarial valuation. This is written into state law and the goal is to have the funded ratio at 90 percent. So the amount CPS will be paying into the fund for many years will include all the payments CPS missed due to past breaks issued by the General Assembly and on going payments needed.

    So CPS will be paying in the hundreds of millions for years and years to keep the fund at 90 percent. The law which created this obligation was passed over the objection of both the CTU and the CTPF after Mayor Daley got the legislature to stop direct payments of Chicago property taxes into the fund and transferred those taxes to CPS. Now CPS has the legal obligation to pick up that percentage of the costs.

    For years when CPS got these extra tax dollars without paying much into the retirement fund it was a good deal, now it's a bad deal but CPS is stuck with the deal Mayor Daley made to get ahold of those tax dollars.

    Rod Estvan

  • Vallas down but not out -- yet - Connecticut Post

  • did you participate? More than 1M respond to first statewide education survey "an unprecedented peek into thousands of classrooms"

  • Chicago Rising! | A resurgent protest culture fights back against Rahm Emanuel’s austerity agenda. The Nation

  • I am currently in Springfield and I am seeing no indication that another pension holiday bill similar to SB 1920 as amended will come up again today. Both the Senate and House are waiting to be called back into session.

    Rod Estvan

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