Turning Towards Springfield?

Turning Towards Springfield?


CPS to cut classroom spending, max out on property tax rate Sun Times: Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said she’s willing to lobby legislators for pension reform but also for new revenue. “We’re ready to work with you on that so that we can actually go to Springfield — but we also need to go to Springfield to get rid of this regressive flat tax, we need a progressive income tax,” she said.

Chicago Public Schools finds short-term budget fixes Tribune (editorial): Will CPS' ever-shifting explanation of its "reserves" lend credence to critics, who have raised questions about the size of the projected deficit — and predicted that money would magically appear to close the gap? Sure. But let's be clear: This $697 million is not extra money. Much of it is money that arrived earlier than expected.

CPS to cut classroom spending, max out on property tax rate Sun Times: Homeowners, prepare to dig deeper. After slashing $68 million from classroom spending, Chicago Public Schools officials plan to raise property taxes to the maximum allowed, cut central spending by $112 million and tap into another $700 million in one-time reserves.

CPS' $5.6 billion budget features classroom cuts and dipping into reserves Tribune: Chicago Public Schools will drain nearly $700 million in reserves, raise its share of the Cook County property tax as much as possible and make cuts that include $68 million from the classroom to close its $1 billion deficit, according to a $5.58...

CTU, Parents Protest Cuts at School Board Meeting WTTW: Parents, teachers and students are protesting budget cuts today at the Chicago School Board's monthly meeting. Elizabeth Brackett has the details.

Chicago schools budget includes $68 million in classroom cuts WBEZ: Tim Cawley, chief administrative officer, said “total dumb luck” put hundreds of millions of dollars in the fund because Cook County property tax payments that would normally be counted as revenue arrived early and tallied as reserves. In addition, the state unexpectedly caught up in its payments to the district.
Emanuel: CPS can’t ‘TIF their way out’ of crisis Sun Times: Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday rejecting demands by the City Council’s Progressive Caucus that he declare a TIF surplus to reverse some of the 3,000 school layoffs.
CPS Budget Cuts: Rahm Rejects Ordinance to Divert TIF Funds Back to Schools DNAI: Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, "You cannot either tax your way or TIF your way out of this problem."
CPS Increases Charter Funding by $33 Million, Students Outraged CPS Chatter: 2 years ago, we saw the teachers beginning to fight back. Last year, we saw the parents.  Now, I think we’re seeing the students.  I have to say, if this is the quality of graduate that CPS is producing, we’ve done something right.


Can an algorithm ID high school drop outs in first grade? Hechinger: Early warning systems to detect high-school drop outs are all the rage in education data circles. See this post on a new early warning system in Wisconsin. Like the Wisconsin example, most data systems focus on identifying middle school students. But what if researchers could use grades, attendance and behavior data to identify at-risk students as soon as possible — as early as first grade? That would really give counselors more time to try to motivate these kids and keep them in school!

Transgender teen may use boys' locker room Politico: The first-of-its-kind decision from the agencies tasks the Arcadia school district outside Los Angeles to change district policies and practices to accommodate the rising ninth-grade student. Teachers and staff must be trained in how to prevent gender discrimination, and federal agencies will be keeping tabs on the district through at least 2016.

'Teen Cop' Busted Again For Posing As Police Officer Chicagoist: Vincent Richardson, the young man who made national headlines four years ago for posing as a Chicago cop so effectively he fooled actual police officers, couldn't sucker the owner of a uniform store on the Northwest side and was arrested once again for impersonating a police officer.


Leave a comment
  • Retired CPS teachers did not cause the current or previous CPS funding crisis. Neither the retires nor the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund are responsible for the crises. The layoffs of over 3,000 CPS teachers and paraprofessionals were not caused by CPS' need to make its payments to the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund. These CPS educators were laid off due to the closure of over 50 Chicago Public Schools. CPS' attribution of the layoffs to the pension issue is a lie. CPS' current large pension obligation has increased due to the Illinois Legislature's acquiescence to Mayor Richard Daley's 1995 request to use teachers pension levies for the school district's operating budget. Those who raised their voices during the past 15 years to indicate that the day would come when the pension obligations would be due were dismissed and/or ignored. Current and retired Chicago Public School educators faithfully pay 9% of their incomes into the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund throughout their careers. Most are ineligible for Social Security and rely on their pensions to meet their needs in retirement. CTPF and other pension funds cannot generate the funds needed to pay retirees strictly on the basis of employee contributions. Employers must make their mandated contributions in a timely manner. Now is the time to rectify the past errors by reinstating the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund levies. The City of Chicago should utilize TIF monies to make the past due payments and become current on its obligations going forward. CPS has cried wolf for the last 15 years and yet managed to initiate numerous new programs even when claiming to be penniless. CPS tells lies, lies and more lies!

  • Detroit should be a cautionary tale for you.

    Some judge in Lansing Mich. tried to block the governor or emergency manager from proceeding with the bankruptcy based on a pension clause in the state constitution. That order was quickly stayed by both the state court of appeals and the bankruptcy courts, and the whole matter will be hashed out in bankruptcy court.

    So however you want to assess blame, don't rest easy. Based on the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, the Bankruptcy Act controls, if it gets that far.

  • Alexander was correct to focus on CTU President Lewis' quote in the Chicago Sun Times. President Lewis in her comment states “We’re ready to work with you (CPS) on that so that we can actually go to Springfield — but we also need to go to Springfield to get rid of this regressive flat tax, we need a progressive income tax.”

    But on July 19, Mark Brown made reference to a discussion he had with CTU vice president Jesse Sharkey.
    Here is what Brown wrote:

    While I don't disagree with President Lewis on the need to change our State's flat income tax we also all know that would require an amendment to the Illinois Constitution, a process that will take some time and effort. The idea of seeking a waiver to the tax cap to move up CPS' tax rate significantly could be done by legislative action, but the Mayor effectively unleashed an attack against that proposal which also has some support from the Sun Times editorial board.

    So now President Lewis focuses on working with CPS on a constitution amendment. The messaging here is to say the least inconsistent.

    If the deal the CTU is now talking about is to get the City of Chicago to support amending the Constitution in return for the CTU supporting some changes to the existing Chicago teachers pension system, well that is not a real good deal. Because even if the City and the Mayor personally backed a progressive state income tax system, it is still highly unlikely a constitutional amendment would pass. It might eventually, after a lot of work and education of voters, but any pension reform deal would happen long before that.

    It seems highly unlikely that the Chicago Teacher Pension fund board would agree to support legislation that would significantly reduce benefits and increase out of pocket costs for retirees and current teachers. It is my understanding that CPS wants whatever so called pension reform that is passed to realize at least a $270 million a year reduction in what it would be required to pay into the fund. This came from comments that Mr. Cawley made at a media briefing yesterday on the CPS budget.

    So right now the CTU is putting out mixed messages, on the one hand saying it's wrong to blame the fiscal crisis of CPS on the retirement system and on the other hand saying CPS and CTU can work together on a legislative package that includes increased revenue down the road along with pension reform.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Well it's not unusual for Karen to talk out of both sides of her mouth, is it?

    At Wednesday's Board meeting, as she was pledging to work with the Board, Vitale suggested that that pledge might be more meaningful if she wasn't publicly calling the Board members liars and suggesting that there was no budget crisis and that Board members were just "attacking teachers" apparently just to amuse Rahm. "Oh that's just rhetoric" she responded with a smile and a bat of her eyes. WTF?

    It's pretty clear that the Board isn't lying about the budget. It's also pretty clear that they didn't get us to this point. A structural flaw that limits revenues and requires maintenance of generous benefits is the culprit. And it needs to be fixed.

    It's been reported that CPS was willing to acquiesce in a restored pension fund tax levy and support some non-entitlement health care subsidy for retirees in exchange for meaningful and significant pension benefit reforms. It's also been reported that CTU rejected that refusing to agree to any compromise on benefits, even though retirees pay significantly less in pension contributions to realize significantly more in pension benefits than under most pension systems. (Note that there is plenty of room for reform here: Teachers contribute 2% of their income to realize a pension equal to 75% of their highest salaries - which is artificially inflated because it includes Board pension contributions as salary - as early as age 60. Compare social security where workers pay 6.2% of their income to realize a pension equal to about 56% of their highest salaries and that's at age 67.)

    Why would Lewis describe that as an attack on teachers? Why would her henchmen organize students and parents around a theme that the Board is comprised of greedy, evil geniuses withholding funds from schools? It's ludicrous, dishonest and a reprehensible tactic by irresponsible people. Money isn't being withheld. It's in teachers' salaries and pensions. The problem is the Board needs more of it and what Lewis fails to acknowledge is that taxpayers don't want to pay it.

    Karen Lewis and Jesse Sharkey are the liars here. And that isn't rhetoric.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    CPS just hired an administrator from Farmingham, Michigan.
    What is his salary, moving costs, and more importantly his clout?
    New teachers are being hired in CPS and not just in shortage areas.
    Let's see 50 schools closed equals 100 administrators and 2,000 teachers laid off yet we are still hiring. Expensive PD with outside contractors(clout, baby) is still going on.....I would say that Karen Lewis is right about CPS being liars.

    OT Does anyone know the amount of money CPS has saved in the last 4-5 years due to the many retirements? 1300 teachers retired in 2012-many have left for other systems-all you had to do was watch the media coverage of the strike-very few veterans left in CPS-what is the average teacher salary in CPS-would like the amount minus the administrator salaries which are 2-3 times a teacher's salary.....

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I think district299reader's comment in response to what I wrote takes things to the level of who is a liar, which I think is not helpful. I have personally never supported the rhetoric that there is no fiscal crisis over at CPS, there is far too much evidence that across Illinois school districts are slashing budgets and laying off teachers.

    But there is a certain level of convenience to the argument that places the blame for this crisis on the teacher pension systems, either outside of the city or the CTPF in the city. The benefits that these teachers and retired teachers have were approved by the Illinois General Assembly, with the general support of school districts across Illinois including Chicago.

    We can argue that the decisions made by both the Assembly and school districts were fiscally unsound, but to attack only one side here is unfair. I agree that taxpayers do not want to pay up for public sector workers pensions, pensions that were systematically underfunded by the state and in the case of the CTPF by CPS. But to some degree taxpayers will have to pay up, the extent of that pay up is yet to be determined. Mayoral grandstanding aside at some point CPS will have to support waving the tax cap and moving up Chicago's low rate in order to keep from collapsing.

    It is very unlikely that CPS will get the type of money it is looking for based on so called pension reform, cuts that significant will not pass the red face test for the Illinois Supreme court when it is forced to deal with litigation related to the Illinois Constitution of 1970, Article XIII, section 5, which provides a contractual protection for public sector employees from their pension benefits being diminished or impaired.

    So the time has come for CPS, the Mayor's office, CTU, and the CTPF to have the big sit down to make some deals. The CTPF and union are fully aware of the Constitution protections and the limits of those protections. CPS and the Mayor's office seem to act if they don't exist and are banking money based on Speaker Madigan's proposed pension reform plan. That's a serious error, and it would be a serious error for the CTPF and CTU to believe that the language of the constitution will be interpreted strictly by the Illinois Supreme Court.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Thank you, Rod
    I am emailing your response to my many retired friends who are now worried that their pensions will be reduced or somehow impacted by CPS' fiscal mismanagement.

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Thanks for pointing out that the progressive tax would require a constitutional amendment, not legislative action from Springfield, and the difficulties that would entail.

    I remember when Con-Con was on the ballot, political hacks were scaring the retirees with "they're going to take away your pensions." While not true (the federal Impairment of Contracts clause still applies, to the extent there is a vested contract), if the public sector unions think they can get an amendment for a progressive income tax, their claimed inviolable rights under the Pension Clause could be amended too, at least to overturn the perverted interpretation of it by certain legislators, including John Cullerton.

  • Chicago Ideas Week Unveils 2013 Headliners and Events http://ow.ly/nkonp Incl 450 @chipubschools students

  • Big Dick is back

    I read that Ms Lewis lunched with former Mayor Daley the
    other day that is fishy itself.Those of us who are retired need to face up
    to some facts one of which is that the CTU does not represent
    retirees we have no organized representation.The question is will the CTU sell us out ?

  • In reply to rbusch:

    CTU and CPS sells us out .....CPS Title I teachers ( private schools) laid off under "economic actions" therefore only day to day sub position offered....what's to prevent the board from claiming economic action in June 2014 resulting in mass layoffs with no benefits??? How did CTU approve this in contract negotiations??? Everything from now on, could be economic action so forget about any grievance or representation.

  • In reply to Laid off teacher:

    Even though the teachers claimed to have won the strike, some of them didn't. No different than when 90% of the CTA members of the ATU said go ahead an lay off the other 10%.

    But how could the contract avoid economic action? How is CPS supposed to pay you if it doesn't have the money?

  • In reply to jack:

    We were NCLB CPS Title I Teachers assigned to non public schools - this is a federal grant program and the budget went up from fy13 to fy14 - the revenue comes from the federal government. CPS eliminated our positions and will use vendor programs to deliver the educational support to our students. They said we were too expensive...just wait until they outsource your job....whether they have the money or not. LAID OFF NO BENEFITS

  • In reply to Laid off teacher:

    Before you start making assumption about people on the other end of the Internet connection, enter the real world.

    My company closed its office and made those who wanted continuing to work for them independent contractors. In essence after COBRA, no benefits. In fact the contracts say so.

    And, of course, the reason was that our office, and about 6 others after mergers, were "too costly."

    But in essence, neither you nor union brass figured out a "contracting out clause" which would have addressed your issue. Sorry that they didn't teach you that in teachers' college.

  • In reply to jack:

    jagk, your "story" is just too perfect. Children who work at every type of CPS school, your benefits were slashed and you are fine with that, because after all that is the "real world." Your profile who be a bit more believable if it was at least a bit nuanced.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Apparently someone can't deal with the truth, but you have been warned by the blogger before.

  • In reply to jack:

    ...wait, I forgot. You have a special needs child too, right? To recap, you have a child with an IEP, three children who are teachers- one at an SE schoo, one at a charter, and one at a neighborhood school. Oh yeah, you lost all of your benefits and have no problem with that.


  • In reply to jack:

    dude, your mixing up me and Jack. I think I had you for eight grade history.

  • and by the way, those EARNED grandfathered sick days in my bank - the policy belongs to CPS - so they can re-write or interpret as they see fit - I have to resign and/or retire by Aug 16th......not a lot of time to look for an assignment with this slash and burn, I mean slash and close......regardless, of tenure, superior evaluations, qualifications or paid up union dues.

  • Dear jack

    I don't understand if you are complaining about the real world or
    not? you got a pink slip in the real world but you do not tell us why?
    Was your manager unable to stab another one in the back?
    was his spy network not up to the task?
    Finally why do you suppose anyone cares if you got fired?

  • Leave egos aside gentlemen, stick to topic. Word is the board allowed $20 million to be spent on out-of -towners to teach CPS principals leadership. $20 million? That bbb has consulted for this organization. Follow the money--one reason why Springfield will not bail CPS out?

  • What is the name of this company? I am so disgusted with CPS.

  • Think ii is called the supes academy or cela-leadership academy,
    The SUPES Academy WWW.K12Leader.com

  • Thanks-this is unbelievable on top of the 1.6m Finders' Fee for TFA

  • CPS principals are to read: a hess book cage busting leadership. ch7 is called the chicago way, but the relation to chicago is about Capone -author touts Michelle Rhee where dc school cheating is investigated what do they want principals to learn? (does Rham know this? )

  • In reply to district299reader:

    page 196"...cage busters act. They do it smart, with an eye on the long-term. But they fight hard, and they'll fight dirty if the situation calls for it." This is what CPS wants, principals who fight dirty?

  • So, this is the new "Good to Great"-now we have principals inserviced by a right wing think tank employee who taught social studies for all of two years in Baton Rouge-how insane and please tell me that you meant two million not twenty million....go online and read the book excerpts-same old same old-what utter guano.....yet we will have some inept principals lapping up this drivel like it was mother's milk-I thought CPS was broke?


  • http://supesacademy.com/application

    $2,500 per administrator to attend this "academy" times 2 administrators per school times 500 schools-not counting all of the "administrators" at the regions and central office plus the charter school "directors" PLUS hotel accommodations -How was this approved and who approved it? Yet, the teachers are buying supplies out of pocket and the parents are running candy sales.....


  • Believe me, the administrators don't WANT to attend this "academy" but are being forced to. My principal is livid - especially because it is taking him away from the school for 4 days this week right in the middle of trying to fix problems created by the budget chaos and other CPS insanity. All principals, no matter how successfully they have been running their schools, must take part in this which stretches out through the whole year.

  • Our principal is livid too; stated that when the power point came to REACH, the mentor said she knew nothing about it and skipped over it. Costly and expensive--a waste. Principals should vote with their feet.

Leave a comment