Budget Hearing Brouhaha

Budget Hearing Brouhaha

Parents blast schools budget WBEZ: “Tell us the things you think we’re spending money on, that you think we ought to cut,” said Chief Administrative Officer Tim Cawley. “You can’t just say, ‘Give us more.’  Tell us what you think we should cut.”

Parents rail at CPS cuts Chicago Tribune: Parents and education advocates voiced anger and frustration over spending cuts affecting their children's schools during one of two public hearings Thursday.

CPS officials take heat on budget cuts at public hearing Sun Times: Heated comments at a public hearing on Chicago Public Schools budget cuts Thursday night ranged from an angry calls to abolish the school board to requests to divert tax-increment financing money to help pay for education. Proposed budget cuts for the coming year include $68 million to classroom spending. Thousands of CPS teachers and support staff have received pink slips in recent months.
City: Budget Deficit Will Get Worse Without Pension Reform Chicagoist: The Emanuel administration is sticking with its current “we need pension reform” message across city departments.

Education Reform, Chicago-Style The Nation: But don't you worry: Xian Barrett won't be changing any lives like that any time soon. More and more every day, the Chicago Public Schools will be safely rid of ...

Former Marcy Newberry Children's Choir Fights to Stay Together DNAI: Debra Kelly has worked to keep the children's choir going after the childcare center closed in June.

Perspective: Don't arm guards -- arm teachers Tribune (opinion): As violence escalates and parents demand change, then arming highly competent and experienced teachers is the safest alternative.
CPS aims to increase first-day attendance Sun Times: Back to school bells will be ringing soon, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett reminded families Wednesday in the hopes of increasing first-day attendance.


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  • I was at the Truman hearing last night and again like last year Tim Cawley set the audience off into a rage when he tried to bait north side parents over their advantages relative to poor low income children on the south and west sides.

    Having Mr. Cawley do this after he received a residence waiver to live in the suburbs truly just caused a total uproar at Truman last night. I can only assume that Tim finds doing this type of baiting somehow enjoyable, I honestly can't figure him out. It's one thing to implement cuts and do what budget officers in public schools believe they have to do to keep the ship afloat, but to purposely set off an audience really is beyond my understanding.

    Rod Estvan

  • Tim Crawley is a sick man. Keeping his residency waiver to "benefit" his daughter. And now this. Ick.

  • Headache299
    Blogmaster Russo, thanks for posting

    Tim Cawley talks BS for 34 minutes and parents give CPS an earful around the 35 minute mark. A few notable highlights are

    Victoria Benson at 35 min.
    Janet at 41 min.
    Adina at 43 min.
    Caroline at 46 min.
    Dan at the 49 min.
    Carol Keating at 52 min.
    Rod Estvan at 56.28 min.
    Matt Farmer at 1 hr. 12 min.
    Greg Harris at 1 hour, 16 min
    Martin Ritter at 1 hr. 31 min.

    Actually, all the speakers were great

  • In reply to district299reader:

    While listening to the WBEZ recording, I jotted down a half dozen names, too, all of which are on your list.

    Special thanks to Rod Estvan who is on the mark--and definitely in the minority--with the need to raise local property taxes. No one wants to talk about this, but there is no other way out of this structural deficit. Unallocated TIF surpluses really won't solve the problem.

    Can't understand why Cawley was so combative with the audience. All he had to do was smile, nod his head, stay awake and pretend to be interested in what the speakers were saying. It's a sham--Matt Farmer's point--but it's a sham that's been working for CPS. If it's just arrogance that he can get a crowd like this riled up with no further consequences, then he's really not the intelligent guy we've heard he is.

  • In reply to Danaidh:

    You are both merely scratching the surface related to the arrogance of Mr. Cawley. If only you could watch him at CO meetings. Hands folded behind his head, legs stretched out while he pontificates to the "less intelligent". Even those in his office are desperate to get out.

  • In reply to EducatorCPS:

    Tim Cawley is to 125 what Rahm Emmanuel is to Chicago.
    Mr. Cawley is a feared man at 125. Do not cross him.
    Both WBEZ budget meeting recordings are worth listening too.
    The new CFO was respectful, even gentle, but seems overwhelmed by the just anger of the audience. (Second recording)
    Donn, the CTU is pushing for the tax increase-listen to recordings. Now since they are, you probably blast them for that.
    Impressed by many who brought up the $20million debacle. For all of Cawley's power, do not understand why he does not cancel this contract as he watches the money go down the drain. He and Vitale have that power-so why so inactive on this? It is there job to tell BBB 'enough', although they should not have allowed this at all. .

  • In reply to EducatorCPS:

    Don't forget when he fell asleep at Amundsen!

  • In reply to Danaidh:

    Why hasn't the CTU pushed raising property taxes? That change seems to be the most practical choice.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Raising any kind of taxes is a sore point for just about everybody. I think with all of raising of fees that has happened with this mayor already has people up in arms. Changing the state flat rate income tax and raising property taxes are hard pills to swallow, but something must be done. Friends and relatives who live in nearby suburbs pay nearly double or more the property taxes I pay living in Chicago and have better schools and services. People need to remember if you want better schools and services, you have to ante up and pay for them. That being said, I like some guarantee that my increased taxes would be going to the right place - rather than parks, stadiums for private schools, and other nonessential projects.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    The Vice President of the CTU has raised the issue of the low property tax rate in Chicago. Also Moody's raised this issue in lowering the City's credit rating. The Mayor attacked the idea instead claiming pension "reform" must happen first.

    As I stated at the hearing legislators in particular Republican, downstate Democrats, and even a few members of the Black caucus from the south suburbs, tell me they are tired of handing money to CPS when the City tax rate is so much lower than for the school districts they represent. Politically this is a big problem. Every one seems to agree that there needs to be reform of school funding which is based so heavily on property taxes, but there is no money to do this and both Bruce Rauner and Daley on the Democratic side are opposed to even keeping the state income tax rate as high as it is.

    The positions both Rauner and Daley are taking are based on polling data and to a degree on their respective economic ideologies. So getting a progressive income tax system in Illinois,which I do support, will be very difficult and take years.

    The CTU and its progressive allies want to emphasize TIFs, renegotiating bank loans/swaps, either completely eliminating charter school funding or stopping the big increase they will receive this year. They also argue that there are huge dollars going to various favored conservative vendors and programs. There are legitimate aspects and over simplifications involved in what I will call the progressive strategy.

    CPS will likely not get a 40 to 45% reduction in its pension payments out of any compromise between the Speaker"s and Senate President"s proposals. Given that reality all the other stuff, including issues raised by progressives needs to be on the table in order to stabilize CPS.

    The Mayor is fearful of a political backlash over a property tax increase so he will not take the lead on any grand compromise involving taxes. The CTU correctly does not want to be attacked for supporting big tax increases to support its contract, so it looks to reach for pots of existing dollars which even if turned over will run out and we are back where we started. By 2026 CPS will default unless there is a tax increase of significance that goes well beyond the cap.

    In 2026 CPS gets hit with the perfect storm, it's yearly pension payments and bond payment go to the max. If CPS patch quilts solutions over the next ten years it will have to file for bankruptcy sometime in FY 2024 to 2026. Maybe that is the grand plan for CPS, that is to go broke and start all over again, lets all hope not.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Rod as always you have hit the nail on the head-but people don't want to hear it. This chart is pretty clear that taxes in Chicago are too low to support the schools. Thanks for being advocate for the children of CPS.


  • In reply to district299reader:

    Yes the chart really shows the difference between the city and suburbs using the 2011 data. If it was updated to 2012 data it would look about the same. Thanks for posting the link.

    Rod Estvan

  • Rham's next campaign slogan about his mess at CPS:
    We failed 'em. Now, we jail 'em.

  • For teachers laid-off, PATs, and subs:
    Any stories on the TQP (teacher quality pool)? Another brouhaha created by CPS?

  • In reply to displacedteach:

    I feel the TQP is another way to selectively weed out certain groups. Went to my reassigned teacher mtg last week, and those who were saying they never received the TQP email were over the age of 50-55. Principals can't hire you w/o the entire process completed.

    I'm so dismayed by the entire process because its a joke. There were several teachers who took the severance package on the spot and left. I have the papers to resign and receive severance pay ( has to be hand delivered by 8/15). This would be my 12th year and I do not see myself retiring as a teacher in this district...and receive a pension. It is time (for me) to consider other options.

  • Does Cawley think he's amazing since he job hopped in the business world? If he is so "awesome" he would still be at Proctor & Gamble, he must have figured he couldn't rise through the ranks with A.G. Lafley there, so onto Motorolla, then onto AUSL, then onto CPS. Dude is a joke, go back to the suburbs.
    So tired of all of the CPS bs, I enjoy teaching and working with kids, but not in a climate that has been created over my 7 years with CPS. It may time to go back where I transplanted from...

  • So Cawley has an odd personality-so do some doctors, but patients still flock to them if they are good doctors-the question is he disliked because of personalty or because he expects people to produce? Any of us who have worked in CPS know that central office employees for the most part are totally inept-think payroll-think Corey H., think of the insulting inservicing and let's not forget the joke of a law department.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    True. Where does the rot begin?

  • Thank you Mr. Soria for yelling at and berating principals who attended the supes academy at Lane last week, about the Catalyst coverage of the supes academy and how we are responsible for this.
    Is this how BBB wants principals to be treated?

  • Why is Mr. Soria and Supes Academy afraid of transparency and accountability to those who pay the bills (taxpayers) and those who work or study under CPS principals?

  • Principals need to grow a pair and walk out when an out of control administrator yells at them just as teachers need to leave for the restroom (an excuse) when administrators throw tantrums.....600 principals need to show the same strength as the teachers did in the fall......this administrator needs to start with the Napoleons in his network-he knows which -the ones with 30+ staff members bailing.....the ones where students and staff are being injured because the schools out totally out of control....the schools were in control but the old school principals retired and the new poorly trained ones have no clue how to run a school-sitting in peace circles singing Kumbaya is not working.....lawsuits are working for the attorneys....

  • This must be a union teacher making this dumb suggestion to "grow a pair"

    Consider yourself lucky to have a union, and shut up.

  • What? Were we at the same session? I thought Mr. Soria was right on target. You missed the point. He said, "If you aren't satisfied with SUPES, then say something." Much better than, "You're not as great as you think" from Mr. Benes.

  • In reply to EducatorCPS:

    EducatorCPS-why would you know what two different chiefs said on 2 different Fridays? (And we were yelled at btw). No principal in their right mind would have attended any these sessions twice,

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Actually you're revealing that you weren't even there. I was. During the opening session, Benes went on and on about his network. He made the comment about us not being as great as we think we are and that we needed to learn more. Soria, for closing remarks, talked about ilt, catalyst, speaking up about supes. I wasn't yelled at. I even asked him to send me his information about ilt. He sent it to me the same night.

    But you're missing the big picture. Like fed up, we need to make sure that people know that supes is a waste of time.

  • As someone who has now suffered through at week of CELA/SUPES here is me venting......

    It makes me sick that my school is being stripped to the bones but $20,000,000 is being spend on this time waster! They say speak up, but no one will ever take ownership of this waste! If they would, they would cancel the contract and spend the money wisely. And quite frankly I am not speaking up as I do not want any useless assignments added on to my already exasperated work load nor do I really want to have to stay until 5:30pm when it is time to log on a report and not time well spent. The people they are bringing in are very nice and might be highly regarded in their district, but they haven't a clue about Chicago. Example: one session the topic was communication.... The presenter says "we are to discuss forms of communication" All the principal participants looked at each other in the long pause. One finally spoke up and said, "what type of communication? District level? School level?" The presenter said, "Let's start with district. How does CPS communicate to its schools". The principal participants said a few things. The speaker said nothing. An experienced principal but one new to Chicago asked a few questions and then the next hour and 20 minutes were spent with the other participants supporting the new principal in understanding the district while the speaker added nothing. Well then again he couldn't because he has no understanding of the district, so why is CPS paying him to be there? The five opening days had absolutely no benefit in regards to growing my practice or learning anything new that I could bring back to my building. What it resulted in for me is frustration! Frustrated that I lost that time to work in my building and prepare for the new year, Frustrated that there was no purpose for me to be there, frustrated that the money being spent could be spent at the school level, frustration that the district spent money on a program that has no proof that it will be beneficial and it's obvious that it will not! Frustrated that we are TOLD we have to be there and report from 7:30-5:30 but on the last day it seems most presenters fly out mid day. My group was told we had to merge with other groups because our presenter was leaving after lunch. So do they get paid a full day when they leave early? This happened in other principal cohorts as well. Strange to pay such a crazy amount of money for professional development when the presenters do not even plan to work the hours of the program!

    B3 and Alicia Winkler "think" it sounds great to say they are putting all of this effort into principal professional development. If they really want something to be beneficial, the presenters and program have to understand CPS & Chicago. I would think many of our local university partner would have had a much greater knowledge base to work from then the outsiders who have nothing vested.

  • Agree with you Fed Up our sessions were a waste of time as well bbb and Winckler would NEVER have wasted their time with such nonsense. Why didn't Winckler attend to see what was really not going on and how this $$$ is so wasted?

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