Leaked: Huberman Letter

Leaked:  Huberman Letter
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Thanks to everyone who sent in this Ron Huberman letter (


) laying out the Board of Ed’s version of the story.  Keep sending emails, letters, presentations — any and everything related to CPS is welcome.  

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  • Here are a few important considerations that Mr. Huberman left out of his letter offering us contract concessions in exchange for jobs. At the meeting last Friday the Board's lawyer, James Franczek, asserted the following:

    * Deficit discussions should be separate from contract concession talk.
    The Board will only talk about Union concessions. They are not willing to negotiate/bargain over the CPS budget. Budget savings will not alter CTU job losses.

    * Nothing but contract concessions can save jobs, even if the CTU finds enough CPS wasteful spending to plug the deficit.
    1,000 Union jobs will be gone regardless of the CPS budget situation. Budget solved? We still lose the jobs. The only way to save them is by buying them back with concessions at $100,000 per position.

    * Even if CTU agrees to all concessions CPS will not agree to protect staffing levels.
    Even if the CTU gives up $100 million in concessions CPS will not guarantee that those 1,000 jobs are "saved". They reserve the right to terminate as many employees as they wish for any reason, including budgetary concerns.

  • CEO Ron Huberman informed Clarice Berry, President of the Chicago Principals & Administrators Association yesterday that the decision was made to give Principals % APs furlough days! Principals & APs are to take 7 days (any days they want, does not have to be a holidays). Ron Huberman will send out a communication via email today to all by 10 am. This is per Mayor Daley! P.S.- Don't you just love CPS!

  • Daley is nothing more than a Republican in sheep's clothing.

  • As things stand right now if we give up paid holidays we will not be saving any jobs. CPS will still cut teachers out of budgetary necessity. And those paid holidays will never, ever come back to us. For some of us that's 30 years of concessions. No thanks.

  • CPS is not engaging in a reality based discussion. There are literally hundreds of millions of dollars of non-essential spending that could be curtailed without impacting students and classrooms. That is where the alternative to layoffs exists.

  • I read Mr. Huberman's letter to CPS employees and the Board proposal to the Chicago Teachers Union. I want to thank Alexander for posting it and Mr. Huberman for his making it available for all CPS employees to read and think about. This will be a long post as the topic is complex.

    The first thing that needs to be said is that the discussion of the Track E school layoffs in the letter as a pressure method for a rapid agreement method is unlikely to sit well with many CTU contractual employees. The actual number of layoff notices that were sent out is not clear, but one has to assume that press reports of 400 teachers and 200 support staff/aides is close to the correct number.

    By my count there are 132 Track E schools and only one of these is a high school subject to the class size change. Because Mr. Huberman and the CPS have stated CPS elementary school class sizes would not be increased this year I am interested to understand what function these eliminated teachers in the Track E elementary schools actually have? If there are any Track E principals out there who can inform us what was the method used to determine what positions to cut at these schools it would be helpful to understand what is happening, I have asked CPS about these cuts in relation to implications for special education services but have not as yet received answers.

    Reading the very complex language in the CPS proposal to the CTU at least one thing has become clear. CPS is asking CTU employees to give up more than the 4% salary increase for FY 2011 that has been discussed in the media, it is asking that it be given up for each of two school years to retain fewer than 1,000 teaching positions for only FY 2011. I do not know if there was a communication problem between CPS and the media on this issue, but clearly the media presented the deal as a simple quid pro quo for about 1,200 positions, which it is not. I think CPS teachers, and parents need to get that message out of their heads very quickly.

    There is a proviso in the proposal which reads: "Any agreement on contract modifications for FY 2011 will also apply to FY 2012. The Board reserves the right to propose additional contract modifications as deficit closing measures for FY 2012." The total value of these 4% salary increase concessions according to CPS is $157,800,000 over two years. Even though this total is more than $100,000,000 only $80,000,000 would be applicable to FY 2011 teacher positions. Therefore, CTU in order to save the 1,000 positions, given the CPS proposal, would also have to agree to another $20 million in concessions for FY 2011 to get to the $100,000,000 million figure. But since the deal has to be for two years the actual contractual value would be $40 million over the two years. So the total tab for CTU employees would be $197,800,000 to save 1,000 positions for one school year.

    So to save 1,000 positions for one year CPS employees must agree to give up $197,800,000 over two years and these positions are not guaranteed for the second year of the concession. Moreover, since on June 28 CPS stated "Teacher layoffs could exceed 1,200 under current the current projected deficit" (CPS Press Release June 28, 2009 " CPS Able to Restore Some Projected Program Cuts"), even with these concessions at least 200 classroom teachers or more could be cut in FY 2011.

    As I have noted before on June 28, CPS stated in a press release that the 4% concession was worth $135 million, but by July 23rd it was only worth $80 million. Really this is fuzzy math and very slick contractual language. While, I am well aware that the CPS faces a very major fiscal problem the CPS in its proposal tells CTU it will not agree to any changes in the budget that could in any way impact the proposed concession.

    This means CPS will not consider any proposal for a property tax increase that could generate around $50 million, it will also not consider asking the City Council that excess funds currently in Chicago's TIF districts be returned to CPS. Oak Forest, in 2009 released surplus TIF funds to Bremen Community School District 228, Arbor Park School District 145, Oak Forest Park District and Acorn Library. These bodies received tax funds from improved property within the city's TIF district along 159th Street and Central Avenue. Aldermen approved paying out $142,769, the amount of incremental increase in property taxes received for 2007.Orland Park took much the same action in March 2009, as did Chicago Heights in February 2009. Legally the Chicago City Council could release millions of dollars of surplus funds to CPS immediately with a simple vote that would not involve dissolving any TIF district or impacting existing bond obligations.

    According to the City of Chicago in 2009 158 TIF districts inside of Chicago had unspent revenue from previous years that were not required for debt service. Using the City of Chicago's own information it is possible to estimate that about $343 million would be available to be released to the various taxing bodies within the City of Chicago. (see City of Chicago Department of Community Development (2009, May) "Tax Increment Financing Program Overview.") Based on the current distribution of property tax dollars within the City of Chicago, the CPS could under any release program be eligible for about 50% of these funds or about $171.5 million using the City of Chicago 2009 estimate.

    This excess TIF revenue would be received on a one time basis and does not solve the very real long term fiscal problems public education in Chicago and our State have. But then neither does the concession proposal solve these larger problems.

    But neither a property tax increase nor a surplus TIF balance rebate are allowed to be discussed in relation to any deal with the CTU according to the proposal. Really this is not what could be called a "good deal." If Franczek Radelet P.C. can get the CTU to agree to this deal then Jim Franczek really deserves the super lawyer of the year award. Now what is the real deal CPS wants? Or does CPS really want to layoff these teachers as part of its larger downsizing vision and this a take it or leave it proposal? I don't know the answer to these questions. But I do intend to ask the Board these type of questions at the August Board meeting when the FY 2011 budget will be voted on.

    Rod Estvan

  • So we are broke! Yet, CPS flew in, put up at hotels, drove them to the site consultants/presenters to teach school groups about Right to Intervention. Teams members were given glossy brochures, binders and lunch paid for with CPS monies. You mean to tell me there is no one in CPS who could have presented this for FREE! This is just another example in a long line of wasteful spending at CPS. No wonder teacher morale is low. Someone needs to monitor the spending at CPS especially when Mr Huberman thinks we should give up concessions. I do not think our contract should be opened until all spending on fluff stops and all of the vendors give up concessions.

  • In reply to anniesullivan:

    So is he crying wolf when there isn't one?

  • The inservice was held this week Monday through Thursday at North Grand High School (Kostner and Wells)The presenters were from California and South Carolina...hard to justify the expense in these economic times.

  • Is the CTU contract expired? Is CPS asking to re-open? Why don't they wait and negotiate when they agreed to?

  • In reply to MayfairDad2:

    The contract doesn't expire until June, 2012. Huberman wants the union to agree to concessions now - some would see it as amendments to the contract if the rank and file vote on it. And it is not negotiations. It is demands with no give backs.
    Once those concessions are made the fear is that we will never see those items back on the table in 2012. Much of what is in the contract has been fought for over many years.

    It would have been more professional if CPS asked to reopen contract talks, but they don't do things that way.

  • If the suits told us we had to give the blood of our first born to save jobs, do you think we should do it?
    The problem is the list of concessions we have been so kindly given to choose from does not give any stability nor does CPS offer anything in return. Usually there is a compromise between two groups. CPS is offering no compromise or guarantee of any kind. If we take the concessions - any of them - CPS can still start terminating teachers at whim. The famous letter states that.

  • I think someone posted the statement that the CTU has not made a response to the CPS proposal, I think Ms Lewis has made such a response in general and sent it out to the public. I got it via email this week and I am not a member, she also said that it was not the end of discussions with CPS. Clearly I think members of the union are saying no to this deal.

    Possibly one way to make this clearer would be for the CTU to put the proposal up to a vote of the House, I think the vote will be overwhelming that the proposal can not be agreed to as a starting point to solve the fiscal problem CPS has.

    I think this proposal is a very unfortunate thing, many teachers are willing to help the school district in hard times because the vast majority of teachers did not go into education for the money. But the proposal is so completely in your face that any good will on the part of the teaching force even to consider concessions is gone.

    I do think that one important thing Mr. Huberman was correct about was the fiscal problem is not likely to end with the FY 2011 school year. CPS has a structural deficit, which is not limited to teachers pay, pensions, and benefits. CPS has spent millions upon millions on various remedial plans for low performing schools, it has spent millions on opening choice option schools both charter and contract. It has spent millions on the bridge program.

    I have never seen CPS conduct an effective cost benefit analysis of these millions spent in relation to educational gain. For example since 1995 CPS at the elementary level has seen far more non disabled students improve their state mandated test scores, and some limited improvement in ACT scores. But how many millions have been spent for each percentage point gained? Moreover, how much have these test score increases improved the life outcomes of poor CPS students? Graduating from high school is a good thing, but currently it does not equal a job. Going to college is a good thing, but how many CPS students actually get BAs within five or even six years of graduation?

    I know the situation of many CPS graduates who have disabilities and those who do not go on to post secondary education they are massively unemployed. My own disabled daughter who is a CPS graduate with a 17 ACT score is one of the unemployed. I cannot tell all of you how many CPS graduates I have helped with SSI appeals. I also can sadly tell all of you the vast majority of disabled CPS graduates who go to college, go to the Chicago City Colleges and I would estimate that 75% of these former CPS students do not get through the remedial course work to take college level classes.

    More than anything else in order for CPS to expect concessions from its workforce the school district must admit its own problems. This week at the meeting of the Board CPS created a budget audit committee of the Board for the first time since 1995. Something I have been harping about for many years, that is a very good thing. CPS needs to come clean about President Scott and release the investigation documents. CPS needs to explain why there are charter schools that have failed year after year to make AYP, but their charters are not pulled, but traditional school after traditional school is closed for the very same crime.

    This all not a very pretty picture.

    Rod Estvan

  • progress being made, says CTU press release -- what do you think?:

    After a three-hour meeting today between the Chicago Teachers Union

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    No one commented on this, and I have been mulling this over.
    Okay, maybe this means that the board is now listening to us. But it doesn't say whether any new developments occurred regarding the 'concessions'. It doesn't say if this will help the save jobs. It actually doesn't say much in the way of any negotiations. And I would like to know when they will meet again.

    Of course the original deadline of August 2, will pass.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Concessions have already been made

  • Rod-thanks so much for your two informative posts.
    Special education is crisis mode at CPS. We are referring less students due to the inefficiency of the computerized system and I am afraid that CPS will use the fact that RtI is new as an excuse for lack of reponse for children in need.
    I am grateful that I work with teachers and administrators at my school who realize the importance of early intervention for children with disabilities. I am not so sure about the future of our students with disabilities when I speak with colleagues at other schools who are discouraged from referring students suspected of having a disability. I am hoping the new head of OSS addresses these issues maybe via a survy/questionaire preferably anonymous.

  • Yeah, you are.

  • The problem is that 1,000 teacher jobs and families will not be saved by giving up concessions. What part of that is so confusing to you?

  • Yes, I read it very carefully. What is also there in black and white is that the $100 million in concessions will only save jobs temporarily.

    For instance, there's this:
    For Fiscal Year 2011, any contract modifications to retain positions will not have any impact on the Fiscal Year 2011 deficit...Even with an agreement on contract mofidications, CPS will nevertheless be required to implement significant deficit closing measures in Fiscal years 2011 and 2012.

    And this:
    "Any agreement on contract modifications for Fiscal Year 2011 will also apply during Fiscal Year 2012. The Board reserves the right to propose additional contract modifications as deficit closing measures for Fiscal Year 2012."

    Even with full Union concessions the Board will not apply $100 million in savings to the current budget deficit. And that deficit, after all, is why CEO Huberman keeps telling the press there will be so many layoffs. The two portions I cite make it clear that CPS will still need to make budget cuts (e.g., layoffs) this year to reduce the deficit and additional budget cuts (e.g. layoffs) next year. Note that the proposal does not say additional cuts are possible. It says that additional cuts are a certainty.

    So, do I want to give up $100 million in concessions to not save jobs? No thanks.

  • I

  • Hmmmm, where is that State lottery $$$ promised to education oh soooo long ago? $2 billion is generated annually according to a report presented on WBEZ 91.5 FM on 7-30-10. Privatization

  • In education jargon, recess does not refer to a teacher

  • Absolutely! We are the role models & child advocates if we allow ourselves to be intimidated by this public posturing & politics of fear then the children will suffer.
    There is a bully on the playground & we cannot afford any short-sighted thinking here

  • Have you ever played JENGA? Ron has and he won

  • 'Faced with a record city budget hole of more than $654 million, Mayor Richard Daley expressed reluctance toward several options being discussed to close the gap.
    Aldermen have talked about declaring surpluses in the city

  • This fight is almost entirely going to come down to propaganda. The current frame is that the city and state are in the red and lazy, incompetent teachers must take a freeze or cut. It should be about TIF's and city mismanagement of funds through corrupt and failed privatization.

  • "bad grammar should read poor grammar"

    Do not forget that when we are on strike CO, District Office and all administrators get paid to show up to work in empty buildings and receive ALL benefits including pay raises won by union members. Also, please remember administrators only swipe in once a day and have many more perks than the teachers. Maybe you can list the myriad of perks administrators have that are not afforded teachers, which I am not saying you do not deserve, but maybe it justifies the pay cut.

  • In reply to anniesullivan:

    Annie you are very mistaken! Central office staff does not get any type of pay raise based on the union contract! NOTHING! So sorry you are wrong - we do not benefit. And ONLY swiping in once????? NOT TRUE. At central office you swipe in in the AM and then when you leave. Oh and don't forget our hours sometimes go in the late hours of the night!
    When the 5 year contract was decided the WHOLE WORLD WAS NOT IN Financial crisis. Dahhh teachers this is not a no brainer here....but the WHOLE WORLD IS IN A CRISIS!!! EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD IS FEELING IT! so why shouldn't hte cps teachers? well I guess we can thank them if the students can not get all they need.

  • In reply to OSES:

    Can the semantics-it is true the administrators do not have the protection of the CTU contract BUT in the past all the raises, insurance benefits and pension benefits we fought for were also given by CPS not CTU to administrators. If that has changed it is only since Huberman statred hiring new college graduates without teaching degrees at salaries far and above a teacher salary-maybe what you are trying to say is that you do not need the 4% raise because your salary is so much higher than that of a teacher. Is that what you are trying to say? Also, I and my colleagues put in many late hours-so what?

  • In reply to OSES:

    Rod, there are now 10 Chicago Public High Schools on the Trach E schedule, that will start August 9th!

  • You're funny. I'm on unpaid recess right now, and while on said recess, I heard that we have to pay for all our own materials, such as text books, computers, and copy machines. And, security will now be paid for by small teacher collectives, so, like, you and another teacher might hire someone to watch your classes. It's something like $5.00 per teacher per hour.

  • "I have spoken with persons who were told step raises were frozen as of june 30l, 2010 by CPS management."

    Too, too funny...persons...CPS Management....

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