Security Chief Escapes CPS

This morning’s news is full of stories about the contested budget that CPS is proposing — lots of folks don’t like it or have serious concerns — and the sudden departure of Michael Shields (he’s going back to the CPD).

CPS property tax hike proposal creates public frustration Tribune:  Although both the Civic Federation and Access Living, an advocacy group for the disabled, said they support the property tax increase, they both stressed that the system’s long-term fiscal situation is unsustainable.

Public Speaks Out Against Process of Schools Budget NYT:  As Chicago Public Schools officials scramble to complete the district’s 2012 budget, parents, teachers and taxpayers made one thing clear in a series of public hearings last week.

Emanuel defends property tax increase for Chicago Public Schools Tribune:  Mayor Rahm Emanuel today said a property tax hike for Chicago Public Schools is acceptable because …

Final Public Hearing Held on CPS Budget Tribune:  The Chicago Public School Board will vote in two weeks on a proposed budget that includes a property tax hike. The final public hearing on the plan was held Friday night.

Area schools use recess, waivers to address P.E. mandate Tribune: It was a woman named Debby Sutherland, who had driven from south suburban Flossmoor to Jessica’s home in Berwyn to give her a $290 check to pay…

Head of CPS security resigns to rejoin Chicago police Sun Times:  Michael Shields joined the school district as director of security in 2009. His annual salary was $150,…

CPS security chief quits 3 weeks before school starts ABC7: Shields joined the Chicago Public Schools as safety and security director in 2009, at the end of a school year that saw almost 40 students meet violent deaths.

Jennifer Hudson, Ozzie Guillen and more to urge CPS kids to go to school Sun Times:  She’s a 1999 Dunbar High School graduate and was raised in Englewood. She has had more than her share of adversity.

R. Kelly not controversial as Bud Billiken grand marshal Sun Times:  A man who admits he cannot read and famously beat child-porn charges might not seem the most obvious honorary grand marshal of a children’s back-to-school parade.

Summer institutes get teachers into neighborhoods Catalyst: To help bridge the divide, the Chicago Public Schools organized three week-long teacher immersion institutes over the summer to help about 90 teachers connect with the communities where they teach.

62 Legislators Violated the Legislative Scholarship Program Chicago Talks:  Sixty-two members of the Illinois General Assembly broke the law over the course of six years by awarding free tuition to the state’s public universities to 122 college students who didn’t live in the right legislative district.

Filed under: Daily News Roundup


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  • Media reporting on this budget has been God-awful and criminally confusing. A budget is a PLAN, a FORECAST based on on best assumptions. It is not a certified statement of actuals because that would require predicting the future. Actuals ALWAYS DIFFER from budget because s____ happens.

    CPS's budgets are fairly accurate forecasts of the actual state of CPS. Some divergence is due to timing of state payments and timing of expenses., i.e., payments not expected until FY2012 were actually booked in FY2011 (some of this is due to weird accounting rules CPS employs whereby payments in the month after the close of the FY count for the prior fiscal year) and expenses expected in one FY do not occur until the next.

    But this is all bookkeeping allocations of actual income and expenses that brighten or dim a particular year but do not alter the overall desperate CPS financial picture, which CNC reportage misses. Much of the "surplus" from last year exists because the state accelerated payments and made a July payment that counts toward last years budget.

    CNC's confusion does its readership a great disservice. I expect this from Rossi, but CNC was supposed to be better.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Oh my! I got a stitch in my side laughing at the above nonsense. (Just a minute to let reality sink in. That's better.)

    Nearly everyone understands that budgets are financial plans forecast into the future and, stuff happens.

    But let's look at the history of CPS. Ever since Duncan's second year, CPS has forecast a deficit each year and only once has it been right (and a rather small amount at that). Every other time they ended up with a surplus.

    The CNC story was actually quite good. Much better than the local media, in fact. Despite the folderol spouted by "Anonymous," CPS claimed a $900 million deficit at one point last year; whittled it down to $244 million; and ended up with a $288 million surplus. Even after the "pension holiday," and EduJobs funding, the Budget Office was off by a half-billion dollars.

    Now, "Anonymous" can tell us that up is really down or that black is really white, but I believe him/her/it about as much as I believe the CPS Budget Office.


  • In order to understand if CPS is generally over estimating its projected deficits it is necessary to look at many years, not just the most current year. I think that George Schmidt over at Substance has been looking at this for even more years than I have, he concludes CPS over estimates its deficit fairly regularly. I think George is right about this. By how much, it varies from year to year based on the audits from what I can tell. Enough to pay teachers their 4%, maybe, but based on the language of the CTU contract the CPS would still be within their legal right to not make good on the increase due to choices they can relate to educational services.

    In Springfield it is assumed all school districts do this type of budget gamesmanship, so CPS is probably not alone in doing this. But in some ways the City of Chicago and CPS under Mayor Daley was like Greece or Egypt. Hiding deficits until the chips are called in. This all goes along well like any ponzi scheme and then falls apart. I personally believe Mayor Emanuel is providing cover for Mayor Daley and trying to patch together things. His situation in this regard is not enviable and organized workers are now paying a high price. But then some unions in this town endorsed Mayor Daley year after year and got their deals. Other players, like some of Chicago's most powerful people also got deals and they too are out of the picture right now.

    Over at CPS all of the minutes of closed sessions of the CPS Board from 1995 to June 2011 were ordered by our new Board of Education (July 27, 2011 11-0727-MO3) to remain sealed, why? Certainly minutes from a year or two ago should be able to be opened, right? Wrong. That is only the case if you want to clean the house out and let the world sort out the stuff Mr. Scott and others may have been playing or how certain Daley related deals floated through CPS for years.

    As most of the readers of this blog know I spend some time in Springfield working as a lobbyist and it is a common presumption among many non-Chicago members of the General Assembly that CPS is basically corrupt and the big brother in corruption to the notorious Cairo Unified School District 1. I have always felt that this tag carried some racist bagage with it down in the capital and I have argued that despite its problems CPS is no where as bad as some members might believe. They roll their eyes at me when I say this and really say nothing else.

    Now even with this said, CPS has both revenue and expenditure problems that cannot be solved by ending possible corruption and tightening up deficit estimates. It has long term issues with the pension fund and thinking about where this may end up in ten years or so is very unsettling. All I can say to the new Board is if you do not expose the problems of the past you have bought them and they are now yours. Good luck with that.

    Rod Estvan

  • Rod--Denoso just cut the aides in the blended programs for pre school. Help!

  • My understanding is that the aide reductions were part of a decision made based on state funding fro the blended programs state wide driven by the budget approved by the Illinois General Assembly. By age 3 each disabled child in these programs should have transitioned from what is called an IFSP to an IEP.

    By law each IEP must state the services provided to the child, which should include shared aides or classroom aides. If these students IEPs are strictly written with reference to "state funded pre-K" they are defective without further defining services. The parents of children impacted by any such cuts in these programs who are willing to oppose these cuts need to contact me directly at Access Living so I can formally review their IEPs. We do not charge for this.

    Teachers have no legal right to bring forward actions in relation to this issue. Because of the nature of the legal system the actual cuts will have to be actually implemented in order for either an administrative complaint or due process case to be filed. I know that is frustrating, but it is how the system works.

    If you could send me a list of the sites where these cuts are taking place it would be helpful so I can bring this issue directly to CPS. I can see aide position reductions listed in the budget, mostly CWAs, but I do not know where they are located at.

    Rod Estvan

  • So...doesn't anyone have the goods on why Shield is leaving so abruptly?

  • Maybe there's something on Shields over at the Second City Cop blog. CPS Shields, not policy union Shields.

  • "police union"


    Discussion on Second City Cop about Shields' leave-taking.

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