"Moratorium" Mess

So the House and Senate have both approved the closing extension, and the final passage votes are supposed to happen today, but we still don’t know what prompted CPS and City Hall to come up with the moratorium idea, whether it was necessary, or even whether it made a difference to the lawmakers to whom it was offered. Lots of links and a little more blathering below.

Among those already concerned about closings, the moratorium idea only seemed to heighten concerns about the process. Among longtime CPS watchers, there are questions about whether the city can pull off the moratorium, which puts things under tremendous pressure both in terms of decisionmaking and implementation.  But I still haven’t come across much evidence that it was a persuasive element of the extension proposal, or even necessary to win passage — lawmakers citing it, or switching votes. So….?



Bill to delay school closings announcement moves forward Catalyst: Many of the supporters of the House version of the bill, HB 1957 – including the bill’s own sponsor, Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago) – expressed strong reluctance to granting the deadline extension.No legislators in either chamber had anything positive to say about CPS performance in recent years.

Illinois House, Senate pass dueling versions of CPS school closings measure Tribune: The Illinois House today voted to give Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s education team another four months to come up with a list of school closings. The Senate then passed its own bill, but the two chambers must pass the same actual legislation before it can move to the governor’s desk.

Illinois House votes to give Chicago more time on school closings Reuters: The Illinois House voted by a wide margin on Wednesday to give the Chicago Public Schools, the nation’s third-largest district, four more months to announce what could be dozens of school closings. The state Senate, which also needs to approve the measure, will vote Thursday, an aide to Senate President John Cullerton said.

Legislators OK bill to give CPS more time to draft school-closing list Sun Times: “Our city has more school buildings, classrooms and desks than it has students, and it is essential that we take time to create a sensible plan that invests our resources most effectively so that every child in every school gets a high-quality education,” Emanuel said in a prepared statement praising Wednesday’s legislative action.

CPS Bill Live Tim Furman: Well played, B3. Now let’s all get some popcorn and watch the community engagement blossom like the primroses along the path.

School closing delay gets first okay in Springfield, but some lawmakers have … WBEZ:  despite that criticism, Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett got committee support to delay announcement of which schools the district would close this year. “I’m feeling very happy,” Byrd-Bennett said after the votes were taken by.

How to survive Mayor Rahm—learn from ACT UP Reader: It’s high time for black and/or working-class activists in Chicago to learn from the gay activists who learned from them. Or at least their predecessors. Get out and rattle some cages and raise your voices. It’s probably the only way you’ll get Mayor Rahm’s attention. Well, other than getting really rich. Then he’ll usher you right in. Obviously, the go-along-to-get-along-strategy isn’t working.



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  • Can anyone find the exact language spelling out the
    5 year moratorium?
    I have read the bills and amendments ,the section
    granting the extension until
    March is there but where is the moratorium?

  • Why hasn't the CPS facility master plan gotten more visibility? It looks like they are pushing out the dates required for that along with the date for school actions.


  • I just returned from Springfield and I just happened to be in the executive committee meeting where SB 547 was moved that modified the closing date. I was actually there for another bill HB 6240.

    First off I want to clear something up, the 5 year moratorium is a promise by CPS it does not appear in the legislation. It should be noted that Mayor Emanuel's term ends in May of 2015 and if he elects not to run or is not re-elected clearly this promise would not be binding on any new Board selected by a new Mayor.

    Most importantly I think it is important that the actual vote on the bill in the House be examined. What it shows is that the sponsor of the orginal legislation, Rep Soto, that crafted the bill that created the task force and the Dec 1 date supported this amendement along with an additional amendment that has some non-binding language (i.e. CPS must make "reasonable and demonstrated efforts") on maintaining services and class sizes for students who are moved due to closings.

    It should be noted that the majority of the Black members of the House voted against this bill and the majority of Hispanic members voted in favor. Progressive white Democrates voted in both ways but those with the closest ties to organized labor voted no. Republicans voted yes and it would not have gotten three-fifths without their support.

    Access Living for the record took no position on SB 547 as amended.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    "I was actually there for another bill HB 6240."

    Rod: What was the upshot for this bill?

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    does anyone know where the NEW teacher pay schedules are. On HR4U system they have last years. Of course, I am on hold with HR Payroll and the estimated wait time is 20 minutes...naturally. The new payscale takes effect on tomorrows paycheck - but no one knows where to find the new pay schedule.

  • In reply to M Wesoloskie:

    Based on what I know there is no 'pay schedule' per say anymore. If you want to know what you are making now take your annual (not bi-weekly, this is important) salary from last school year and take that times 1.04 (Cost of Living increase). If you also advanced a step you have to take your new annual salary and add the new flat rate step increase. I haven't seen a chart of the step increases yet, but from what I've heard it varies from year to year. So, if you made $100,000 last year (easy math) on July 1 you'd be making $104,000. Then if your step increase was say $1,500 on September 1 add that to your annual to get $105,500 as your new annual salary.

    DO NOT look at your take home pay and try to add 4% to it to get your new salary as that is faulty math. As your annual rate goes up so do your taxes and benefit withdrawals. Also, we're now getting paid on a 39.6 week schedule instead of a 38.6 week schedule so that also has to be taken into account. Overall I'd expect a bi-weekly increase of between 2.2% to 2.6% depending on your overall deductions.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to district299reader:

    Thank you very much. I do believe there is still a pay scale with steps and lanes. I'm only the spouse in the scenario - not hte teacher - which is evident by my lack of compelte detail.

    Here is the one that was approved - but nothing has been posted since the contract was ratified:
    Old pay scale:

    New Pay Scale (supposedly)

    I believe this pay scale had the cost of living increase AND the step added in together

  • In reply to M Wesoloskie:

    Yes and no, there is a new salary schedule, but that's for new incoming teachers not teachers who were working under the old contract. The previous poster is correct in how to calculate the new salary.

  • In reply to M Wesoloskie:

    Sorry, that should have said a multiplier of 1.03 not 1.04. I realized my mistake this morning and felt that I should correct my previously posted information.

  • I wrote about this last week but was able to confirm
    some information.Those who retired between 2001-2005
    got their pensions adjusted and were socked with a major
    bill.In my friends case $18,000 which the pension board
    said was overpaid.His COLA will be used to repay this debt.
    What I did not know ,but suspected, is that he was not on
    extended pay.I would like to ask is if anyone out there got
    the same letter who was on extended pay at that time?

  • Union goes on the offensive against charters

    CTU exposes 'Manufactured Crisis' of underutilization in CPS as the latest cover for segregation, privatization.... New Report Cites Deficiencies in City Plan for School Privatization Race, poverty and policy intersect in “The Black and White of Education in Chicago’s Public Schools” at http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=3793&section=Article

  • Curtis Black
    On School Closings, a political ploy


  • @rbusch - fyi - the explanations re pension overpayments are on the CTPF webpage. Short explanation is that CTPF calculated pensionable time on being paid for 5+ days in a pay period, and the board was counting each day. Because this went on for almost 5 years, the amounts piled up. I imagine this most impacted people whose time cut really close to the requirement to max out, or who are now coming out under 30 years and had never paid the 2.2, thinking they had enough time in for it to be waived. My understanding was that COLAs will continue to be frozen through 2014 if needed to make up the difference. Pension board fought this in court for years and it was finally decided in CO's favor. Their pension data delivery system to CTPF has always been a mess, and now the teachers have been made to pay the price...

  • The Tribune list of 140 underutilized schools is just as misleading as the sound bite that continues to say "we have 140 schools that are less than 50% utilized". Here is the real issue. Where did you read that CPS would commit to only closing schools that are 50% or less utilized? The policy in its final version (online CPS website now) states that they will consider actions regarding any school which is underutilized. This means puts way more than 140 schools at risk!!!! I would ask that Tribune, Catalyst, and/or Sun-times to produce a list that really shows the true picture. In Springfield when Mrs. Zopp was asked for the number of schools that would close. The answer was more than 5 and less than 200. The close to 200 is perhaps the real number. We are listening to sound bites and asking the wrong questions. The questions should be. Will CPS commit to only look at schools with 50% or less utilization? If they won't what is the real threshold?

  • I don't think it a "mess".

    First, CPS wants to legitimize the process as much as possible. Regardless of the specific language, going through this legislative process helps. School closings seems highly polarizing if you or a loved one is a CPS employee. But for most people, including almost all politicians, it's a highly complicated situation without a clear path forward.

    As far as the moratorium itself, it's seems designed to create clear winners and losers. The constant threat of closure makes most CTU members unemployed or potentially unemployed. Perhaps the board is smart enough to realize that you can't keep people under constant threat of losing their job.

    I'll also keep saying I don't think it's either practical or politically possible to close hundreds of schools. There are probably a couple dozen schools CPS would really like to close for a variety of reasons. Undoubtedly these will be mostly in depopulating black areas, but the decision won't be as simple as current utilization. Responsible consolidation must choose the best staffs and the best buildings.

    I hope that CPS can explain their student plan to highly affected neighborhoods. In Rahm's term they seem to believe that since they can't change the minds of the most unhappy, they will say little. What they sometimes fail to understand is that there are plenty of people listening beyond those who are yelling at them at public meetings.

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