The [Friday] Papers
"The Chicago Teachers Union charged Thursday that school budgets for the coming school year are down between 10 percent and 25 percent compared to this year, and that new positions provided as part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's signature longer school day initiative will likely be the first to be cut," Catalyst reports.
That's okay. Rahm just wanted to issue the press release, make the announcement and get the headlines. Now it's time to move forward, not look back.
Rahm reminds me sometimes of the dudes in Swingers - particularly this scene:
WAITRESS: There you two are. I walked around for an hour with that stupid martini on my tray.
MIKE: Sorry. We got knocked out pretty quickly.
CHRISTY: A couple of high rollers like you?
MIKE: Could you believe it?
CHRISTY: Wait here, I'll get you that martini.
MIKE: Nah, I didn't really want it anyway. I just wanted to order it.
Back to Catalyst:
"In a statement, CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said the union's allegations are disappointing and not accurate.
"'CPS has cut more than $600 million from the central office, so we can preserve every precious dollar in the classroom for our children,' she said in the statement. 'It is my hope that as we finish this school year and prepare to begin another that the CTU will work with us and can contribute to real solutions to the financial crisis facing our schools. Our students deserve no less.'
"Most of the $600 million in cuts in central office predated the Rahm Emanuel administration and, in fact, the amount spent on central office staff increased this year."
In other words, she's lying again.
Funny how every statement coming out of CPS seems to be followed by a corrective that begins "In fact . . . "
"CPS spokeswoman Kelley Quinn said the school-level budgets are preliminary and the district doesn't want to share any specifics until budgets are final. Yet, technically the budgets won't be final until the board approves the entire district budget in late August. Well before then, CPS must publish budget information and hold hearings."
"Quinn downplayed the decreases. 'Every year there are increases and decreases in school budgets due to things like enrollment, number of students that are under the poverty line, etc.,' she said in an e-mail.
"But principals say they were told at meetings led by top officials that their budgets are shrinking due to the district's $600 million pension bill, which is driving a projected $1 billion budget deficit."
Well, who are you going to believe, a CPS spokesperson or actual principals receiving marching orders?
"Plus, changes in enrollment or the number of poor students would not cause drastic shifts in school budgets. In fact, one North Side principal said that he is projected to get 40 more students, yet his budget did not increase at all."
CPS officials should no longer be allowed to speak without being strapped to a polygraph.
"Public schools across Chicago are seeing budget cuts that could force layoffs, increased class sizes and more reductions to specialty programs, like art and music," WBEZ reports.
"'We lost $468,000 in funding and we are slated to lose about four positions and this would mean split classrooms and for the first time, possibly, overcrowding,' said Nellie Cotton, an LSC member and parent of two students at Grimes-Fleming Elementary on the city's Southwest Side.
"Grimes-Fleming is not the only school seeing cuts. A teacher at Roosevelt High School confirmed a $1.1 million decrease in the school's budget, Lincoln Park High School reported a drop of about $1 million and Goethe Elementary is slated for about $265,000 less. Teachers at Von Steuben High School said they weren't sure exactly how much their budget decreased, but had been told they may no longer have a librarian, a writing center or an administrator to deal with discipline issues."
Byrd-Bennett must be disappointed that parents, teachers, principals and the media continue to propagate such obvious falsehoods. Is she the only one who cares about the children enough to see that five minus three equals eight?
"Last week, CPS officials announced how much schools would get per student, which turned out to be less than what pilot and charter schools were getting this year."
There's so many shells in this game I can't help but wonder who has the shell contract.
CPS says a new funding formula will give principals "unprecedented control" over their budgets, but what the new formula really appears to do is to transfer blame down the line for decisions made up the line. Hey, it's your budget! You designed it! We just sent you the money.
It's like slashing a newsroom budget in half and then telling an editor they can spend their remaining lot any way they want; if they lay off reporters, well, that's their choice, not management's!
CPS flak-in-chief Becky Carroll told WBEZ "definitively" that budgets would go up at buildings receiving kids from schools that are being closed, as promised. Which means iPads and learning gardens for some, overflowing classrooms and no more art teachers at others.
"Joann Krueger, a parent and Local School Council member at Kennedy High School, was aware of a 14 percent cut from nearly $15 million at the Garfield Ridge high school serving nearly 1,450 students, to about $12.85 million - but wouldn't find out until a meeting Tuesday how the details would play out," the Sun-Times reports.
"'We were just told about the reduction, and he's sick about it,' Krueger said of the school's principal. 'I know he was extremely upset about it, especially nowadays, so close to the end of he school year to get that budget that's usually passed by the end of May.'"
"As Chicago Public Schools across the city are learning the grim details of their budget situation for next year, parent groups and education advocates are launching an effort to try to get the city to divert more money to the school system," DNAinfo Chicago reports.
"Nearly 50 parents and education advocates gathered Wednesday night at Hamlin Park for a meeting organized by Raise Your Hand and led by that group's executive director Wendy Katten.
They started with a roll call of school-by-school budget losses: Mitchell Elementary, down $780,000; Alcott School, down $700,000; Pritzker, down $186,000; Goethe, down $275,000; Beasley, down $550,000; Roosevelt High School, down $1 million; Gage Park High School, down $1 million.
"'Our schools just got slammed,' Katten said of CPS' decision to shutter 50 schools. 'No, our schools can't function with less teachers.'"
Raise Your Hand has been collected - and distributing - reports coming in from schools all over the city on its Twitter feed.
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Posted on June 14, 2013
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