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Hundreds of music, art, world language and core content teachers added to school rolls to enhance Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s program for a longer school day will likely be cut as a result of the new school-based budgeting model proposed by Chicago Public Schools (CPS). The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has found that schools from across the district are seeing cuts in the magnitude of 10 percent to 25 percent as the district continues its bad governance in adding to the chaos of the 2012-2013 school year amidst a record number of school closings and an ongoing state pension crisis.

While planning massive budget cuts, the district has failed to provide concrete plans for generating revenue—either by redirecting tax increment financing (TIF) surpluses back to public schools, ending tax loopholes or raising a new tax levy for pensions that would stabilize the CPS budget and allow the district to pay the full $600 million cost instead of pushing for another pension holiday. A fair tax structure and financial transaction tax would provide more than $6 billion in revenue for schools.

“There is a literal wealth of revenue that the district has ignored,” said CTU President Karen GJ Lewis. “CPS claims to act in the interest of the children, but by cutting budgets up to 25 percent in lieu of going after potentially billions of dollars, one has to ask just how much are they really doing?”

“Recently they announced a plan for a ‘quality, 21st century education’,” the nationally board certified educator continued. “Their 21st century plan looks more like a 19th century plan. They are leading our district and students in the wrong direction.”

At Kennedy High School, last year’s budget for the 2013 fiscal year was approximately $14.97 million. The FY2014 budget is $12.85 million, nearly a 13 percent overall decrease. The cuts will require an 80 percent dropped in the number of counselors—from five to one—and the elimination of the librarian position, a clerk position and a sizable loss of special education positions.

Schools that focus on special education may lose the most. At Blair Elementary, seven special education teachers, one general education teacher and close to eight paraprofessional positions will be slashed by a nearly 75 percent cut to their budget. At Northside Learning Center, a school that serves students with cognitive disabilities, eight special education instructors and 14 teacher aides will be lost.

In a district that is already under-resourced by 160 libraries, CPS is planning the elimination of countless librarians. In addition to Kennedy, the CTU has learned that Wacker Elementary School and Robeson, Alcott College Prep, South Shore, Hubbard and King College Prep high schools are all planning to eliminate librarian positions. At Nancy B. Jefferson Elementary School, the school has been unable to buy books or fulfill department orders for two years and will experience even more drastic supply and position cuts this coming school year.

“The district spent $37 million less on textbooks in 2012 than in 2009 and has asked teachers for more than $100 million in concessions in each of the last four years via moves like mass layoffs, rescinded raises, and pension relief,” said CTU Policy Researcher and Budget Committee member Kurt Hilgendorf. “The wave of mass school closures that tore apart school communities was justified as a money-saving action, while at the same time, unproven “reform” efforts like new testing systems and constant administrative reorganizations receive more funding.”

One of the CPS’s central arguments to justify school closings was the need to eliminate split-level classes where two elementary grades are merged into one classroom due to staffing shortages. The proposed budgets, however, will likely require a proliferation of split-level classes throughout the district.

One such school, Mitchell Elementary, has a budget shortage of approximately $780,000—7.8 positions—compared to last year. There is only one class per grade at Mitchell, and 7.8 positions   amounts to 1/3rd of the school’s faculty and staff, which will likely require split-level classes to function. A number of other elementary schools have reported to the CTU that their administrations are preparing for split-level classes and massive losses of special education personnel next year.

The CTU has also found that the following schools will see a large reduction in their budgets:

TEAM Englewood Community Academy High School— (-) $400,000
Steinmetz High School—(-) $700,000, which equals 10-12 teachers/paraprofessionals
Taft High School— (-) $3 million
Roosevelt High School— (-) $1.1 million
Eberhart Elementary—(-) $1.5 million
Foreman High School—(-) $1.7 million
Gage Park High School—(-) $1 million
Jamieson Elementary School—$200,000
Kenwood Academy High School—(-) $1.76 million
Lincoln Park High School—between (-) $900,000 and (-)$1 million
Mitchell Elementary School—(-) $788,000
Social Justice High School—(-) $800,000

In closing a record 50 campuses and cutting budgets at schools citywide, CPS continues to balance its budget at the expense of Chicago’s children in an approach that has created instability, uncertainty, and unsurprisingly, uneven educational outcomes.

“The district’s solution has been to aggressively cut resources that benefit students and spend scarce resources on unproven initiatives rather than identify and forcefully advocate for new revenue,” Lewis said. “This year’s budget portends more of the same.”

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    "Your conspiracy theories won't work without evidence." -Nasir Jones

    by Tristero 312 on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 12:15:50 PM PDT

  •  Guess we must have missed the memo. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    prishannah, tikkun, jbsoul

    All of the red state Gov. and this asshole are doing the same thing to the schools.    In MI, they take away the money and drive them into debt.   Then they declare them insolvent and mismanaged, assign an Emergency Manager, who dissolves and privatizes them.  

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House. Elizabeth Warren 2016

    by dkmich on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 12:23:46 PM PDT

  •  I think Rahm Emmanuel can kiss his career goodbye (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    prishannah, banjolele, tikkun, jbsoul

    Rahm is no longer a Democrat in my view and he's brought shame to Chicago with his arrogance.  The sooner we can get a Democrat to challenge Rahm for re-election, the better we're off.

    And also, Rahm is a dick.  What reason else to explain why he had such a tense relationship with Howard Dean when he was DNC Chair?

    •  Rahm Emanuel can kiss my ass (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snacksandpop, tikkun, jbsoul

      It took me ten minutes after reading this diary to stop yelling and crying and throwing things. I think I ruined my cats' dinner hour.

      I have no idea why this matters so much to me as I have no children and am not and have never been a teacher or had a job in any aspect of education.

      But I see my old high school mentioned with its rundown but cozy, comforting library. Cut the librarian? Sure, why not?

      I see on the list of schools taking the biggest hit the high school you could see out the back window of my late mother's apartment – and that you could probably just about see from the roof of the President's house.

      I guess I missed the memo that to be American means to be selfish and greedy and shortsighted and to not care about anyone but yourself. I cry for all those kids whose futures have been foreclosed, whose hopes and dreams are ashes already.

      It angers me even though I know it would have been different for me.  As much as my parents were passionate about public education, I know there is no way they would tolerate having us go to these demolished, defunded, deliberately destroyed institutions. We'd be at Lab School, and they'd be a little sad about that, but our education was too important to them. That's why my mother was president of my grade school PTA and then my high school PTA and then the Chicago region PTA and eventually the Illinois state PTA.

      My parents would be horrified by this, and my mother would surely be protesting at city hall. My sister tells people emphatically, "I did NOT vote for Rahm Emanuel!!!"

      The school my grandmother taught at for nearly 50 years, raising my mother as a single mom (her husband died when my mother was young), is on the closure list. Pfffft ... it doesn't matter anymore because the students are all poor and Hispanic. In other words, just so much garbage to the powers that be.

      I know we're not supposed to post violence and threats here, but aren't there times when you would just like to go to the 4th floor of City Hall and punch Rahm Emanuel in the face?

      Jon Husted is a dick.

      by anastasia p on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 02:42:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wall St Democrats didn't much care for Dean's (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tikkun, jbsoul

      efforts to make the Democratic party more democratic. And Rahmhole was pretty ticked off that Dean had so much success  with running left of center candidates instead of running with Rahm's pack of flea bitten blu dogs.

      I think it significant that Dean had 3 successful election cycles and Rahm and his conservadem crew blew an important census year midterm as soon as they ousted Dean.

      Rahmhole isn't the mayor of Chicago for the people of Chicago, he's the mayor of Chicago for Wall St. By the time Rahm finishes his one term, Chicago will have lost 125 years of taxpayer built public assets to bargain hunters from Goldman Sachs.

      •  Well Rahm is no longer welcome as a Democrat (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tikkun, Grabber by the Heel

        I think Daily Kos should make an announcement that Rahm Emmanuel should be defeated for re-election.  He needs to change his voter registration to Republican and be done with it.  He's no longer welcome in the Democratic Party.

        •  That is gonna be tough, since Rahm, the Clintons, (0+ / 0-)

          Rubin (lots of influence on Obama) and other Wall St/DLC/New Dems/conservadems, etc run the once great Democratic Party. I thought Dean had shook em loose, or at least won a place back in the leadership for middle class champions, but looks like not.

          Christ I read that Rahm was looking at a presidential run!! Hillary's VP pick after he plays debate punching bag for her?

          Look out everybody.

  •  Wasn't he a Chief Staff once? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tristero 312, tikkun

    And as far as his career goes, I'm sure Penny Pritzker can help him out.

  •  What kind of financial transaction tax? (0+ / 0-)

    Just for Illinois?

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 02:37:50 PM PDT

  •  I say the Public League should strike. (0+ / 0-)

    THAT will wake up some people.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 04:10:03 PM PDT

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