, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

CPS budget cuts are another attack on schools, but communities are fighting back.

August 4, 2013 Leave a Comment

Chicago Public School leaders got an earful Thursday night at a public hearing about next years budget.

Chicago Public School leaders got an earful Thursday night at a public hearing about next year's budget. - Photo via ABC Chicago 

The Chicago Sun Times covered the budget hearing in Englewood where TSJ member Byron Sigcho called out CPS for de-humanizing students and doing absurd things such as shifting art and physical education to online classes: 

“When you yourself refer to our children as seats, it’s hard to believe that you think of our children more than seats and of our communities more than spreadsheets,” he said. Sigcho, a grad student at University of Illinois at Chicago, continued to vent. "You’re really proposing that our children take P.E. and art classes online? To me that’s a joke. That’s not investing in our youth. . . . Why does CPS keep funding corrupt charter networks?” he said, referring to the UNO Charter Schools." 

WBEZ reports that "A top school official at the North Side hearing said at the start of the meeting he didn’t just want to hear complaints about cuts. He wanted solutions for closing the district’s $643 million gap between revenue and expenses."

“Tell us the things you think we’re spending money on, that you think we ought to cut,” said Chief Administrative Officer Tim Cawley. “You can’t just say, ‘Give us more.’  Tell us what you think we should cut.”Speakers were happy to comply.“Ask the 20 charter schools that are opening after 50 public schools have closed—ask them to do more with less,” said Dan Phelan, who worked as a teacher in the writing center at Schurz High School until he was laid off last month."
According to this Chicago Tribune Article, CPS claims that they are "only" cutting $68 million from classrooms, but other estimates are much higher - closer to $162 million causing massive cuts to art, music, physical education, libraries and core teaching positions. 

Parents at the budget hearing at Truman College on the city's north side "railed at CPS": "I'm angry that the mayor sold the idea of a longer school day and only funded it for a year," said Janet Meegan, a parent at Mitchell Elementary in the West Town neighborhood...Meegan said her school has lost a specialized reading teacher [one of the 500 positions Rahm promised as part of the longer day] and a librarian. Parents, she said, will be pitching in with increased student fees to help pay for art and music programs. This was not what we were promised," Meegan said at a hearing at Truman College in Uptown attended by about 200 people.

Progress Illinois reports that at the north side hearing CPS Chief Administrative Officer Tim Cawley (who lives in a north-shore suburb on a waiver of CPS's residency policy) "...really struck a nerve while discussing various investments the district is making for next year, including a $7.7 million expansion of its Safe Passage program. The program is being ramped up with 600 additional Safe Passage workers to cover routes for the 51 welcoming schools.

“You probably don’t have to worry about Safe Passage up in these neighborhoods,” Cawley said, which caused an uproar.
“How would you know,” one person at the meeting asked Cawley. Others said: “How insulting!” “How dare you?” “Oh my God!” and “Where are you from?”
“My son was shot and murdered near here. Don’t even go there,” said local resident Carol Keating-Johnson. “You don’t know what’s going on in these communities.” 
Via Bob Simpson "Action Now led a walkout of the Chicago Public Schools budget hearings at Malcolm X College tonight (Friday Aug. 2). Decrying the undemocratic CPS public hearings that have so far not been attended by Barbara Byrd Bennett or Mayor Emanuel, they led about 2/3 of the audience out of the auditorium." - This walkout was not covered by any media outlets. 


Leave your response!