The parent group Raise Your Hand took a closer look at a group of roughly 50 schools that were designated to accept students from schools that closed in 2013. They found even steeper enrollment loss than the rest of the district.
“Receiving school enrollment dropped by 8.1 percent, while other elementary schools dropped by 2.8 percent,” said Jennie Biggs, a mother who belongs to Raise Your Hand.
Biggs spoke at a meeting of the Chicago Educational Facilities Task Force Friday. She said she doesn’t know exactly why the designated receiving schools lost so many students.
"We feel like teachers should be given a fair contract. We know, a parents, that a teacher's teaching conditions are our children's learning conditions, and a parents we also know how much budgets have been cut, and it's really rough in our schools right now," said Jennie Biggs of Raise Your Hand.
"The McClellan community really rallied when the school was on the initial school closings list," said Jennie Biggs, a Bridgeport parent and board member of education-advocacy organization Raise Your Hand.
Student fees began rising in 2013 when CPS moved to a budgeting system that earmarks money for schools based on the number of students, rather than the number of teaching positions, according to a survey by parent-advocacy group Raise Your Hand.
Schools' growing reliance on fees has widened the gap between schools in wealthier areas, like the Far Northwest Side, and lower-income areas of the city, according to the group, which advocates for additional funding from both the state and city for Chicago schools.
Among the changes in this year’s budget: Funds for general and special education classes are now commingled into a single allocation, which some teachers say puts those programs at odds with each other when it comes to resources, funding and scheduling.
“This creates a lose-lose situation for principals who have to meet the needs of students with special needs by taking resources from the larger gen ed population,” said Mary Hughes, who serves on the board of directors for Raise Your Hand Illinois, during the early session Friday morning.
Raise Your Hand takes hundreds of hours a month to research issues, plan events, launch campaigns and conduct grassroots organizing around public education. With your support, we can advocate for a parent voice in public school policy and equitable and sustainable school funding. Your generous, tax-deductible contribution is needed to improve education for all children in Chicago and the state of Illinois.