RYH Statement: CPS 2017-18 Budget Hearing, August 23, 2017

Thank you to Joy Clendenning for presenting our statement to the unelected Board of Education hearing on the CPS 2017-18 budget. This was presented at the 12:30pm hearing on Wednesday, August 23. Please note that the actual recorded statement may differ slightly from this version.

Good afternoon. Joy Clendenning, CPS parent of 2 current students and 2 graduates, speaking today for Raise Your Hand.

 

In spite of its reliance on over 500M in new dollars, which have yet to be secured, this budget continues the cuts to neighborhood schools and to art, music, and library services as well as other courses and supports across the district. Instead it focuses on continued privatization and high stakes standardized testing, replacing teachers with unproven, expensive technology, and treating public education as merely a means to create workers rather than citizens.

 

Privatized schools and services now account for $1.1B of the CPS budget and CPS still considers new charters while enrollment is declining across the district and is flat at charter schools. Meanwhile, CPS neighborhood high schools have taken the brunt of the cuts for the 4th year in a row and the district allows schools like Harlan, Fenger, Kelvyn Park, Foreman, Julian, and Kelly to lose over a million dollars, again. CPS has put many high schools on a slow starvation plan that’s leading to death, with no apparent sense of providing a well-rounded and supportive education to the the students in these buildings.

 

CPS has attacked the state for inequitable funding practices, yet has not put in place their own hold harmless protections for students at schools where budgets have not only been decimated, but targeted by CPS’ own portfolio initiative. The city may like to tout test scores, but we don’t hear them admitting that spending on librarians has decreased $9M over two years, and $7M on full time music and arts positions, and that special ed appeals have only been granted to majority white schools.

 

Raise Your Hand calls on all of you (the BOE) to:

  • Call publicly for the mayor and the city to do their part by passing TIF surplus and Corporate Head Tax ordinances -- because no matter what happens in Springfield -- CPS will still be short the funding needed to provide a high-quality education to every student and we need our city to #FreeTheFunds

  • Commit to a hold harmless for neighborhood schools to eliminate the vicious spiral caused by Student Based Budegting and reduced enrollment.

  • Cut money for FACE, the Office of Network Support, Innovation & Incubation, and Assessment and instead put this money into neighborhood schools hit hardest

 

Last week we spoke to the press and said: “Our Governor has been trying to divide and conquer public school supporters in Chicago from those downstate with his anti-Chicago rhetoric. What better way to disarm that divisive vitriol than by stepping up and showing that the Chicago Board of Education is doing everything it can to:

(1) fulfill its fiduciary duties within CPS and

(2) advocate fiercely for sustainable revenue from the City of Chicago.

 

We call on you to not approve this budget but to pause and work on getting resources from our city as well as go through the budget and take out the rhetoric and rework it to get the support that our students deserve.



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