Comments on CPS Draft Guidelines for School Actions 2016-17 and CPS Draft 10 Year Master Facilities Plan Update
Submitted by jenniebiggs72 on Fri, 10/21/2016 - 9:55am
Remarks as prepared for the October 21, 2016 Chicago Educational Facilities Task Force (CEFTF) general meeting and school actions committee meeting, presented by Jennie Biggs on behalf of Raise Your Hand.
Comments on CPS Draft Guidelines for School Actions 2016-17
We applaud that you have added in that school actions can come at the request of “principals, parents, or community members.” We hope that there will be a robust process to ensure that the school community is heard, that their proposal is taken seriously, and that the proposal is vetted to be in the best interest of the entire school community as well as its surrounding neighborhood. Further, there should be a clear procedure for “principals, parents, or community members” to submit their proposals. How were principals, parents or community members supposed to know that “Public comments on the Draft Guidelines may be submitted on-line, via e-mail at email@example.com and web survey at cps.edu/guidelines” (III. Process for commenting on Draft Guidelines, p. 3)?
We are concerned that while the draft guidelines are supposed to “…be created with the involvement of local school councils, parents, educators, and community organizations…” (I. Preamble) we have yet to see any evidence of any kind of robust process to include local school councils, parents, educators, and community organizations.
Remarks from Deb Hass to CPS Board
CPS may have a new vision, but it has no plan.
The repercussions of CPS’s “no plan” for facilities are increasingly visible. The data I shared for receiving schools show that between 2013-14 -- the first year after the mass school closings -- and last year, receiving schools saw an enrollment decline of 8.1 percent compared to a 2.8 percent loss in other district-run schools.
Thousands of children faced the trauma of losing their school and then the trauma of student-based budgeting -- losing teachers, counselors, and other supports. Those children deserved sustainability. They deserved a stable, comprehensive education. What did they get instead? No plan.
CPS lost 11,000 students last year alone. Yet since the closings, it has opened almost as many charter and privately run contract schools as it closed, including one a few blocks from Kelly, a neighborhood high school whose community said loudly and clearly, it did NOT want you to dilute resources and risk creating two underutilized, under-resourced schools. What kind of plan creates a mess like this? No plan.Read more
Thank you to our volunteer parents who planned our wonderful forum and who prepared these excellent handouts and advocacy tools!
Thanks, too, to all of the parents, teachers, and principals who joined us tonight.
We will post a link to this page in our Special Education Toolkit for Parents which you can find here.
We were live tweeting as were a few others. See the Storify of the event here.
***In preparing for our November 16, 2017 Special Education in CPS Public Forum (more info on that here) we noticed that 2 links below are broken. You can find File D here and File E here. These documents as well as the ones below will be updated and distributed at our upcoming forum. We will post them on our website when they are ready.Read more
Yesterday we learned that the CTU set at strike date for October 11th. 95% of the 90% of members who voted authorized a strike. Now there will be an intensive 10-day period of bargaining between CPS and CTU. Our hope is that there will be a rapid and fair resolution before a strike takes effect.Read more
Another month, another unelected Board of Education meeting. Here's what we had to say.
Jennie Biggs, CPS Parent and RYH Board Member, spoke on behalf of RYH. Here is her statement:
Many LSC members are reporting tears at their meetings this week because they don’t know how their schools will run:
You cut $179M from district run schools this summer.Read more
We’re excited to announce that we’ve launched a sister org, RYH Action (501c4), which will be able to do advocacy without limitations, and work on legislation to protect our vital institutions of public education. RYH felt strongly that now more than ever we needed a separate organization to engage in the political process to protect our schools. Check out our website:
Hope everyone is enjoying the last few days of summer break. Lots of parents have been asking us if there is going to be a strike this fall. Nobody has a definitive answer to this right now. The process is that the teachers will vote for another strike authorization next week and if they choose to strike, there will be a ten-day window in which the CPS and CTU can work to resolve things. The timing is uncertain but we know that there won’t be a strike in the next few weeks due to this timeline. RYH hopes that the CPS and CTU can work to come up with a contract that is amenable to the teachers. The uncertainty makes things difficult for all of us, but we understand that conditions in the schools have become very tough with all of our schools being asked to do more with so much less. Teachers, students, and families face a very challenging learning situation. While CPS and CTU seek a resolution, Raise Your Hand will continue to fight for revenue at the state and city level so that all Chicago’s children have what they deserve to thrive.Read more
Budget hearings were sparsely attended this year, with the operating budget hearings held downtown during daytime hours instead of in the community in the evening, as done in past years.Read more
Access Living published their annual review of the CPS Budget analyzing the impact of the CPS Budget on special education and students with disabilities, and makes a series of recommendations.Read more
There are a number of CPS budget hearings this week with capital budget hearings at 3 schools Wednesday evening and operating budget hearings at CPS headquarters on Friday during the day. The operating budget hearings have been in the community after work hours in the past but this year, the Sun-Times reports that "CPS defended the Friday daytime budget hearings, saying that they accommodate the schedules and availability of board members “to ensure a robust community input ahead of the Board vote later this month.”Read more