Edgebrook Elementary LSC Letter to BBB-and Mayor on Rejecting the draft Budget

We are sharing a letter from the Edgebrook Elementary LSC to Mayor Emanuel and CEO Byrd-Bennett explaining why they rejected the draft budget they were given. Thanks to the Edgebrook LSC for sharing this letter with us and making it available to our parent network. 

                                      LOCAL SCHOOL COUNCIL
                                          6525 N. HIAWATHA AVE.
                                             CHICAGO, IL 60646

June 23, 2013


Dear Mayor Emanuel and CPS CEO Byrd-Bennett:

      I am writing on behalf of the Local School Council of Edgebrook Elementary.  We wanted to let you know that as a group, we unanimously rejected the budget that was presented to the LSC by CPS (Principal Jan Kepka abstained). Edgebrook is the top
neighborhood school in the city and has long figured out ways to survive on a “skin and bones” budget. However, with the new per pupil allocation for budgets, which includes not only reduced funding but transfer of an increased burden on the individual school to
pay for basic supplies and necessities such as textbooks, we are at the point that we cannot fulfill the contract obligations that were entered last fall with the teachers. 

        The LSC voted to reject the budget as presented, while authorizing Mrs. Kepka to do what is necessary to maintain compliance, and giving her the discretion to do what is necessary. The LSC has determined that it cannot stand by and accept what is a financial system doomed to cheat the intended beneficiaries of the school system, the students.

The effects of the system-wide cuts on Edgebrook are severe, and include the following:

• Loss of a teaching position;
• No money for the basic necessities of supplies for schools;
• Two special education aides have been cut;
• No money to purchase additional necessary computers, with the standardized testing being all computerized next year;
• No money for textbooks; and
• No money for professional development, despite the increasing mandates put on teachers.

    These budget cuts will challenge the ability of Edgebrook to continue to be able to provide to its students the excellent education that is guaranteed to them by the Illinois State Constitution. We will figure out a way, we are sure, to address the deficits, but the
parents and community are tapped out and we cannot keep asking them to dig deeper to fund an education that is designed to be free to their children. 

      The current budget is not acceptable and is not in line with the five year plan and vision that you recently set out for LSC chairs. We ask that the city find the means and figure out a funding system that is equitable and fair to all of the students in the system and that provides adequate funding to ensure that our children are well developed, well rounded and college ready -each and every one of them. 

       Furthermore, the continued budget shortfalls that CPS imposes on its schools not only threatens the stability of the public school system in Chicago, but we are starting to see a growing exodus to the suburbs to address the educational gaps that are being created by the constant budget cuts. This is not a good long-term strategy for maintaining a thriving, well populated city, to not provide for the youngest and most precious  constituents. We demand that CPS cover the shortfall facing Edgebrook and other schools. Nothing else is acceptable.

Sincerely yours,
/s. Daniel A. Cotter/
Daniel A. Cotter
Chair, Edgebrook LSC

Cc: Alderman Mary O’Connor (ward41@cityofchicago.org)
Senator Ira Silverstein (2951 West Devon Chicago, IL 60659)
Representative John D’Amico (johnd@ilga.gov)
Alderman John Arena (ward45@cityofchicag.org)
Alderman Margaret Laurino (ward39@cityofchicago.org)
Anna Alvarado, O’Hare Network Chief of Schools (amalvarado@cps.edu)
Edgebrook Elementary School LSC Members