The Weekly Ed Update- 9.15.17: CPS claims balanced budget but lacks details

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CPS claims balanced budget but lacks details

As we’ve mentioned, even with the state funding bill, CPS is still short millions of dollars to pay their bills this year. The new legislation allows CPS to levy an additional $125 million in property tax, and CPS is assuming $80 million in security costs to be picked up in the City’s budget based on promises from Mayor Emanuel, but that still leaves millions unaccounted for. CPS is claiming they’ve got a balanced budget and that the remaining gap would be filled by restructuring debt and “management reforms”, but so far have provided little information on what that entails.

On top of that, CPS told aldermen they’ll need to add $80 million more for charter schools as a result of a provision in the new funding bill. CPS hasn’t provided detail on how those dollars will be paid, but it seems likely they’ll be found at the expense of district schools. Aldermen tried to get their questions answered at a closed-door briefing this week at city hall, and it sounds like CPS was short on details.

In addition, CEO Claypool apparently told Alderman Garza that he didn’t believe her when she told him a classroom in her ward had 41 students in it. Cuts have happened across the district this year, for the fourth year in a row, and school budget information is on the website. It’s frustrating to see such denial about the impact of cuts.

Sun-TimesCity Hall to cover CPS security costs

Sun-TimesAldermen fail to get straight answers at CPS finance briefing

It is important that we push for progressive revenue at the local level to ensure that CPS does not engage in more costly borrowing or further cuts to our schools.

New study on Illinois funding

WBEZ shared a new study from community development organization IFF this week showing that 60% of IL school districts are underfunded with the reminder that the new school funding bill only provides $350 million of the $6 billion needed to adequately fund IL schools. ISBE found as part of the school funding bill work that 82% of IL schools are underfunded, even more than IFF reported. Either way, we know that we need yearly increases in education funding to make progress towards actually providing all schools with adequate resources.

WBEZ: New School Law Only ‘Down Payment’ Toward Closing Funding Gap

‘Backpack Full of Cash’ screening

RYH is excited to host a screening of this new documentary about the privatization of public education narrated by Matt Damon on Saturday Sept. 30th 9:30am at the Lake Theater Oak Park. You can buy your tickets here.

This movie got a lot of attention this week from the Boston press, perhaps because the narrator, Matt Damon, showed up to the screening.  

NBC Boston: 'Backpack Full of Cash' Explores Real Costs of Privatizing America's Public Schools

Boston GlobeMatt Damon, at documentary screening, raps the privatization of education

The ProgressiveAn Interview with "Backpack Full of Cash" Filmmakers Sarah Mondale and Vera Aronow

New structure at RYH

RYH is happy to announce that as of September 1st we have a new staffing model. We think this collaborative leadership model is a great match for our grassroots work to strengthen public education and to help parents become advocates for their children. Instead of having Joy Clendenning and Jennie Biggs as co-interim directors as previously announced, Joy has been hired as the Managing Director of the organization and Jennie will be the Communications Director. Wendy Katten will stay on staff as Strategy Director. Wendy will continue as co-director of RYH Action with Cassie Creswell. We look forward to continuing our work to strengthen public education for all children.

In Other News

New York TimesAfter More Than 20 Years, Newark to Regain Control of Its Schools

New York TimesWho Benefits From the Expansion of A.P. Classes?

WBEZ: Teachers At Chicago's Largest Charter School Network Renew Push To Unionize

State Journal-RegisterCentral Illinois private schools cautiously optimistic on tax credit plan

Sun-TimesRauner’s education czar Purvis latest ‘superstar’ to seek new orbit

Sun-Times/Better Government Association: One lapse after another at CPS school where boy with autism drowned

Belleville News-DemocratIllinois schools must now provide free feminine hygiene products in bathrooms