This Week in Ed 3.9.18: Good News from CPS re: School Budgets

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CPS makes some positive changes re: school budgets


CPS announced they’ll send budgets to schools in April this year, and won’t make cuts in the fall based on enrollment, offering schools some desperately needed stability after years of chaos and uncertainty around budgeting. They’ll also be reverting to allocating special ed positions via central office, which is something we’ve been advocating for with parents, teachers and disability rights groups since the district began commingling funds. This is good news, but as we wrap up working on the ISBE special education investigation in which we talked with dozens of parents across the district, it’s clear that intense change needs to happen in the way special ed is being delivered at many schools.


In addition, while the changes will provide much needed relief to schools around the ability to plan for the fall, the SBB amount has not been announced and many schools will remain grossly understaffed until overall funding increases. Let’s acknowledge the positive and push for fair and equitable funding for a dignified school day for all students.  


Chicago Sun-TimesCPS to principals: No cuts to schools in fall even if enrollment drops

Chicago TonightCPS Revamping School Funding, Removing Early Year Cuts


PARCC testing: How is refusal going at your school?

The PARCC testing window opened in CPS on March 5th. Check our website for updated materials explaining what the future prospects of PARCC testing are in Illinois and how to refuse this year’s PARCC testing.


Some schools have sent out a letter from central office saying that schools with low participation on PARCC “could possibly lose funding.” This is incorrect, and in fact, under the new state plan created to comply with changes in federal law (ESSA), there’s a chance that the state may direct additional resources to schools with low participation. FairTest has good resources explaining this issue in-depth:


Schools should be respecting students’ right to refuse PARCC and allowing them to work on other classwork, read, draw, etc during the test. And, refusing students do not have to be sitting in the same room with testing students. If you have questions about refusal policies at your child’s school, email us or call 413-3OPTOUT.


Local School Council (LSC) News: Elections coming soon!

LSC Candidate paperwork due today at 3pm!

CPS extended the deadline for 2018 LSC candidates to submit their LSC paperwork to today, Friday, March 9, at 3pm to your school. Paperwork can be found at this CPS webpage. See Raise Your Hand Action’s LSC Candidate Timeline and Other LSC Info here. Please use this tool created by Josh Kalov to determine your LSC Voting District: Discover where you can run as a Community Rep and discover which LSC Elections you can vote in as a community member!

LSC Candidates’ Forums will be happening at all district run schools during the week of March 19 - 23. The date and time is scheduled by the existing LSC or the principal of the school. Schools should post the date and time publicly and at least 48 hours in advance of the Forum. Do call the school to find out the details if you can’t find them.

Citywide LSC Gun Control Letter

In response to recent events and in support of youth activism, some Local School Council (LSC) members in our LSC Connection Google group wrote this letter to Chicago's Congressional delegation demanding gun control laws and full funding for our schools. Things to note about this letter:

  • You don't have to be on a LSC to sign.
  • If you are on a LSC, you can take this letter to your next meeting and ask them to vote to adopt it as a resolution. There are many LSCs who have added this letter to their agenda for an upcoming meeting.
  • If you are not on a LSC, you can share this with your LSC to make sure they are aware of it.
  • LSCs are also welcome to take this letter & adapt it with their own wording and vote to adopt their adapted letter as a resolution. If that is done, please let us know so we can let LSC Connection know.
  • Individuals are also welcome to take this letter & adapt it with their own wording and send it to their US Congressperson. If that is done, please let us know so we can let LSC Connection know.

Here is the form you would use to sign on to the letter or to sign on as a LSC.


Better Funding, Stronger Schools

We were honored to be invited to present at Network 49’s forum: Better Funding, Stronger Schools on February 27! Ralph Martire, Executive Director of Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, spoke about IL’s new school funding formula. RYH’s Jennie Biggs spoke about the CPS budget and its impacts on schools over the past few years. Joanna Su, LSC Representative at Gale Elementary, discussed the real state and CPS budget impacts at a local school.

You can watch the video of the entire forum here compliments of CAN TV and you can view our slideshow here.


In other news

We are really sad to hear of the passing of Jenner Elementary principal Robert Croston. His legacy will live on through countless children and educators.

Chicago TribuneRevered principal Robert Croston fought to save a dying school. With success in reach, an illness claimed his life.

WBEZ: Dynamic Chicago Principal Blazed Trail on Integration


The State Journal-RegisterHouse approves school funding reform clean up

Chicago Tribune: Letter: Why is CPS closing a successful school?

Medium: To save Chicago Public Schools, we need a new Education Summit




⟹ Austin SPED Workshop

Saturday March 10th, 10:30am

Columbus Park, 500 S Central

Small workshop for parents to learn about their rights, get resources and information about IEP meetings, etc. Please register in advance so we bring enough materials for everyone: Register here.


⟹ National Public Schools Week

Monday March 12 - Friday March 16

Via an email from Network for Public Education we found out about the establishment of this week due to efforts from The School Superintendents Association. NPE shared a link to write a letter to your US Rep and Senators asking them to support National Public Schools Week. And here are some sample tweets you can send out next week.


⟹ Backpack Full of Cash Screening: Rogers Park

Monday April 9th, Doors & Pizza, 6:00pm, Screening starts at 6:30pm

Theatre 400, 6746 North Sheridan Road

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased herePlease purchase your ticket in advance, we expect to sell out. Theater 400's Concession Stand will be open.


⟹ LSC Elections

Wed April 18: CPS Elementary Schools

Th April 19: CPS High Schools

6am - 7pm

As a parent, you can vote at your child’s school. Any parent or resident of the school attendance area or voting district can vote. You do not have to be a citizen or registered voter to vote in a CPS LSC election. Voters need to bring 2 forms of ID. (1 form of ID if you are listed as a parent of a child at the school.)