This Week in Ed 7.21.18: Follow the money? CPS hearings on capital & operating budgets

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CPS holds 3 capital budget hearings simultaneously and a meeting about NTA

CPS held three capital budget hearings Thursday night at Truman, Kennedy-King and Malcolm X College, and they also held a hearing at the same time about boundary changes for the South Loop HS CPS plans to open in the NTA building. This obviously made it impossible for parents who wanted to attend both to do so.

RYH testified at all of the capital hearings and read this statement and also joined parents and community groups for a press conference outside Malcolm X to highlight the need for more equity and transparency in how they determine which schools get funded. We also joined the chorus of parents at the hearings who told CPS to fund basic existing needs before new construction. WBEZ recently reported that CPS has spent 60% of their capital funds since 2011 on new construction and new programs while there are $3B in existing needs.

Sun-Times: Gripes and gratitude greet Chicago Public Schools capital budget at hearing
Chalkbeat:  CPS $1 billion capital budget hearings: Questions, demands, and mixed feelings

Chalkbeat: Boundary lines of proposed South Loop high school drive wedge between communities
Sun-Times: CPS confirms NTA boundaries, criticized by overlooked areas


CPS operating budget hearings were held Monday

We attended both hearings and spoke at the earlier hearing on the CPS FY 2019 Operating Budget. We had a statement prepared early Monday morning, and then CPS announced a change to the budget: CPS will be hiring 160 social workers and 94 sped case managers. While we applaud this news, we know that CPS needs to move much quicker and provide many more social-emotional supports for Chicago’s students.

We adjusted our statement a little bit, but we stood by and gave our original message: The current ratio of students to social workers in CPS is 1:1200. Best practices and research show that the ratio should be 1:250 for students not living in poverty or with trauma. The morning press release is a good start, but CPS needs to make a much larger investment into student health and well being. You can read our statement here.

Many parents and teachers are contacting us asking how CPS decided which schools would get these new social workers and case managers. This was not explained at the budget hearing, nor did any BOE member ask for this information. We can not find an explanation on paper, just a list of schools.

Sun-Times: CPS to add social workers, case managers, but not enough for CTU
WTTW: CPS Pledging to Add 250 New Social Workers, Case Managers
Tribune: Citing ‘firmer’ budget and sex abuse scandal, CPS to hire 250 social workers, case managers

We discovered these other tidbits in the operating budget:

  • Charter schools now get $712,752,435 out of the budget. Expenditures were $669,938,535 last year.
  • The CPS Inspector General’s office has 21 positions in the budget for FY2019; 19 last year.
  • CPS has $7.4M in their Family and Community Engagement in Education Department (FACE2). (But did you know about those budget meetings this week?)
  • Networks getting an increase to $38,797,175 from $30,916,145 in expenditures for 2018.
  • The Communications Office has $1.9M in the budget. Spent $1.2M last year.
  • CPS has budgeted $15.2M for their Legal Department. Spent $12.5M last year. (Not surprising given the number of scandals.)
  • $5M more for the CPS Portfolio Office than what they spent last scl year. $13.7M in that office. (Why?)
  • CPS has $4.4M in "Innovation and Incubation." (How about they hire back the 400 librarians they cut or add some of the 840 social workers they need?)

Save the Date for our annual fundraiser!

RYH’s Annual Fundraiser

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

5:30 - 8:30 pm

In “the Basement” at Lagunitas Brewery, 2607 W 17th St


Our Elected School Board Bill marched in Hyde Park’s Independence Day parade!

You can read Raise Your Hand Action’s full recap here- complete with pictures and a link to a video! You should also check out this report from ABC 7 Chicago: Politics permeates Chicago area 4th of July parades.



South Side Weekly: Bridgeport Elementary Schoolers Map Their Neighborhood

Chalkbeat Chicago: How this Chicago special ed teacher is combating “compassion fatigue” and restoring the fun

Sun-Times: From Myanmar to Chicago- a teenage Rohingya Muslim refugee’s journey


In Other News

Block Club Chicago: Fed Up With Busted Playgrounds, Mom Starts Twitter Campaign To Put Pressure on CPS #CPSPlaygroundSoBroke

Sun-Times: 1 in 4 Chicago schools fails in new inspections spurred by dirty schools reports

New York Times: ‘Access to Literacy’ Is Not a Constitutional Right, Judge in Detroit Rules

Sun-Times: CPS kills $60M deal at the last minute over sexual harassment of janitors

WBEZ: Controversy Over Firing Of Popular Chicago Public Schools Principal

WBEZ: State Finds $20M More For Preschool; Dozens Of Programs Still Lose Out

UVA Today: New study finds low-income students do not benefit from private schooling

Inside Higher Ed:  The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative's Skewed Values

NPR: Empowering Kids In An Anxious World