FY12 Budget

Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Budget for Chicago Public Schools

FY12 Budget

Equal assessment for all.

Charge every parent $5-$10 month for school. Every property owner is charged regardless of having a child or not.

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FY12 Budget

New Central Office

Hi Mr. Brizard-

 

Welcome to CPS. Here is my idea for saving money:

 

 

 

Geographically, there is much more south side than north side in Chicago. So, looking at a map, the geographic center of Chicago is about 31st and Western. The CPS central office’s former location was, roughly, at 39th and Western----very centrally located. However, it was in a very old, partially run-down, warehouse-type building. It is widely recognized that the CPS central office was relocated downtown so that it would be closer to city hall and the political power of Chicago.

 

 

 

Whenever, I or my colleagues need to go out to schools and be at central office on the same day, we are reimbursed up to $25 for parking. This really adds up. Also, it is time consuming traveling in and out of the Loop several times per week. Since we are short staffed, we should not waste so much time dealing with traffic and Loop parking lots. When we need to meet with citywide staff members, we must scramble around looking for a space large enough to hold the group. In the past, we had the use of Medill, but now Medill is being converted into a charter school. Our current choices are Colman (dim, dingy, in disrepair, not reliable internet access), 1900 N. Austin (in disrepair, not always reliable internet access), TAMS (always booked), or Princeton (I have never been there, but I do not hear positive things).

 

 

 

My idea for saving money, over the long run, would be to find a location on the west side of Chicago (there are plenty of vacant land areas) and build a brand new central office for CPS. This could be a sleek, efficient, no-frills building resembling a large new warehouse to reflect the austere times in which it is being built. It could be one of those steel constructions that are always advertised. It could be constructed so that all of our departments would be in one location. All of the offices, cubicles, conference rooms, large meeting rooms and even the board chambers could be located in a brand new, efficient compound. The warehouse could be part of the complex (maybe a separate building) so that we could get rid of the current location off of 47th Street (appears to be in disrepair) and whatever other warehouses CPS has. CPS could purchase a segway for you, Mr. Brizard, to travel between departments.

 

 

 

I think that, over time, this would save money because CPS would not have to maintain all of these old buildings. Managers would be more accessible to schools and, therefore, more likely to be out at schools supporting teachers and principals. I am not sure about the operating cost of the central office, but I am sure it is more expensive in the Loop than it would be in a new construction on the west side. An added bonus would be the economic advantages that a CPS central office located on the west side would bring to its surrounding neighborhood. Pretty soon there would be Subways, McDonalds, Corner Bakeries, and Potbellies springing up in an area that needs more jobs and economic growth.

 

 

 

I know that initially, this would cost millions that CPS does not have, but, over time, CPS may recoup the initial cost in added efficiencies.

 

 

 

Thanks,

 

Diane

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FY12 Budget

Budget hearings & face time

Next year, the Chicago Public Schools should hold the first of its scheduled series of budget hearings on the South or West Side. In general, the press fails to provide meaningful (if any) coverage of budget hearings held after the initial one which has always been held on the North Side. This serves to perpetuate the notion that the powers that be are less interested in the issues and opinions of folks who don’t live in the northern part of the city.

 

Concerns about access to TIF dollars, budget opacity, and lack of ongoing opportunities for public involvement in budget discussions were expressed across communities. Concern about whether the proposed budget supports successful school completion for all of our young people and redresses inadequacies and inequities in access to educational resources (educator quality/quantity, quality curriculum, computer technology, after-school programs, mentoring, non-punitive discipline, facilities, and etc) was loudest at the hearing on the South Side.

 

Face time

Mr. Brizard told his July 28, faculty town hall meeting audience, "you have got to understand that we exist to serve the public" and "if a parent is in your face, yelling at you, that's parent engagement." He said that when it's about his own children, he wants to be able to speak directly to those most responsible without having his words filtered through somebody else. Mr. Brizard should model the behavior he's asking of frontline educators. In the future, CEO Brizard, along with his cabinet, should attend all of the budget hearings and hear directly from the very “public” he said he was hired to serve.

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FY12 Budget

Solving the budget deficit

Instead of laying off so many of our teachers, which are the brick and mortar of the school board, maybe we should focus on eliminating redundant positions at the central office. If someone sat down and performed an analysis for each department (specifically the two department I worked in) they would realized that there are several employees whose jobs are either unnecessary, redundant, or not a function of high productivity and fiscal prosperity.

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FY12 Budget

Promote Energy Efficiency

Encourage schools to turn off lights and computers, scale back on heating, and generally run their buildings more efficiently. At home, when we're "tightening our belts" we make sure we don't leave lights on or windows open in winter. Why not do the same in schools? I think it could really add up!

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FY12 Budget

Charge a Fee for at Home Video Access to Board Meetings

CPS could charge a fee to view CPS Board Meeting from Home and also charge a fee for listiening to the audio live by call thru your home telephone. The fee could be automatically charged to your phone bill.

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FY12 Budget

Reduce Infrastructure & Operating Costs by $5,000 per student

With declining enrollment over the past decade, the infrastructure issue must be addressed immediately and dramatically. This budget calls for a cost per student of $20,570, of which only $7,690 is instructional cost. The rest is infrastructure and overhead. This budget needs to target a reduction in operating costs of at least $5,000 per student and get to work on realizing this savings. By the way, this cost compares with tuition at the British School of $23,350 (grades 1 - 6) and the Catholic School average of $3,500 (where graduation rates are 96%).

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FY12 Budget

CPS Put Our Money Where Your Mouth Is!

Great strides were made with the revision of the 2011-2012 SCC, specifically with the expansion on Restorative Justice (RJ) and the focus on the Response to Intervention (RTI) strategy. Also reflected in the new SCC is the expectation that “suspensions should be the last resort” for school administrators, teachers, and staff. Preventative and proactive programs that promise to ensure students’ achievement by changing schools’ climates appear to be CPS’s priority for the upcoming year. Priorities are in order for CPS (or at least it appears that way on paper).

 

It makes sense to demand administrators and teachers create nurturing environments and keep kids there by not suspending them. Suspending kids results in loss of class time, and a decrease in their grades. Suspension is so common that children rarely fear at home suspension, but rather enjoy a vacation from school to be out in the streets, play video games, and be on facebook. Suspensions, punishments, and expulsions do not teach children what they have done wrong, nor does it condition them not to do it again because statistics show that kids continue to get suspended at high rates. Last year 1 out 10 kids got suspended!

 

However, if preventative and proactive programs are a priority for CPS, why isn’t RTI a line item in the budget? Why is CPS cutting $87 million to supplemental programs which include Restorative Justice programs that truly build safe school cultures and avoid suspensions and expulsions, while CPS is spending an extra $7 million in security cameras? If administrators, teachers and staff are expected to produce a different result in the schools, why are they not being given the appropriate tools and resources to do so?

 

CPS has a duty to provide principals, teachers and staff other alternatives to punitive punishments they encourage against. More importantly CPS has a duty to our children to provide them a quality education. The High H.O.P.E.S. (Healing Over Punishment, Expulsion, and Suspensions) Campaign estimates that CPS can get a Restorative Justice program in every CPS school for $42 million, only 1% of the entire CPS budget. Let’s invest in our children and fund and implement RJ and other proven strategies.

 

If we expect different results we need to change the way things have been done in the past. What will set aside this CPS administration from those who came before it other than rhetoric and semantics? CPS’s suspension and drop-out rates are embarrassing. But nothing is seriously being done about it. We continue to invest in CPD and zero tolerance measures that have not worked.

 

Also, rethink the message that is being sent by prioritizing police officers in the schools and replacing old security cameras. The message sent is that we KNOW our kids will do bad things, but not to worry because WHEN they do CPS will catch them, suspend and most likely arrest them. If the budget remains as is, CPS will deny students of a quality education and might just give them the gift of a criminal record. How far in life can we expect our youth to get with this kind of support? Security is important, but CPS should not prioritize reactive strategies above proactive and preventative ones such as RJ and other proven strategies that will change the culture and climate of schools, not weed out the “bad kids”. Last year more kids dropped out than graduated. Our kids, our future, cannot afford for CPS to give up on them.

 

Janet Vargas

Enlace Chicago

Youth Organizer

Member of The High H.O.P.E.S. (Healing Over Punishment, Expulsions and Suspension) Campaign

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FY12 Budget

TIF Reform

I notice that that in a city of 2.7 million people, only 16 people have offered ideas here. Perhaps that's because they believe this forum is simply a way CPS can claim to value citizen input without actually taking any of the suggestions seriously. The most popular ideas here have to do with giving TIF funds back to the schools. This was also a recurring theme that citizens brought up in the recent budget meetings. My idea is for you to actually take citizen input seriously. If we see no TIF reform, we will know that those who see these forums and meetings as a waste of time are right, and that CPS and the City of Chicago are still more dedicated to their wealthiest citizens than to the children and other citizens they purport to serve.

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FY12 Budget

Increase CPS Spending on RTI & Restorative Justice Programming

Chicago Public School is following the path of other large urban school districts with the introduction of a new Response To Intervention (RTI) Program. The program is designed to create a learning environment and classroom culture that optimizes the potential for student achievement.

 

As a strategy RTI recognizes that academic, behavioral, social and emotional not only enhance achievement, but 1) decrease office discipline referrals, 2) decrease number of suspensions, 3) decrease lost instruction time, 4) increase administrative time to focus on instruction and 5) increase student and staff engagement.

 

When fully funded and implemented RTI along with other strategies including Restorative Justice can work together to effectively reduce the more than 43,000 students suspensions and 600 student expulsions in Chicago Public Schools during the 2009 -2010 school year.

 

While this budget addresses security spending in Chicago Public Schools for the upcoming fiscal year, by identifying $72 million with an additional $7 million to be spent on security cameras alone, it does not clearly state how RTI and other similar much needed violence prevention strategies designed 'to "Educate, Inspire and Transform" our students and the lives of the communities they live in are to be funded. As an example, it is estimated that if Restorative Justice was implemented in each Chicago Public School it would cost approximately $42 million per year. THIS IS LESS THAN 1% OF THE PROPOSED BUDGET.

 

The High HOPES (Healing Over the Punishment of Expulsions and Suspensions) Campaign city-wide coalition whose constituents include faith/ community-based, parent and student advocacy organizations is requesting that this budget increase spending on RTI, Restorative Justice and other proven strategies that promote student learning and community engagement by coordinating and advancing a system of prevention and interventions. It is also being requested that this budget increase spending on the systems to measure the effectiveness of such strategies.

 

Reverend Robert E.Biekman

Pastor Southlawn United Methodist Church

Leader with Communtiy Renewal Society

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FY12 Budget

Less security, more support!

I work in a high school of 1600 students which employs 23 security guards. With the budget proposal as it stands, maybe we will have 24 for 2012.

Our students would be suspended less, drop out less, and learn significantly more about handling conflict with grace by shifting the budget for security to a budget for Restorative Justice. Security guards and disciplinarians don't need to lose their jobs -- just retrain them to implement positive behavior interventions!

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FY12 Budget

Stop giving our public funds to private charter schools!

We taxpayers have paid for all these schools, equipment, books, etc. They belong to us (government represents us.) I do not want our schools handed over to private corporations or groups. I want our schools to be run by us (government). And I want teachers to be maintained as public employees represented by unions.

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