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.