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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.
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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