CHICAGO'S BUDGET BIG LIE II: How Marilyn Stewart and the CTU staff, stall then fail to answer Substance budget questions while supporting Mayor Daley's position on the

Nearly one month after the Chicago Board of Education launched a successful attack on Chicago teachers and retired Chicago teachers in the form of Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman's claim that the school system was facing a 'deficit' of possibly $1 billion, Chicago Teachers Union President Marilyn Stewart cannot answer even the most basic questions about Huberman's claims in particular or the CTU budget in general.

Furthermore, Stewart has been supporting one of the biggest distortions in the current Chicago schools budget debate -- the focus exclusively on the problems with school funding from the State of Illinois -- while deliberately ignoring the three-year-long sabotage of local funding ordered by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and dutifully followed, against the interests of Chicago's public schools, by the two most recent "Chief Executive Officers" appointed by Daley, Arne Duncan and Ron Huberman.

Substance has tried for two weeks to give Stewart and the CTU leadership the opportunity to discuss the CPS budget -- and the current "deficit" claims -- in details and on the record. This article is being published because Stewart has refused to answer any questions about the budget, while publicly speaking (for example, on WTTW) in favor of the mayor's version of events, while ignoring all other realities.

Chicago Teachers Union President Marilyn Stewart spoke again at the March 24, 2010, meeting of the Chicago Board of Education (above), but never during the month after Ron Huberman began his claim of a billion dollar "deficit" did Stewart or her staff attempt to challenge the CPS budget numbers, which were flimsy to fraudulent. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Now in her sixth year in office, Stewart devoted most of the time between 2007 when she was elected to a second term and today purging the union's staff and consolidating her power. Meanwhile, no one on the CTU's $20 million staff can explain to the members of the union in particular or the public in general why Huberman's budget claims are inaccurate — or downright lies.

On March 17, 2010, Substance directed eleven questions about the CPS budget and Huberman's "deficit" claims to Marilyn Stewart. Over the next two weeks, CTU publicist Rosemarie Genova continued to tell Substance that the union staff was very busy and did not have the time to answer the questions.



To: Marilyn Stewart, President, Chicago Teachers Union (via Rose Maria Genova)

From: George N. Schmidt, Editor, Substance (and retiree delegate, CTU)

Re: Public interviews on questions regarding the latest "deficit" claims by Ron Huberman


Glad to read that Marilyn Stewart is speaking out against Huberman's Power Point and his latest "doomsday budget" (sounds like a rerun of CTA, doesn't it?). CTU leadership learned the hard way, as far back as when Bob Healey was President, that every statement on the Board's budget had to be massively footnoted. Thanks to our work here at Substance, and in conjunction with others, it's actually possible for our side to do that.

However, as you may know, I have been involved in study and publication about the CPS budget for more than 30 years, and in focused study for more than 22 years (since I was a paid part of the "Budget Transition Team" that rewrote the FY 1989 budget during the first full year of LSC based "school reform"). Lately, I've been meeting regularly (every two weeks for a year) to study the CPS budget, claims versus realities, beginning with the CAFR (first FY 2008; most recently FY 2009; also, utilizing Substance library all the way back to 1990 -- before Daley).

It is neither sufficient nor wise for people to speak about the CPS budget without some detailed study of (a) revenues (b) expenditures, and (c) history of budget claims ("deficit" versus audited reality).

As a result, from time to time I will be forwarding a number of questions to the CTU for Marilyn Stewart to answer, and then Substance will be publishing those answers, without editorial comment. Below is the first round of questions (note that it leaves out the pension cost lies that Huberman has been making for two full years).

I need an exclusive interview with Marilyn Stewart to enhance my budget fight back story.


1. Why didn't the Chicago Teachers Union testify about the proposed budget during the summers of 2007, 2008, and 2009?

2. Why didn't the Chicago Teachers Union's leaders question Mayor Daley's announcement (July 2008) that the Board of Education did not need additional revenues and therefore the Board would, for the first time since Daley took over the schools in 1995, not raise property taxes for the schools to the "cap"?

3. Why didn't the Chicago Teachers Union's leaders question Ron Huberman's announcement (August 2009) that the Board of Education did not need additional revenues and therefore the Board would, for the second time since Daley took over the schools in 1995, not raise property taxes for the schools to the "cap"? Instead, the Board only went 1/3 of the way to the cap.

4. Why hasn't the CTU leadership spoken out against the refusal of the Huberman and Daley administration's to achieve the maximum local revenue for Chicago's public schools?

5. What statements, public and otherwise, has the CTU leadership made regarding the more than $300 million annually that goes away from the public schools and into the TIFs? (And, why didn't CTU's leadership oppose the appointment of Mary Richardson Lowry, who oversaw the TIFs for Daley, as Board President?)

6. Why didn't the CTU leadership oppose the appointment of more than 100 new hires — most of them with no experience in education, but claiming that their "CTA" and "MBA" credentials qualified them — at CPS to executive salary positions between February and December 2009, following the appointment of Ron Huberman as CEO of CPS?

7. How much has the Board of Education wasted on outsourcing (non-union) "educational programs" like IDS and what does the CTU leadership propose be done with such programs now?

8. What position did the CTU leadership take when Ron Huberman redefined the position of "Area Instructional Officer" (AIO) to "Chief Area Officer" and allowed persons without any credentials or experience in classroom teaching (teachers) or building management (principals) to be hired into the newly created CAO positions?

9. What criticism did the CTU leadership make when the Board began hiring people with no training in education for the $60 million "culture of calm" jobs?

10. What is the analysis of CTU from the FY 2009 CAFR regarding the disparity in per pupil funding between regular CPS schools and charter schools; has CTU gathered the data on what outside funding the charter schools are getting from corporate and anti-union groups to add to their already significant funding advantage over the true CPS public schools? (FY 2009 CAFR pp. 203 - 217).

11. Anything you'd like to add.

George N. Schmidt, Editor, Substance


March 31, 2010 at 11:03 AM

By: kugler

Too Busy with Emails

these crooks were too busy sending emails to cps to sanction and censor their own union members rather that do the job of protecting union members by establishing a budget research committee.

I have to check with IFT and AFT to see if they are investigating the emails sent by the union since it is obvious the union was using union resources to send interstate communications (Internet) and wire communications (phone) for the purpose of retaliation and intimidation of its own union members in collusion with CPS administrators.

April 3, 2010 at 1:10 AM

By: steve

more of the same

great article on CPS budget in Chicago Reader

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