EDITORIAL: Huberman to Springfield to talk (with whom?) about Illinois school funding cuts

A press release issued by the Chicago Public Schools on April 21, 2010, indicates that CPS Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman will be going to Springfield, the Illinois state Capitol, on April 22 to lobby for more funding for the schools. One of the indications about how little CPS now cares about its press work is the fact that the press release below doesn't even include the name of a person to contact. Although Monique Bond is CPS Chief Officer of Communications, she refuses to answer phone calls, avoids e-mail message from Substance or most reporters who ask critical questions, and mainly serves as a public relations person for Ron Huberman personally. For more than eight months, on a variety of issues, Bond and Huberman have refused to answer questions from this reporter. Among those issues have been Huberman's so-called "Performance Management" system (which is actually an off-the-shelf Rube Goldberg program which enables CPS to simply plug in an infinite number of usually irrelevant variables and then spit out a "rating" for a school) and the billion dollar "deficit" claims (where Huberman has refused to answer detailed Substance questions since January 19, when I personally asked Monique Bond to arrange the interview. Gradually, it becomes clear at Substance that Huberman cannot answer specific detailed questions about his policies, and therefore only responds to those in the media who repeat his lies, evasions, and half truths.

The text of the April 21, 2010 CPS press release follows:

For more information contact: CPS Office of Communications. Phone: 773-553-1620. Fax: 773-553-1622. Website: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 21, 2010. Officials Prepare to Take Message for School Funding to State Capitol

The top administrators from Illinois’ two largest school districts emerged from a meeting today with a message for Springfield that the state’s financial crisis must not be balanced on the backs of schoolchildren.

Following a meeting in Elgin with School District U-46 Superintendent José Torres, Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman said he will join with other top education leaders from around state tomorrow to press efforts around these major points:

 The cuts to education funding must end.

 State funding to public schools must at least be restored to the level of fiscal 2010. The governor’s proposed budget cuts that funding by $1.3 billion.

Huberman and Torres today discussed plans for a final push around these points. The meeting was a follow-up to dialogue which was started by a number of top school administrators from around the state at Morgan Park High School in Chicago earlier this month.

Tomorrow, Huberman will join with representatives of the Illinois Association of School Administrators, the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Education Association in stressing that a solution must be found to the funding crisis facing school districts throughout the state.

“This is not a Chicago issue or a suburban issue or a downstate issue, but an Illinois issue,” Huberman said. “The situation education in Illinois faces is dire, and the pain will be shared by school districts and students everywhere.”

By traveling to Springfield and standing with fellow school administrators and union leaders, Huberman said, the message should be clear: “All of us – administrators, school management, labor – are committed to working together to convince our state leaders that we need a solution now.”

Huberman pointed out school districts throughout the state have begun the process of identifying staff and programs that might have to be eliminated unless the funding crisis is solved. CPS faces an FY 2011 deficit of approximately $600 million. The District has already eliminated hundreds of Central Office and citywide positions during the current fiscal year as it managed its way through a half-billion deficit.

Huberman has warned that should the funding crisis remain unresolved, future cuts will impact school-based programs and staffs, which were largely spared from the cuts instituted this year.

Chicago Public Schools serves approximately 409,000 students in more than 670 schools. It is the third-largest school district in the nation.


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