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August 18, 2010. Corliss High School Budget hearing transcript shows continuation of unprecedented critique of CPS priorities

[Editor's Note: What follows is the complete transcript of the hearings on the Chicago Board of Education's Proposed Budget 2010 - 2011 held at Corliss High School on the evening of August 19, 2010. This transcript was originally published at www.cps.edu and has been reformatted from the Court Reporter format for use here at www.substancnews.net].

In The Matter Of: 2010-2011 PROPOSED BUDGET PUBLIC HEARING AT CORLISS HIGH SCHOOL, August 19, 2010, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET FISCAL YEAR 2010-2011 PROPOSED BUDGET PUBLIC HEARING, Thursday AUGUST 19, 2010, 7:00 P.M. Held at: CORLISS HIGH SCHOOL 821 East 103rd St. Chicago, Illinois

PRESENT: MS MELANIE SHAKER, [Deputy] Chief Financial Officer; MS. CHRISTINA HERZOG, Budget Officer, MS. JORY SIMMONS, Moderator

Reported by: Janice Smith License No. 084-001346, Smith's Court Reporting Service (312) 726-2266

MS. SHAKER: Hi, everybody. I think we are going to get started here. I just wanted to introduce myself. I am Melanie Shaker. I am the Deputy Chief Financial Officer of Chicago Public Schools. To my left is Christina Herzog, who is the leader of our Office of Management and Budget. And to my right is John Thomas, who is the Chief Area Officer of Area 23.

So, I guess the first thing I wanted to do is just thank everybody for being here. I think it really expresses dedication to Chicago Public Schools and also your engagement in the budget hearings process. We do really appreciate that.

We are here in front of everybody on behalf of the Board. On behalf of the Board and on behalf of the principals and everyone else who is represented by this table here tonight.

So, first, what we want to tell you is that tonight is really for us to listen and to hear you. We are seeking your input. We are writing things down. That is our goal tonight to really hear from you and get your input, rather than just start talking at you. And to that end — and we know you are going to have a lot of questions. You are going to have questions about tax increments financing, probably, about the $800 million line of credit, about class size reductions, layouts, all of this; and the restorations we have talked about as well. But each of these answers is really fairly complicated, and we want to make sure that we respond to all of these questions in a very thorough and accurate manner.

So to that end, we are going to be recording all these questions. We are going to be writing all this down. We are going to be compiling responses. And what we are going to do is post all of those answers on the Web. So starting probably late tomorrow and on a rolling basis, you are going to see these addressed. But the goal here is again, to get the input and to start posting these things online.

Having a dialogue and an open exchange between us would be very difficult with the size of the audience here and with the number of questions we know we are going to get. So in our efforts to hear you all, we want to make sure we allocate the time this year to really getting your input, rather than making presentations. So we will be listening to all your questions and, again, really, really appreciate that you are here. Thank you.

MS. HERZOG: Thanks, Melanie. Again, I am Christina Herzog from the CPS Budget Office. I want to take the opportunity as well to thank you for coming tonight on behalf of Chicago Public Schools, our budget office team who has worked hard to put together this budget. We are excited to hear your feedback. We are looking forward to it. And I think this just, again, shows your commitment to Chicago Public Schools and our students. So I want to thank you.

I also want to thank Anthony Spivey, the principal of Corliss, for hosting the event, and welcoming us here and making the space available for us; and, again, John Thomas for joining us as well from the chief area office. We — you know, Melanie kind of talked a little bit about what we are going to do tonight. I am going to go through some logistics and some ground rules. But, you know, we know that in a budget year as challenging as this one, that some people will agree and understand the tough decisions that we have had to make, and then others will of course not. And so, again, that is why we are here, to hear your feedback, to understand your input.

And so we know that you have had an opportunity to examine the budget both online. If tonight you came and the budgets were gone by the time you got here, let us know. We will gladly send you a budget. It is also posted online and is available there for you to take a look at as well.

And, again, our job tonight is to listen to you, ensure your questions and concerns are put on record, and take those questions and concerns back to our larger team and the Board of Education. sitting in questions, So tonight many of my colleagues sitting in the audience will be taking down your taking down your comments, so we can, as Melanie said, post those responses online so that everybody, even those who couldn't be at the hearing tonight, could see the responses.

If you do have a question that is specific about a particular school, a particular budget, a particular position, that you want feedback on that might not be appropriate to post online, please make sure that we up here, Jory, get your individual information so we can make sure to get that individualized response back to you on that.

You know, because we are here to listen and not talk, and because we want to hear

from as many of you as possible tonight, there is many of you out in the auditorium, we will only comment, you know, to clarify certain things and to make sure that, you know, we understand what the parameters are of tonight.

So let's go over a few logistics before we begin. For the evening we have provided

a Spanish translator, as well as a sign language interpreter. If anyone needs assistance with those, can you let us know? Okay. Thank you.

We have a list of registered speakers for the evening, and when your name is called, please proceed to the microphone. It is right there in the middle. And you will be given two minutes to speak. And you will be notified when those two minutes are about to conclude, so that you can conclude your comments in a timely manner.

We ask that you adhere to the time limit, so that we have an opportunity to hear from

all of you tonight. Ms. Simmons, from the budget team, has graciously accepted the role to moderate this evening, and so she will be the one that will be calling your name, calling the name of the next speaker so you can prepare to be able to walk to the microphone, and also notify you of when the time is up.

The public comments are scheduled to conclude at 9:00. I know we started a little bit late, so if they run a little bit late, I understand. And so we are going to begin. And on behalf of Chicago Public Schools again, the budget office and the finance team, thank you for taking the time to come here tonight and sharing with us your feedback. We appreciate it. So let's get started.

MS. SIMMONS: Anthony Spivey. And following Anthony Spivey is Jeneva Ingram.

MR. SPIVEY: My question today is, when would the actual budget be finalized and when will the Chicago Public School Board actually vote on it?

MS. HERZOG: Probably I can respond to that question. The Board is going to be voting on a budget next Wednesday.

MR. SPIVEY: They can't hear you.

MS. HERZOG: Oh, I'm sorry. The Board of Ed will be voting on a budget next Wednesday at their Board meeting. Thanks.

MS. SIMMONS: Jeneva Ingram.

MS. INGRAM: I have a list of questions. Will CPS ask the city to declare a TIF surplus and then request those funds to help fund schools? If not, why not? Money from the government — from the settlement recent fail to restore teaching positions is supposed to be used to put teachers back to work. Will the Board guarantee that this money will be used for its intended purpose? If not, why not?

Regular teachers — regular high school teachers' school begin in two weeks. Why are class sizes just now being restored to their previous levels? What will the Board do to help these schools restore the programs to all of their students and ensure that qualified teachers are in every classroom?

And the question I had last you already answered. I need a physical copy of the budget, if possible. Thank you.

MS. HERZOG: Give us your address and we will definitely get it to you.

MS. INGRAM: Okay.

MS. HERZOG: Thanks for your comments.

MS. SIMMONS: Dr. Carmen Palmer. And following Dr. Palmer is Alyson Kennedy.

DR. PALMER: Hi. I have five quick questions. I am holding in my hand a copy of information that was brought to my attention a couple of weeks ago entitled, "The CPS millionaire list." This is a 51-page document. The first seven to eight pages is a narrative. And then on the eighth page there is a portion that reads: "Below list of the employees of the Chicago Board of Education, listed in the board's position file budget documents as being paid more than the CEO of CPS during 2009-2010 school year, CEO salary being 230,000 per year. Source is listed as Chicago Public Schools position file budget, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

And from page 7 to page 51 are names of Board employees who are receiving sums of money that are in the million dollars. And that is for page 7 to page 51. So I was just figuring to give CPS maybe the benefit of the doubt. I will definitely be looking forward to a response to that question.

And then number two, now that the Board is going to vote on a budget that we haven't seen, can copies of the budget be placed in the public library, seeing as how the taxpayers are the ones who provide those funds?

Three, how were these hearings communicated? It is always so amazing that such significant hearings and forums are conducted, and so few of the taxpayers are made aware in ample time to be able to attend.

Four, I definitely would like a copy. I got here at 6:00 o'clock. I come at 7:00. And I find out — I come back at 7:00 when I had to step out for a second, to find out there had been budgets provided. And the darling young women at the table never said a word.

And so number five, the correct online address, if we want to get those answers, what is the correct online address to get these?

MS. HERZOG: You will be able to get from the CPS home page, at www.cps.edu. There will be a very clear link on there directing you to the budget.

DR. PALMER: I am sorry, repeat that again because everything has gone out. I don't know what happen here.

MS. HERZOG: It is www.cps.edu.

DR. PALMER: Thank you.

MS. SIMMONS: Alyson Kennedy.

MS. KENNEDY: Good evening. My name is Alyson Kennedy, and I am a Socialist Workers Party Candidate for United States Senate in the State of Illinois. I am a factory worker at an auto parts transmission plant in Chicago. And I want to make a statement in solidarity with the teachers in the City of Chicago and throughout the State of Illinois. Working people throughout this state should oppose the layoffs and cutbacks that Chicago Public Schools CEO Robert Huberman is threatening in his budgets.

In a cynical attempt to blame teachers, Huberman says that Chicago Teachers Union's refusal to give up a four percent pay increase is one reason for the layoff of an additional 1,200 city workers, city school workers, on top of close to over 2,000 teachers already laid off.

The financial crisis that Chicago Public Schools is facing is totally bound up with the financial and budget crisis faced by the state of Illinois. The truth is the shortfall in tax income that Illinois and every state in the country is experiencing today stems from the deep growing crisis that grips the United States and the entire world, the world capitalist financial crisis, the world depression that we are just in the beginnings of.

This is just the beginning of cuts. We will see more proposals for cuts in the coming years. That is why it is very important in any fight we wage today against these cuts will help us build stronger fights in the future.

The capitalist and their Democratic and Republican party representatives in government are using this crisis, this economic crisis, to hammer us, to hammer the working class through layoffs, through furlough days, through wage cuts, increased workloads, speed up on the job and worsening of safety conditions and cutbacks in social services.

The Democratic and Republican party politicians try to convince us that there is a limited pool of money in the city and state budgets, and if this runs out everybody has to cut back. But the truth is everybody doesn't cut back. Only working people are told to cut back. Only working people are told that our wages are cut, that we have to work at temporary jobs and factories. Most workers work today making eight, $10 an hour, if you are even lucky enough to make that.

The attitude of the Democratic and Republican politician holders from Daley, Huberman, to Obama and Quinn make it clear that we have to stop relying on these political parties to solve our problems. These parties, the Democrats and Republicans, always put the interest of the bankers, the real estate developers, the industrialist first. We need a labor party —

MS. SIMMONS: Ms. Speaker, please conclude.

MS. KENNEDY: — based on a fighting union movement that puts workers' interests first, a labor party that can challenge the political power of the capitalists who exploit us.

And I just want to end by saying that the Socialist Worker's Party urges the union

movement and all working people to join us in demanding no cutbacks in education, no layoffs of teachers and other school workers, no cuts in bilingual education and other curricula, and hands off the pensions of teachers and other state workers. Thank you very much.

(Applause.)

MS. SIMMONS: Our next speaker is Porcia Walton. And after Porcia Walton will be Megan Cusick.

MS. WALTON: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Porcia Walton, and I am from CORE Organization. And I am just here today to talk about more funding for charter schools.

It is a serious epidemic in all communities as far as gun violence, gun crime, gun crimes, safety within schools, low income, loss of jobs. I feel that we need more charter schools to

better our children's education. Whereas me, now I am a CPS graduate and I take that with pride. But if I was given a better opportunity then, I would have took it. I feel like we need more charter schools for our children nowadays, because it is just not the same no more, ladies and gentlemen. Everything is changed.

The gun crime is just overwhelming with everything. And then I am not knocking CPS schools, because I am a graduate. I love it. But I feel like we do need more charter schools to better our education for our students and our children. A wise friend told me if we don't name our children, someone else will; meaning as, if we don't place our children with better, like better funding, better education, better this, better that, someone else is going to name our children. I am upset for mine. I want what is best for my daughter as well as the next person's child. More funding y'all.

(Applause.)

MS. CUSICK: Megan Cusick. I am a casualty of the Department of Clever Terminology at CPS, which I suspect is in the 1,500 page appendix of the budget, which I did not receive with my printed copy. However, I have been honorably dismissed as a result of program reduction.

I have several questions posed to members of the Board and I would like to see the answers online.

The first question I would like to know is whether or not Board members are actually going to review transcripts of these hearings prior to voting on -- voting on the budget next week? I expect that they would be reviewing transcripts from all three days of the hearings.

My second question is that I would like to know whose values this budget represents? I think after a couple days of hearings, we can see pretty clearly that it is not the values of the teachers, the parents and the students. So whose values are represented by this budget? Are they Mr. Huberman's values? Are they Mayor Daley's values? Perhaps they are the values of the Civic Federation to whom Mr. Huberman appeared and discussed the budget, despite the fact that he won't come to these hearings and discuss them with the community at large.

So I am concerned, even though it is difficult to find this information in the budget both in the printed and online version, that while we see cuts in classroom positions and cuts in educators throughout the Board, not only in the classroom, but in central office as well, that we see increases in educational vendors, increases in consultants, increases in business analysts, increases in lawyers, and that is all coming at the expense of our children. And what we are creating is a system where in a small number of schools, parents will fund raise and they will fill a position, or they will save a program. But in the majority of schools our children are not going to have that privilege, and they will lose out.

That creates an unequal education system, and that it is undemocratic and it is unethical. And that does not reflect my values. And I suspect it does not reflect the values of most people in here.

(Applause.)

MS. CUSICK: Two other quick comments.

The first one is that I am assuming that the proposed revenue for the 2011 year has not been received, that it is not all money in hand, which makes me wonder why the Edu jobs money wouldn't be considered anticipated revenue as part of the budget as well?

And last a comment, and this is to members of the audience. I strongly encourage you to contact Dick Durbin and let him know that Chicago seems to be confused about the real purpose of the funds that he came to Robeson High School to talk about last week. And express your concern that somewhere in the past week there has been some misunderstanding since that time. And while you are at it, call your alderman as well, because they are going to be up for election soon.

Thank you.

(Applause.)

MS. SIMMONS: Melita Patillo. And following Melita is Danielle from Robeson High School. If she could pronounce her name as well when she comes to the mike, please?

MS. PATILLO: Hi. My name is Melita Patillo.

Okay. As we all know, Chicago Public Schools are faced with certain challenges as far as education, party level and bias. Even

though charter schools are faced with some of the same challenges, they are exceeding state level at reading, math and science.

For example, the charter school in Gage Park, they are exceeding the level -- the

state level in math, reading and science by between 11 percent and 26 percent. They are 90 percent -- 99 percent Hispanic.

Another example, the charter school in Austin, in the Austin Belmont Cragin area, they

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are exceeding the state level in reading and math by 13 to 19 percent. So, I feel that we should get more charter schools within the community.

We said we wanted a change and we wanted to better our children's education, and it is factual that charter schools are doing so, are

helping us do so. So if we get more of them, then we could probably have better results, you know, things like that.

Thank you.

(Applause.) MS. SIMMONS: Danielle Cieslelski. And

following Danielle will be Chloe Gilmore. MS. CIESLELSKI: My name is

Danielle Cieslelski. I am a current teacher at Robeson High School, not to last much longer. I am going to eat up a lot of my time.

Charter schools, the studies has come out, only perform about 17 percent of the

time better or even on par with public schools, so please stop the lies.

(Applause.) MS. CIESLELSKI: Secondly, Mr. Thomas,

I am so glad to see you here. My principal

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reported to us today that we have to level our classes in the middle of August. Not even the first day of school when our kids are expecting to come back, a lot of Robeson students still think they are going to Dunbar or some kind of charter school that's going to end up dumping them out, like Noble Street (phonetic) always does with our kids.

So what this is going to end up doing is have about ten teachers in our building

with no students in front of them. It is two weeks until they can fire us from September 7th. So I want to say thank you for that. If you have any more information about how that is going to work, if you could explain to me and my students, I am sure we would be more than interested.

And then the actual budget comment. I went to the budget hearings for three years. I

hear about a crisis every year. The chief financial officer has a proposed budget of almost a million dollars and a staff of four. So I am trying to figure out how a department of people being paid $250,000 a year with a mission of ensuring that every child is on track to graduate,

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and prepared for college work and life not manage three years running to get a balanced budget.

In the meantime, what are you guys doing that we can't get these questions answered.

This is the budget hearings. Isn't this the biggest priority right now? Shouldn't this be the focus? I want to know an answer to my questions from Tuesday.

(Applause.) MS. CIESLELSKI: At some point -- at it needs to be understood that the got to be paid. You've got to do it. legal requirement to pay the pension.

some point person has There is a The teachers have to be paid. You made a contract to pay these teachers their salaries. This needs to be the basis and the budget goes from there. Find some money somewhere and create a reserve that is going to be ready, instead of saying, oh my God, we are going to have to pay $600 million in four years from now.

Well, you got four years to build a reserve. Do it. That should be the basis of your budget. That shouldn't be an emergency thing that

we think of again in 2014.

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(Applause.) MS. CIESLELSKI: Three years is a

really long time to keep screwing up the budget. Over time, consistent incompetence is usually interpreted as sabotage. The only way the public can interpret this is that CPS has no intent of ever putting students first or ever creating a balance in our budget.

MS. SIMMONS: Chloe Gilmore. And following Chloe Gilmore will be Jermiska Smart.

MS. GILMORE: Hi, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Chloe Gilmore.

My issue today is getting more classrooms, getting more teachers, two to a

classroom, instead of one teacher to a classroom. Let's make a better future for our children and a success throughout the year. Our children is the key to success. Our parents and teachers play an important part in their lives and future. Because I am a parent of three and I want the best education for my children. Thank you guys.

(Applause.) MS. SIMMONS: Jermiska Smart. And

please spell your name.

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MS. SMART: Good evening. My name is Jermiska Smart and I am a proud parent of a child that is on a long waiting list for a charter school. And I know what great things charter schools have to offer. And I know our kids deserve a better shot at a better education, safer schools, access to computers in every classroom.

The 2010 consensus show that CPS kids are getting better grade and are more college

bound. So that means our kids are striving harder. So teachers, parents, mentors and friends let's strive harder for them and get more charter schools on the south side of Chicago and give our kids an equal opportunity and a fair chance for the generation of tomorrow.

Thank you.

(Applause.) MS. SIMMONS: Rosland Johnson. And

following Rosland Johnson is Michael Brunson. MS. JOHNSON: Good evening, ladies and

gentlemen. Hi. My name is Rosland Johnson and my comment relates to the young ladies from earlier. Five -- get more schools and charter schools, because I am a young parent of a four-year-old

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son. And I feel like if they have someone in school to help him, he will look for love outside the street, or whatever. Just help me help him not be in jail, dead or anything, robbing or

stealing, none will help him, that, he would

of that. I feel like if you all show him he could do better than do better than that. Thank you.

(Applause.)

MS. following Michael Brunson is Geraldine Howard.

MR. BRUNSON: My name is Michael Brunson. And -- I hope I didn't break it. I am a recording secretary of the Chicago Public Union -- Chicago Teachers Union, I meant. I'm sorry about that.

And I just want to state a concern that I have. You know, I went to the budget

hearing a couple of days ago up at Lane Tech and there were about 200 people there. I didn't make the one last night. But I come to this one and I am counting close to a hundred people. And that tells me that the public is very interested in what is going on with our public schools.

SIMMONS: Michael Brunson. And

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MR. differences on if some of our

(Applause.) BRUNSON: Now, we might have how to go about this, and I think other members of the audience were

able to talk to me, and I would really like to talk to you to state the case about why public schools with teachers that are in a union, that have good benefits, and good decent salaries, and job protection is what you really want to go after, I would really like to have that conversation with you, because I don't think that is offered in the charter schools. But that is a whole other thing.

(Applause.) MR. BRUNSON: Anyway, but I would

really like to talk to whoever has sent you up here to state the case for the charter schools. That is really what I want to do.

Anyway, what I am concerned about is that because we have so many people from the

public here that are obviously involved in this, I think they should have some input. Rather than just coming up and asking questions that don't really get answered, they should have an

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opportunity. Everyone should have an opportunity to actually look through this budget book, understand what is going on, because the budget has a whole philosophy behind it and it tells you a lot about the future. At least, it is going to tell you what is going to happen this year, so that we can actually ask some questions on it and not have to take them off the cuff.

Some people have studied. But people like me, I didn't get the budget until a

couple of days ago. So I would like to see this become a more public process. And I would like to know that these questions are going to be answered that these people are going to ask. But even more importantly, I would like for Chicago Public Schools or the Board of Education to take some of the concerns that the public has, take them into account, because people have good ideas. We know what we want. We are here to serve the public anyway. Let's serve the public. Take these ideas and let's create a better school system that actually serves the public. Thank you.

(Applause.) MS. SIMMONS: Geraldine Howard. And

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following Ms. Howard will be Richard Washington. MS. HOWARD: Hi. My name is

Geraldine Howard. I am a little nervous now, so I

might fumble on my question. But what I want to know is, of all the teachers that were laid off, as well as the substitute teachers that was laid off, or terminated, will they be reinstated? I mean, of the teachers -- first on hand, seeing teachers being stressed out, I know they need more substitute teachers. So that is my question.

Thank you. (Applause.)

MS. SIMMONS: Mr. Richard Washington.

MR. WASHINGTON: You know a few years back you used to hear on the news, and on TV, on the radio a lot about No Child Left Behind. And it was a program that was supposed to have an

impact all the United their head the world.

over the country, that our children in States of America would be able to hold up high and compete with any child in

Now, Chicago is called the Jewel of the Midwest. But on my way to work this morning,

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I heard that there are only three other places in the United States that graduate a lower number of African-American males. Three places. That means that Chicago is the fourth lowest place in the United States of America for the graduation of African-American males.

Here is the question. If folks are just falling out of school, then are the rest of

the kids even able to compete? Probably not. Now, everybody has been impacted by the

global economic situation. Everyone in this room has had to make some sort of adjustment in their personal financial picture. But if you have a home, you can't stop paying your mortgage. If you have a car with an active loan, you can't stop paying the car loan, because your budget is not working out.

In the city of Chicago there are certain things you absolutely can't cut. You

can't cut the police. I think that all the murders that we see day after day after day proves that. You can't cut the emergency personnel, because there are fires, and there are floods, and there are accidents and there are injuries. And

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you can't cut the educators, because we are talking about the future.

(Applause.) MR. WASHINGTON: We are not just

talking about a budget. We are talking about lives.

How can America stand up and say, we are going to compete, if we turn around and say

oh, no, we have to cut these positions? 35, 40 kids in a classroom. Many of them from improvised neighborhoods. Some of them just show up to school to get a meal and heat.

(Applause.) MR. WASHINGTON: But we are going to

cut teachers. It doesn't add up. Now, if you think that these cuts are a good idea here is what I would like you to do. Go home, talk to your spouse, talk to your other family members and say, we are going to stop paying our mortgage right now. And the outcome of that decision will be the same as the outcome of this decision. It will be disastrous. It will be disastrous.

(Applause.) MS. SIMMONS: Thank you.

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Deborah Muhammad. And following Deborah Muhammad is Teresa Daniels.

We just want to remind each speaker, when you come to the mike, please say

your name before you begin speaking. MS. MUHAMMAD: Good evening. I am

Deborah Muhammad. I have a number of things that I

wanted to mention. And one has to do with the Illinois State Lottery. Some people may recall that at the inception of the Illinois State Lottery, the whole con game was that the money was supposed to go to support education. Did anybody hear that?

(Applause.) MS. MUHAMMAD: Okay. All right. I am

not the only one. With all of the lottery tickets that are sold in the state of Illinois and specifically in Chicago, and even to zero in on certain zip codes, why in the world would anybody stand before the people and say that there is no money for education?

(Applause.) MS. MUHAMMAD: It is easier -- it is

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easier to buy a lottery ticket in Chicago than it is to get a fresh piece of fruit. That is proven, and the proliferation of the facilities for lottery has proliferated throughout the poorest communities.

And I got laid off from O'Toole Elementary School. We had children, young people murdered in that community on a ratio at least of

one or two a week this past year. So how dare the people who make the decision in their ivory tower, whose children, by the way, don't have to dodge bullets, don't have to dodge bullets.

(Applause.) MS. MUHAMMAD: They don't have to worry

about -- they don't have to worry about going from block A to block B. They don't have to worry about that. And my point is this -- my point is this: There should be no taxation without representation.

(Applause.) MS. MUHAMMAD: We are being taxed more

than anybody else in Chicago; ten percent. 11 percent. That is the cost of living here in Chicago. And then we are afraid to go anywhere.

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We are afraid to do anything. And this is all because the lip service that is given to education is not real. America talks about the importance of education, but where do we put our money?

And I want to end on this note. My beloved passed on to heaven grandmother, who I loved dearly, she said that you put your money

close to your heart. Meaning, you put your money where the real priorities are. So are the priorities on Clark Street or are they on Damen Street? Thank you.

(Applause.) MS. SIMMONS: Theresa Daniels. And

after Ms. Daniels, Ms. Rusita Chatonda. MS. DANIELS: Theresa Daniels, retired

teacher. And this is a hard act to follow. All the questions I wanted to ask

have been asked. Many of the points made. So, I am just going to say that there has been skewed priorities for a long time. And the people who make us against one another, charter schools against public schools, have been laughing all along for decades now.

(Applause.)

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MS. DANIELS: Making the public schools as miserable as they can be. And this isn't new, stuffing the classrooms full, overstuffing the classrooms full of kids, more kids than desks. Teachers struggling to teach, despite the fact that every day five new kids come in. You have to take their program, write down all their information, find them a seat. And five kids are being reprogrammed to another classroom. That takes up the whole period.

If you are smart you have some work ready for the kids that they might see as

meaningful, maybe. But you are doing this for a whole month, two months. Two months of learning, one month of learning. More than that. Classes sitting without a teacher half a year, all year. A regular teacher, just substitutes, where no learning can go on. No program of instruction.

This is what people who have been in charge have done for a long time. And these

are the people, I'm sorry to say, that have set up charter schools. They don't care about democratic education for everybody.

Now, maybe the charter school you

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are supporting is not that kind of charter school. But there are charter schools where the people just take the money that each kid brings, you know, say 6,000 or 10,000, and they hire cheap teachers, new teachers that can't teach them.

(Applause.) MS. DANIELS: They are promised a hell

of a lot; you got computers, you are going to have this, you are going to have that. Five years later there is still no computers for every kid. But they promise everything.

And in the meantime, let's say the kid brings in 6,000 of public taxpayer money.

They will hire a cheap teacher, they burn her out. They burn him out. That teacher, the statistics show, leaves after two or three years. And out of that 6,000, maybe 4,000 goes into the pocket of the charter operator. And he wants to get everybody thinking, oh, the charter schools are really much better than public schools.

And you know we need the public school system, because the public schools have to

educate everybody. They don't just kick people out. They can't. And you have to make these

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public schools better where you have decent educational situations for kids to really learn.

You know, I think Mayor Daley really hates teachers. You can tell from the way

he talks. Either he has dyslexia or, you know, some learning problem the man has. I mean it is clear, maybe he got it from environment. His father talked like that, too. There is something un -- is that is not working right.

(Applause.) MS. DANIELS: And I think he is private

school oriented anyway from his cultural background. But he hates teachers. I mean something happened to him where he hates teachers and he hates schools. Thank you. Thank you.

(Applause.) MS. SIMMONS: Rusita Chatonda. And

following Ms. Chatonda will be David Vance. MS. CHATONDA: Well, that is definitely

a hard act to follow. I am going to try. I am Rusita Chatonda, and currently organizer for the Chicago Teachers Union.

And first of all, would like to say to everyone here, thank you for coming out because

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this is what it is about. (Applause.)

MS. CHATONDA: It is about our communities coming together. It is about our students. It is about our parents. It is about our ESP's that are sitting over there. It is about our teachers that have been displaced. And it is about us as a community, finally; not being duped by CPS, not really being lied to and believing those lies, by becoming educated and coming out here to find out what the real issues were.

So, I am just going to say to everyone, thank you for coming out. To my young

people back here, I really applaud you. I was once a young mother. I am still a mother, not that young anymore.

(Applause.) MS. CHATONDA: But I remember I have

three sons and I have a daughter. And they were educated in a variety of schools; public school, they were educated in -- and some of them went to the lab school. They went to Mount Carmel. And I can, honestly, I would not lie when I say this,

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that my children that went through CPS schools, with the fantastic wonderful teachers that they had, they achieved. They have been gifted -- in the gifted programs at CPS. They both received scholarships, and we have the best teachers

at CPS.

(Applause.) MS. CHATONDA: I just wanted you to

know that. Don't be fooled. As Malcolm would say, don't be bamboozled. And I want to say to you, I know what you are going through. I know what you want for your children.

Come out to some of our organizer events and let's get educated on this issue.

(Applause.) MS. CHATONDA: I do want to ask a few

questions, because funding public education is personal for me. It is about the opportunities that our children, not only my children personally, because I have taught for years and I call all of them my children. I have taught thousands of children. And I want to say that it is about them. It is about the budget. It is about the children, and first the children. And

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then it is about the teachers and the children. Mr. Huberman and everybody else -- and

I don't want to say what they are doing, I am going to be nice today, but what I am going to say, to put children and teachers first. This is what education is about. Everyone else is kind of riding in on the party or the program. We have to fund schools so that children can be educated, so that teachers -- and it is not just about teachers' jobs, because ultimately teachers and children will always be tied together and we want our parents to realize that. That we go into schools with love and caring for our children, all of our children. And it isn't a personal "my child." We are working together.

We have some of our teachers -- every Tuesday night we host a forum at Operations Push for some of the most dedicated people that I

have met. I have nothing but the utmost respect for these teachers. And they have been cut. They don't have jobs. And these are teachers that don't deserve what is happening to them.

conclude.

MS. SIMMONS: Ms. Speaker, please

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MS. CHATONDA: I will. I am going to ask that public

education be about children and teachers. But I am also going to ask, I would like for all of our teachers who come out to Push, our ESPs, would you please stand for a moment, because this is the human casualty of what is going on with our community.

Would you please give them a round

of applause?

Thank you very much, teachers, for the service that you give.

(Applause.) MS. SIMMONS: David Vance. And

following David Vance is Anna Ware. MR. VANCE: Good evening, ladies and

gentlemen. Dave Vance. That was another hard act to follow. And I really salute Chatonda for the struggle that she has been upholding here for the teachers of Chicago.

I am a parent. I am an LSC member at J. N. Thorpe Elementary School.

And here is another issue. It is wasting -- if I can save a million dollars of our

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public money that is being wasted by CPS, would you listen? Would you give me the page number on your budget of where that money is being spent on a total facelift to J.N. Thorpe for the charter school that is coming in?

What page? And what page can you show me? I understand it is a dollar a year. Oh, that is our public schools you are giving away for

a dollar a year. What page? Okay. And so this is where we are

coming from, to fight for our public schools. And what it looks like is a lot of promises. Oh, they are not going to close Thorpe. But they are doing everything they can do to do it.

So my question is, you know, giving away the newer section of our school to the

charter school, oh, it is going to make them look good while they put us in the old school, over with the poor kids from south Chicago.

Stop it. Stop wasting our money. We want good education for our kids. Give us

after-school programs. And really put children first. I really like that part about put your money close to your heart. I want to stop there.

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You guys should be ashamed. And we are fighting for public schools. And we are

fighting for everybody to have a decent education. Thank you.

MS. Anna Ware will MS.

(Applause.) SIMMONS: Anna Ware. And following be George Schmidt. WARE: Hi. My name is Anna Ware.

And I am a parent of a CPS high school student and a parent of a former Corliss graduate.

And I am here tonight because when we talk about budgets, budgets are supposed to

represent your programmatic goals, your objectives. A budget is supposed to be flexible. We make budgets seems as if they are scary. We will just break it down.

It is just like your checkbook; income, the money you have coming in. Expenses,

the money you have going out. Real simple. That is a budget.

And the reality is, is that we say that we value children, but we don't put our money

where our mouth is. Because if you really value and finance -- when we talk about value, value is

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something that you feel is very important. And we always talk about educate the children. It takes a village. But then on the down side you are not funding the village. So it is hypocritical. Then you wonder about crime.

But I guarantee you, if you do a correlational study, there is a direct link to the

crimes that you see, which is really to me just terrorism. It is terrorism. And we are sitting around here tolerating this crap, all this violence, but I bet you it is a direct link to education.

And my point is, when it comes to transportation, that is why I am here. When you

go to the new schools fair at McCormick Inn for high schools, and you talk about all these new schools you have, and what CPS is offering and this and that, you don't tell the parent that on a high school level if it is a new school, that they are going to a co-share environment because you are not building anymore new schools, because you say you don't have enough capital money, or all the capital money for building new schools have been spent.

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So you don't tell the new parent looking for the best opportunity for their

children that they have a choice. If you go to a new school to either go into a co-share situation in which you are sharing with a high school, or you are sharing with an elementary school, which is to me key information that you should tell these parents at the high school there. But you don't say that.

Then you don't want to spend money. And that is my appeal here, is that if you are forcing parents to send their kids across avenue A

going to block territory, you transportation students buses. Buses to take them from here to there.

B, they are going through different need to increase your line item on and provide those high school

Now, you say you value education. Start showing it by increasing the line item under

transportation and bus the children to the schools, because you know that they are in different territories, different neighborhoods, but you want to keep on just sacrificing our kids. You are sacrificing our kids. We are burying our

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kids. And I guarantee you if it was changed with the kind of kids that they are burying, we would tear the roof off of here.

(Applause.) MS. SIMMONS: George Schmidt. And

following George Schmidt will be Mary Ellen Sanchez.

MR. SCHMIDT: Good evening. My name is George Schmidt.

And for 28 years I taught in Chicago's high schools proudly. You heard of

names like Dusable, Marshall, Manley and so forth. And I taught all those places. And I did so proudly.

I won't talk about how I departed from Chicago Public Schools tonight because it

would be a waste of the little time we have. But now I am working both as a reporter at Substance News, which is at substancenews.net, and for the Chicago Teachers Union as a consultant.

And I can assure you, those of you who think a charter school is your salvation, that

is not true.

For the first time this year, the

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Board of Education has published all the data on the financials of the charter schools in the budgets. And if you go to those pages, starting I believe page 283 in this budget, if you can get a copy of it, because it is not in your public library, it is not in your local school, it is not in your alderman's office, but you should be able to get a copy. Read those.

You will find that most of the charter schools that have been in business for a

few years wound up settling down into about the same performance as the rest of us. Because the problem is not with the public schools. The problem is with the society. And the problem is, as everybody said, with the way society functions. And the problem is the priorities that come out of something like this budget.

If I wanted to demagogue this like some people have, I could look around this room

and name ten people who a year working for CPS. UNIDENTIFIED

are making over a $100,000

SPEAKER: Can you point

I am not going to do

them out?

MR. SCHMIDT:

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that.

You know who you are. You know that in one case, the person stood up when my

friend Terry was teaching, and your position got a raise from 115 to $150,000 a year in last year's budget, when you assumed the title that was once held by somebody else. That is the way the priorities are actually set and that is what has to be talked about.

First of all, everybody in this town should have a copy of this. The proposed budget. It should not have been restricted, like water in a desert, like you had to go to the oasis and fight with everybody else to get one cup of water. But that is what happened. And the reason is because they don't want you to read this, but we have been reading this.

In fact, some of us have read all 2,100 pages of it. Because this book is 400 pages

in print, and another 1,500 pages on the CD. And every one of those pages bespeaking of priority like, why did we decide to pay a man $150,000 for a job that was being done for 115. There is a great answer for that. And I am going to be

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publishing that answer. The proposed budget should have

been in everyone's hands. But finally every year we do get the truth, or at least close to it. It is a book called The Audited Financial Reports, which comes out in December.

Everyone sitting here knows the budget, knows that every year for the past

15 years, Chicago has announced a deficit sometime between January and March. This year it was a little more pornographically exaggerated.

Mr. Huberman said 900 million in January, knowing that it was going to be rounded

up to a billion by the morons who run -- MS. SIMMONS: Mr. Speaker, please

conclude.

MR. SCHMIDT: No. But I will try. Who writes for the other press in

this town. The fact is when this fiscal year ends, the audited financial statements will show that those words of deficit were a lie.

The problem is that fiscal 2011, which we talked about tonight, will not have an

exposure of financial statements until December of

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2011. And by then the amnesia that dominates public affairs in this city will be listening to the next lie about the next deficit, while the next patronage person will be getting the next $150,000 a year job. Because for a lot of reasons, some of which have to do with family ties and nothing to do with qualifications, while teachers --

(Applause.) MR. SCHMIDT: -- while teachers are

being laid off, while schools are being destroyed and undermined. While 20 or $30 million, like was spent at Austin High School so it could become a charter or Calumet High School, so it could become a charter. That money gets put in now at Thorpe. There is a vicious thing going on here that we are going to continue to write about until more than the 440 people who set history these three days by coming to these hearings, until there is a thousand people every night, and then 10,000. Because everybody has to know the truth.

One last thing, thank you for the time. Earlier the speaker asked about the

salaries that were budgeted $2 million. That

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document I published and it is still online. Because I got that document from the Board of Education under the Freedom of Information Act. That was an example of how the Board was lying in the fiscal 2010 budget.

They created over a hundred positions. And they randomly inserted in the

budgeted salaries between 1 and $15 million to fill the hole they had to do to cover the lie and the exaggerations they had told in talking about the deficit.

So I got that information called the Position File under the Freedom of Information

Act. I published it. After calling two of the people whose names were on the list for those million dollar salaries, I said, are you getting paid a million dollars?

I mean, it was ridiculous. One of them is John Butterfield, who works for the principals' association, retired principal. Now, I am not going to go on

because I can see you getting nervous and I know they come in here after working --

MS. SHAKER: I just want to make sure

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everyone can speak. MR. SCHMIDT: Working at Fitch ratings

was an interesting transition. Believe me, we are going to make it more interesting. But I am also counting on more integrity.

And so I will end with this: For the past nine months I have been waiting for an

updated Position File, not that piece of nonsense that has been posted on the Board's website called the Position Roster. That is not the budget document that lists all the employees.

Since November we have been waiting for that document because it is fundamental to

understanding the priorities of this system. It tells you that the chief of security and safety is now budgeted $150,000 a year. His predecessor was budgeted 115. You have to look back and forward to see what is going on.

It tells you how much the CFO is budgeted for. Tells you that we didn't have the

Deputy CFO until a couple of weeks ago. And I think actually some things we need. But we sure as heck need to get accurate information. Especially now. And it has to come through the

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Board without fun and games, without a promise saying we are going to be more transparent, and then another lie on the Board's website, like the position roster, like the consultant's list.

So let's get these numbers straightened out so that next year, instead of

hearing this deficient pornography from January through June, we can have some real numbers to

talk about and

MS. following Mary MS.

real priorities to discuss. Thank you. (Applause.) SIMMONS: Mary Ellen Sanchez. And Ellen Sanchez is Renee Riley. SANCHEZ: Mary Ellen Sanchez, Byrne

Elementary School. First of all, thank you very much

for giving up your evening to be here. I'm sorry you have to get a taste of what it is like to be a teacher, where we have to give up your evenings every day grading papers, preparing lessons and reading book reports.

Please know that we in the trenches do appreciate your time. You are looking for

waste in the budget and some things came up.

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First of all, I would like to propose that we eliminate some of these area

platforms, all these area offices, the personnel and the buildings.

Last January my principal returned from an Area 11 field trip to a school in Austin, Texas. Returned with photos of word walls. That

is it. My question is: How much did we taxpayers pay for round trip airfare, meals and hotels for these administrators, who could have taken photographs of our own schools?

Last spring our teachers were pulled away from our students on a nonprofessional development day so that we could be in-serviced on

guided reading. My question is: How much did we taxpayers pay for a hundred substitute teachers, round trip airfare, hotels, meals and supplies for two Boston consultants to teach a program that we have been using by Board of Ed mandates for the past five years?

Now, at the same in-service I observed was held in a CPS building that was

utilized for nothing more than area staff and storage. So, my question is: How many such

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buildings are presently owned, operated, heated, cooled and maintained by CPS? Do we actually still own Pershing Road? Please provide this list of all CPS buildings and note which are actually used by students on your website.

I also ask that you stop giving to the charter schools because at the hearings held

at last January at Clark Street a parent described how her baby had to sit through asbestos removal and then watch air conditioning being installed in her building, only to then be told that her school was being closed.

So my question is: Does the Board have that kind of extra money to throw away, or

are they actually spending this money on a building to improve it, because then they turn around and give that building to a private corporation for a charter school?

Equal treatment under the law. I am asking for this.

While attending these hearings on Clark Street I observed actual toilet paper in

each bathroom stall. My question is: Why do people, your people downtown, have such luxuries

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while our students have to request a few sheets at a time? And those of us who actually do have rolls of toilet paper, it disintegrates on contact and we end up with rashes.

Speaking of paper, who rations out your paper? Because my question is: Why is it

that you all downtown have access to as much paper and photocopying as needed, but I have to request actual sheets of construction paper, 25 at the most for a classroom of 31 students. It is -- that doesn't mesh.

In Chicago Public Schools we are separate and we are unequal. We don't have the luxuries of paper and air conditioning that you

all have in central office. Yet, thanks to state mandates, we do have excellent credentials.

I would bet that the number of master's degrees and Ph.D's, as well as years of

experience held by those of us in the trenches, outnumbers the degrees at central office.

(Applause.) MS. SANCHEZ: And then you call in Arne

Duncan, who came in with nothing more than a BA in Sociology. Yet, downtown continues to treat our

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female dominant profession as if citizens from a third world country. We aren't even paid on time.

The Board seems to think that we can't budget our own money, so they hold onto it. They collect interest. And then they dole it out

to us over the summer. So here is my next question; how much interest does the Board of Ed make off of my money?

(Applause.) MS. SANCHEZ: I ask you as people who

actually do hold positions of authority to say no to Mr. Huberman. You are the financial officer. You are the budget director. I respect those positions. And you actually do whole the purse strings so you have the power to say no to him. You can tell him that there is no money for his cohorts. There is no money for reams of paper on data. There is no money for after school data meetings. Because that money has to be budgeted for the students, so they can be in after school classes. That money should be budgeted for truant officers to get the students back into the classrooms.

(Applause.)

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MS. SANCHEZ: And that money is budgeted for teacher to actually spend teaching those students and not waste it on filling out more paperwork for those cohorts who are using areas administrators trying to justify their positions.

(Applause.) MS. SANCHEZ: Please utilize your

authority to put children first. Please look Huberman in the eye and just say no.

(Applause.) MS. SIMMONS: Ursula Whitfield.

Whitfield, maybe? Please say your name again. MS. RILEY: Good evening. My name is

Renee Riley. And I have a question that Mayor Daley asked, the first Mayor Daley asked 44 years ago when the Chicago Teachers Union was on strike. He said, "What about the little kids?" And he asked that question. They have played that over and over and over again on the news. "What about the little kids?"

Well, I ask that same question today. Because if you don't care about

children -- I mean if you don't care about the

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teachers, then you can't possibly care about the children either.

They are cutting all the teachers, cutting all the jobs, closing down positions all

over in the schools, overcrowding the classrooms. But the area offices are remaining opened. And I can't understand why there is money for administrative jobs if there is not enough money for the teachers.

The area offices have not been able to solve any of the problems that I have gone

there with. I have gone there and I told them that the principal closed down the computer lab at my school and the children will not having a level playing field. They will not be able to compete in this 21st century.

Everybody has to have technology. And they can't just learn it from themselves.

They couldn't just cut and paste and type around with two fingers, and think that they are going to be able to make it in this world. Well, the area office did absolutely nothing about it.

I went to the area office and I told them that the principal was underreporting

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tardies. Three tardies turns into an absence. So she was in fact stealing money from the state. God knows the state has no money to be stolen, but they are stealing money from the state. They did absolutely nothing about it.

There has been several problems that has not been resolved at the area offices,

but these people continue to have their jobs. So I can't understand what is the purpose. If you want to cut back, cut back on some more administrative positions, not the classroom teachers.

Keep in mind, there is one big question that we have to always remember: "What

about the little kids?" Thank you.

(Applause.) MS. WHITEFIELD: Good evening. My name

is Ursula Whitfield. And I have worked in Englewood as well as now I have just been laid off from Roseland community where, you know, we have the violence and the shootings in both.

But my questions are: Is it true that the cuts came from downtown by position

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numbers personally, or were the cuts made by principals according to the anticipated budget?

And my next question is: Will we have to reapply for our jobs or will we be

reinstated? And why is cuts being made in special ed, when I know personally that there is still a great need for children to learn in special ed. Because I had students just last year that totally didn't want to leave me because she continually, continuously need the help.

This child is very, very special ed. and I am working with her down at Roseland.

Now I have been laid off, so when school starts back in September, she has not me to look forward to, but now she's got to cling onto someone else

who is already now there goes have worked so

helping five other students. So my special ed. position that I hard for. And next Wednesday when the budget

is set, what percentage of teachers and TA's, including myself, will be getting back to work? Because when September come I am really ready to go back to work.

I have had children and my children

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are in college now, and I am trying to keep them going so they can become something. I have had a child graduate from Northern with -- one of them, associate in hospital administrator, and the other one is a social worker. And I have one going down in Normal, Illinois, now that I am trying to keep in school.

And I really do not have time to be trying to figure out when am I going back to work.

And my child need a computer and she needs to be in school.

(Applause.) MS. WHITEFIELD: And this is college

that is going to prepare us for our future. Not only for now, but when I get 70 or 60, and when you guys retire. I have great children; A, B students, great status, all college. And this is what -- they are going to work for us, and I need to work for them now in order for them to be a success for us later.

And charter schools are fine. But a lot of our children, I am telling you right now,

will not make it in a charter school. Because I go to work in Roseland and Englewood, and five

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fights jump out before I get to the door. You can't tell me nothing about what these kids is doing at CPS versus a charter school. Yes, we have a lot of problems at CPS, but these children are still children and they need to learn.

But the children that is in these charter schools, they are more disciplined and

willing to sit down. We work hard in these CPS schools trying to get these kids to sit down, and trying to get them to listen, and trying to get the three that couldn't make it into a charter school, or whose name hasn't been called yet, to try to sit down with Johnny and Johnny won't sit still, and he is pulling and cutting on people's hair.

And then we got the special ed. children, who are trying to -- when we go off into these regular ed classrooms with these special ed.

children, because I am following them around trying to help with their studies all day, they're already being challenged within the regular ed. classroom. They are having a very hard time in these classrooms. They are not learning enough.

The children won't sit down. They

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got one teacher in there and they're steady hollering, and I am in there with her. And there is another person in there trying to come in there. Then they have got to call the principal. And they don't respect nobody but the principal, because by the time you get through talking to them you have already reached your limit.

We work very, very, very hard in these CPS schools trying to get these children to

sit it down. And what would we do with the children who won't make it in these charter

schools? They with them?

MS.

speakers?

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: In anticipation of a night when everyone is here, I was just

concerned about why there is only 20 copies of the budget? If you are inviting people from the community, why is it that it wasn't at least a hundred copies of the budget? That really has

MS. covered all the speakers.

got to learn. What we going to do

(Applause.) HERZOG: Are there any more

SIMMONS: Yeah. I think we have

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bothered me since I have been here. MS. SHAKER: I think we understand and

that is something we are going to need to address. MS. HERZOG: It is posted online. So

it is posted online. And we brought CD's. And if

you need a address --

send it to

budget book, if you give us your

MS. SHAKER: We have already offered to you as well, which we can do. MS. SIMMONS: We have Terry Wilford. MS. WILFORD: Good evening. I am

Terry Wilford. I am a teacher. I am a parent. And I would like to say to the young ladies in the back, I also taught at charter schools. And I taught at a charter school. And I also am a teacher at a public school today.

And what I want to say about that, too. I want to take the first note to say that my

children attend public school. One thing is, my children attend school all over the city. I have a daughter at Walter Payton. I have a son at Kenwood Academy. I also have another son at Marcus Garvey Elementary School.

And as an parent, I am going to say

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this: School, public education is so unequal here in Chicago. I really can't even explain it. To go to Walter Payton on the north side, to go to Kenwood Academy on the south side, to go to Marcus Garvey Elementary School on the west side, it is totally different.

Parents, we have to tell them what we want. They do not dictate to us what they are

going to give us. (Applause.)

MS. WILFORD: You all have it backwards. We are the taxpayers. We pay their salaries. We have to demand what we need that is necessary. Because the bottom line, our children are in these schools. I don't care if it is charter. I don't care if it is public. You have to wake up. Because they are not interested in educating our children.

Let me tell you something. The playing field is like this. And it is going to get wider. And it is not going to change until

parents are more responsible in going to these schools and knowing what is going on, because I take that responsibility. I expect that from

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myself and other parents, because I teach their children. I want to see you in a school. I want to see why so-and-so didn't do their homework. No one in these schools are going to do that. The parents have to do that. You have to demand that you have qualified teachers in the classrooms. That is the bottom line.

(Applause.) MS. WILFORD: And most of us, I am

going to tell you the truth, because of the qualifications for CPS, most of us have master degrees, maybe two master degrees. But we are overwhelmed. We need parents back in the school. They don't want you in the school. They don't want you in the school. But it is your right as a taxpayer to come out to these schools and see what is going on. And matter of fact, they need to open the schools to have the parents, show them the curriculum and teach them as well. Because we have to get this together, people.

This is not going to change because the economy is worse. The working people -- MS. SIMMONS: Ms. Speaker, please

conclude.

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MS. WILFORD: I will. The working are working harder,

then losing their jobs. We all have bills, but our salaries are not increasing $50,000 every year, they are laying us off. Now, these are the people who are educated. So what is going to happen? You think about it.

Demand what you want from these people. We pay them. And if they don't give us

what we want, then they don't keep our children because they get money for our children attending these schools. That's the bottom line.

Thank you.

(Applause.) MS. SIMMONS: Ms. Price. Ms. Price

will be our last speaker for the evening. MS. PRICE: My name is Willette Price.

You are looking at a face of an honorably dismissed highly qualified teacher.

I want to know when will you place these highly qualified, great, displaced teachers

back in front of students? I have a friend here with me

tonight. She is a great teacher. She can't find

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a job. Many of my friends can't find jobs. Many of my colleagues can't find jobs. You are looking in the face of a highly qualified teacher, and there are many more out here out of work.

I am asking the Board, the budgeters to take it to Ron Huberman to please

reinstate these great teachers for our students. You are leaving -- you are leaving other teachers who are not as qualified as we are to be teaching these students. Teaching and learning needs to exist on a lot higher level.

Thank you.

(Applause.) MS. SHAKER: Okay. I think that was our last speaker. I just want to reiterate again that we really appreciate your presence here. We are taking note of everything that you are saying. And we are going to translate this internally to our team. And that, you know, your questions are serious and are of the utmost concern. So thank you for coming. MS. HERZOG: Also, thank you. But I do want to make sure that -- there are no more cards up front, so if you write down your address and your name, we will get more and we will send it to your address. Laurie is going to hand them out to you.

So thank you, everyone. I appreciate the feedback.

(Which were all the proceedings had in the above-entitled matter.)



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