Brizard leading budget disinformation campaign? August 4, 2011, came and went without CPS distributing a Proposed Budget for 2011 - 2012

Nine days after he presented the seven-member Chicago Board of Education with the most bizarre organization plan in Chicago history (at the July 27, 2011 Board meeting), Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizard missed a key deadline when the "Proposed Budget, 2011 - 2012" was not available to the public on August 4, 2011. The August 4 dates had been announced at the Board's special meeting on June 15, 2011. At the opening of business on August 5, 2011, the Board of Education's website ( was announcing budget hearings to be held on August 10, 11, and 12 — but not how any member of the public could actually get a copy of the budget to review in time for the public hearings.

At least one member of the Rahm Emanuel Chicago Board of Education can't claim ignorance about the requirements of the Proposed Budget, hearings, and press conferences to present the budget and answer questions. When he served as "Chief Administrative Officer" of Chicago's public schools, David Vitale (above left) also was present when former CEO Arne Duncan (above right) presented the Proposed Budget — on time most of the time — and answered questions during a regular press conference. Above, Vitale, Pedro Martinez (then Chicago Financial Officer; now a Broad appointed instructional leader in Las Vegas) and Arne Duncan at the June 6, 2006 press conference on the proposed budget for the 2006 - 2007 school year. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.The confusion over the Proposed Budget has been growing during nearly three months since the inauguration of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

In its complete form (the budget comes in a book with a CD included) will probably run to more than 1,900 pages (if last year's budget is any indication of the size). The confusion over the Brizard budget (and his related budget "deficit" claims, which are being used against the Chicago Teachers Union and the other unions representing CPS workers) continued into the first week of August with missed deadlines and statements from CPS officials that were not true.

Despite the fact that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has promised the public complete "transparency" in all government in Chicago, CPS budget information has actually gotten murkier since Emanuel's inauguration. Emanuel appointed Brizard and the seven members of the Chicago Board of Education who voted in favor of Brizard's original budget deficit claims (on June 15, 2011, at their first meeting) in May 2011, and the officials and Board members held their first public meeting on June 15, 2011.

The budget hearings schedule presented by Brizard's "Chief Accountability Officer" Tim Cawley (who told the Board on June 15 that the Proposed Budget 2011 - 2012 would be available to the public August 4) are being jeopardized by the Brizard administration's failure to make key budget information public in time for the public to review the public's business before the public hearings. CPS officials have told Substance that the budget hearings will also answer budget questions from members of the public, but nobody can ask questions about an invisible budget.

As business began on Friday, August 5, one week before the public hearings are supposed to end, no budget was publicly available from CPS.

The Board of Education is supposed to meet and approve a Final Budget on Wednesday, August 24, 2011. Because it refused to hold the hearings prior to the end of the 2011 fiscal year, the Board has been operating without a budget since July 1, 2011, when the new fiscal year began. The Board's fiscal year goes from July 1 through June 30. The only budget related documents provided to the public so far by the Brizard administration have been a nine-page Power Point presentation that Tim Cawley delivered to the Board on June 15 and the controversial organizational chart that Brizard presented to the Board at its July 27 meeting. The Power Point was the basis for the Board's controversial vote on June 15 to cancel the raises of four percent for the seven unions (the largest of which is the Chicago Teachers Union) representing the workers in Chicago's public schools.

The schedule for the public hearings reported as of August 5 on the CPS website is as follows:

Public Hearing - FY2012 Budget

Wednesday, August 10, 2011. Public Hearing on School Budget for 2011-2012 Fiscal Year

Lane Tech High School

2501 W. Addison Street

Start: 7:00 p.m.

Registration: 6:00 p.m.

Thursday, August 11, 2011 Public Hearing - FY2012 Budget

Public Hearing on School Budget for 2011-2012 Fiscal Year

Westinghouse High School

3223 W. Franklin Blvd

Start: 7:00 p.m.

Registration: 6:00 p.m.

Friday, August 12, 2011. Public Hearing - FY2012 Budget

Public Hearing on School Budget for 2011-2012 Fiscal Year

Simeon High School

8147 S. Vincennes

Start: 7:00 p.m.

Registration: 6:00 p.m.


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