Byrd Bennett tries to gag principals following published complaints about budget cuts... CPS SNAFU on school budgets reaching FUBAR proportions

With almost none of the top officials of Chicago Public Schools having any experience as Chicago school teachers or principals, the massive disruption of school programming for the 2013 - 2014 school year continues to progress according to descriptions that require military terms such as SNAFU and FUBAR to describe. More and more veteran teachers and principals are openly agreeing with analysts, including Substance, that say Barbara Byrd Bennett and her executive staff are carrying out a plan to sabotage the nation's third largest school system for the next school year, while carefully repeating scripted talking points about how much they love schools and children.

Like most top officials at Chicago Public Schools in June 2013, more than half are FNGs without any teaching or administrative experience in the real public schools of Chicago. Above, during the May 22, 2013 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education, Denise Little, Beth Mascatti Miller, and Tracy Martin-Thompson sit in the executive seats. Little has been "Chief Network Chief Officer" since her latest promotion in December 2012. Mascatti Miller, who was put in the newly created position of chief officer for pre-school programs, came from Rochester New York. Martin Thompson, who is currently Chief of School Supports has been with CPS a short time as well. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Following published reported quoting local school councils and principals criticizing the Chicago Public Schools cuts in next year's school budgets, officials operating on orders from Barbara Byrd Bennett, Chief Executive Officer, have been calling principals and telling them that they are not permitted to talk to the press. Although CPS officials are trying to gag local school councils as well, the LSCs are operating under the Open Meetings Act. Meetings must be public. Principals are members of their schools' local school councils. Principals have told Substance that they are receiving phone calls from "Network Chiefs" and other officials ordering them not to speak with members of the press.

CPS officials also continue to issue contradictory orders, updated "clarifications," and confusing issuances explaining how principals are supposed to input their schools' budgets for the 2013 - 2014 school year.

For example, on June 20, 2013, CPS's budget office issued the latest in how budgets are supposed to be created, while Denise Little offered a clarification on how principals are supposed to budget for art positions in the event that the positions are cut from full time (1.0) to half time (.5).

Dear Principal,

There have been new developments regarding position updates that require you to open and close positions.

If you are changing the lane and step on a staffed position, please close the current position and open a new one at a the new lane and step.

If you are changing the funding source on a position, example change from 100% SGSA to 100% Title I, please close the position and open a new one with the new funding source.

If you are changing the FTE from 1.0 to .5 or vice versa, please close the position and open a new one with the new FTE value.

From Denise Little:

Each school's Arts Liaison, or a designee, has been charged with entering key arts education data to the Creative Schools Certification Portal ( by June 30, 2012.

Schools that enter their data and have a principal-appointed Arts Liaison will be eligible for funding toward their arts education resources and supports.



The destruction of neighborhood schools is now penetrating some of the best in the city including Burley Elementary. We hope you will cover this event TODAY to get a picture of how CPS budget cuts are cutting deep at the school level.

PRESS EVENT: Thursday, June 20, 2013 3:15 P.M.-

CPS Slashes Budget at Top Ranked Burley Elementary – School Loses Funding for Five Teachers; Massive cuts in Art, Music, PE, Technology, Foreign Language... Rahm’s “Full Day” Looks Very Empty at Burley and Hundreds of Other Schools... Parents are Fed Up and Fighting Back

What: After shuttering 50 so called “under-utilized” schools in order to “save money” and improve educational outcomes, CPS has released 2013-14 school budgets that are forcing top performing and overcrowded schools to gut their staffs and programming. Parents at Burley Elementary, one of CPS’ highest performing and nationally renowned schools, are revealing the reality of the current budget atrocities taking place across the city. Current per pupil funding at Burley will result in the elimination of five teaching positions and reduced or eliminated funding for the following:

Elimination of all art programming

50% Physical Education (students will have PE 2x per month)

25% of technology programming (Burley has a technology magnet cluster designation and is considered a model school for technology programming)

Elimination of reading Specialist (Burley has a literature and Writing Magnet Cluster designation)

Elimination of English Language Learner specialist

No CPS funding for Music (currently funded by parents)

When: Thursday, June 20, 3:00 – 3:30 p.m.

Where: Burley Elementary, 1630 W. Barry Ave.

Why: A world-class city should have world-class schools. Yet, on top of closing 50 schools, CPS is now massacring its most successful schools. Where does that leave our World Class city? How does this provide our students with the mayor’s touted “FULL School Day”? How will schools function without staff? How will students succeed without fundamental programming and curriculum? In 1994 Burley was a FAILING school. Through the hard work of its administration, staff and parent community, Burley has become a jewel within CPS. Now everything this school has worked tirelessly to attain is on the brink of annihilation. Parents at Burley are demanding answers and demanding the restoration of funding to fundamental education programs and positions.

Speakers: Oren Adar, Burley Elementary parent

Amy Smolensky, Burley Elementary parent

Burley Elementary students form various grades

Photo Op: School children and parents rallied together for a single cause.

Contact: If you are interested in attending this event or if you would like to set up an interview, please contact Amy Smolensky at 312-485-0053 or

Amy Smolensky



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