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Raise Your Hand challenges CPS version of why to 'Go To Springfield'... The poison pill in 'SB318' and why students and principals are being tricked about how to fix CPS finances...

For several months, while the President of the Chicago Teachers Union has refused to continue the union's independent budget analysis while Chicago Public Schools claims it is "broke," parents and others have continued to note that the ploys of CPS are not the way to solving the problems of CPS. The facts known to everyone who has ever studied the CPS budgets (led, for several years by this reporter, first in the pre-CORE days and then for a time within CORE), is that CPS problems are both with revenues and finances.

CPS revenues come from three major sources (and a few minor ones): Local property taxes; State revenues; and federal funds. The few other sources of revenues (grants, one-time donations, etc.). Contrary to the Rahm-Claypool version of reality, the bulk of CPS finances come from local property taxes. And the problem we face in Springfield is that every state legislator knows that Chicago property tax payers are now paying the lowest of anyone in the six-county area. (This is not only my analysis, which was once shared with the CTU leadership, but also the findings, with ruthless documentation, of the Civic Federation -- now going back five years). As every state legislator will tell CPS (and CTU) witnesses on this question, "You get what you pay for." And Chicago has long chosen not to pay for local services, most notably the public schools.

Then there are expenses. Every month, the Chicago Board of Education meets and, as it did against on October 28, 2015, votes to waste millions of dollars on bureaucracy expansion and privatization, among other things. Even as Forrest Claypool and the Board members were voting to add more bureaucracy and added privatization schemes, Claypool was allowing the principals to release students from school to go to the rally at the Thompson Center.

On November 9, 2015, Raise Your Hand distributed the following:

The CPS Budget Mess- Keep pushing for solutions

CPS sent a toolkit out to all principals last week asking them to have parents lobby the state for $480M to solve the CPS deficit. CPS is in serious fiscal trouble, and RYH has been advocating for solutions at the state, city and CPS levels for many months. CPS has not included information in their toolkit about the bill that they are pushing,and RYH does not think that the current bill, SB318, has much of a chance of passing.

Premise of the bill the state will help CPS by capping its pension payments for two years and contributing most of the cost only for those two years. After that, CPS will need to resume much larger payments without increased state funding. The bill is also premised on the state overhauling the current funding formula for education with no details on what will be included in the new formula when it is developed. CPS loses the special education block grant.

Theres no guarantee that CPS will be in any better shape financially with this bill in two years than they are now. Where are the long-term sustainable solutions? This is another short-term fix to help us get through a crisis. Weve been there before in 2010 when all parties signed on to a pension holiday. Our kids will still be in this system in two years and well be dealing with the same problem.

RYHs position is that we need a new bill. Springfield must be part of the solution for sustainable funding for our district.

We agree that CPS should get help with the pension payment but not with the trade-off of a blank funding formula and the loss of the block grant. Also, the city and CPS can do more to help chip away at the deficit (i.e., by cutting wasteful contracts and reforming the TIF program.)

Also, people have asked us why CPS wont benefit from the property tax increase and that is because the city and CPS have separate tax levies and budgets. CPS cannot raise property taxes past a state-mandated cap without a voter referendum in Chicago or a change to state law.

So what should you do? We say you should communicate about the need for revenue to your state reps and aldermen and keep sharing the info that CPS can cut contracts. Here are our solutions.

ABC: CPS enlists parents for unprecedented blitz on Springfield

CPS Students leading the way in budget cut protests!

CPS students have begun rallying to protect their classrooms from devastating budget cuts. These students have been showing up in massive force at rallies over the past few weeks. If you have a HS student let them know about the organizing that students are doing. We hear these students are having another rally this Friday at the Thompson Center at noon. WGN

DNAinfo

Jones Blueprint



Comments:

November 10, 2015 at 10:18 PM

By: Neal Resnikoff

No to cuts to public schools and social services

This is an article from the November For Peace and Justice, newsletter of Albany Park, North Park, Mayfair Neighbors for Peace and Justice.

The Mayors and Governors Budget Attacks on the People: Do Not Accept Cuts to Public Schools & Social Services

Chicago schools and other social services are under big attack by those controlling the purse strings at both the City and State levels--with the corporations and banks standing behind them, pulling the strings, with their hands and pocketbooks open:

--Chicago schools have already seen millions of dollars in cuts to special education, English language instruction, and other programs throughout the city. Cuts in our neighborhood:

--Roosevelt High School-- cut by at least $872,000 for this year--with loss of teachers and courses and larger class sizes. Many students at RHS walked out and some rallied inside on October 5 and 6 to protest losses--including electives and programs and teachers.

--Northside College Prep High School $400,000; Bateman Elementary, $30,000; Patrick Henry Elementary, $120,000; Hibbard Elementary, $467,000; North River Elementary, $104,000; Peterson Elementary, $37,000; Volta Elementary, $309,000.

--Theres the threat of more drastic cuts by the un-elected School Board with possible lay-offs of 5,000 teachers to be decided upon within the next month or so and announced then.

--There have already been cuts to mental health centers and adult programs such as those at the Albany Park Community Center and its English as a Second Language, Adult Basic Education, and GED high school equivalency classes.

Why is this? What can we do about it?

Mayor Emanuel, his appointed School Board, and Governor Rauner are all crying Broke, saying there are billions in deficits, and that workers and their rights must be cut, as well as the services people receive.

Broke is just an excuse: First, the city and state governments keep taking out billions in loans, which means high interest payments of hundreds of millions. This is a transfer of our taxes to the banks, and to other buddies of the politicians who hold the purse strings and finance their election campaigns. And they have used other schemes that lead to broke.

This has been done over the years under both Democrats and Republicans. Now, for example, Democrats hold a super majority in the State Legislature, with the ability to over-ride any veto of a Democratic bill by Republican Governor Rauner, or derail his anti-labor agenda.

We can see that crying broke is a cover-up: Two out of three corporations in Illinois pay no taxes on their profits (chicagobusiness.com/article/20140219/). Why doesnt either party insist on collecting these billions? Also, those whose incomes are in

the upper hundreds of thousands a year, or millions, or billions pay a lower percentage of their wealth in income taxes than those of us who make much less.

Further, even a small tax on financial transactions at the stocks and commodities exchanges and other exchanges would also bring in an estimated $6-$12 billion a year.

Revenues from just these three sources would more than wipe out the deficits being claimed.

So, what can we do? Shouldnt we the people oppose even one more penny in property taxes or any other kinds of taxes that are being imposed, and, instead, call for a roll back of all tax increases passed by the City and County this year? Shouldnt we demand what many protesters are calling for: Make the Rich Pay?

To do this means not only spreading these facts. It also means getting well organized so we can insist that this be done. We need to become the decision-makers, starting with the decision to fight back rather than accept all the attacks.

After all, the attacks on public schools are not only from budget cuts. Schools have been forced to take up a narrow corporate curriculum that is called the Common Core Standards, and the harmful standardized tests that go with it. These tests, known as PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers), are grading up to 7 or 8 out of every 10 students as failures. The standardized tests of this sort are already being used to unfairly punish teachers and schools. President Obamas call on October 24th for limiting standardized tests to 2% of class time still will mean 23 hours or more of testing each year for each student, plus test preparation time, an unacceptable cut in classroom time needed for a broad education.

A main aim of the corporations and their politicians is to narrow the curriculum and replace public education with the form of privatization known as charter schools. The push by the big corporations for the curriculum content of Common Core is to turn out obedient employees who do not think about social problems. Meanwhile the corporations skim billions more in profits from public schools across the U.S.

Lets join the hundreds of thousands already in action throughout the U.S.--as in the opt-out campaign last year to boycott the harmful standardized tests. The hunger strikers of the Dyett High School Coalition, fighting for community control in Chicagos Bronzeville, are an inspiration for everyone participating in the struggles taking place across the City and U.S.

Albany Park, North Park, Mayfair Neighbors for Peace and Justice773.250.3335. Justice.yes@juno.com

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