Nurses, Chicago Teachers Union, to hold press conference February 24 denouncing Chicago Public Schools decision to privatize nursing services and undermine health of CPS children...

In coming Chicago Public Schools "Chief Executive Officer" Forrest Claypool (left) stood with press chief Bill McCaffrey (right) at the July 22, 2015 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. Claypool, appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, continued the mayor's attacks on unions by denying a one-year contract extension to the Chicago Teachers Union and continuing the Board of Education's ruthless privatization program for school health services and other services. Claypool came to CPS directly from City Hall, where he had been serving as "Chief of Staff" to Mayor Emanuel. But much of his public career was spent as chief of the Chicago Transit Authority, the second CTA executive (following Ron Huberman) who became chief of the schools of the nation's third largest public school system. Substance photo by David Vance.The Chicago Teachers Union, school nurses, and others will be holding a press conference before the February 24, 2016 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. The nurses and other professionals will denounce the continued privatization of school health services in CPS that was begun just prior to the mayor's appointment of Forrest Claypool as the fourth Chief Executive Officer of CPS.

"Interim CEO" Jesse Ruiz made the recommendation to the Board of Education, to intruduce the privatization Board Report at his final meeting as "Interim Chief Executive Officer" of CPS. The privatization work was approved by the Board under David Vitale, who was ending his time as President of the Chicago Board of Education.

When he became chief, Claypool had no understanding of how to run public schools, but he immediately continued a juggernaut of privatization and union busting.

The $30 million privatization deal was approved by the Board at its June, 2015 meeting. The Board that had been appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel following his May 2011 inauguration included David Vitale and Andrea Zopp, who is currently campaigning for a Senate seat, claiming she should get the Democratic Party nomination on March 15 because of her stellar career in public service. Zopp and her campaign have tried to ignore the hundreds of votes she took as a member of the Board of Education that undermined public services, including her May 2013 vote to close 50 of the city's public schools -- most of them in African American communities.

The cost of the contract to privatize CPS nursing services hiring a New York corporation will total $30 million over the contract's four years, with $7.5 million coming in each of the four years. The proposal to make the deal was made by "Interim CEO" Jesse Ruiz at the June 24, 2015 meeting of the Board of Education. The Board members who voted unanimously to approve the deal did so without discussion or debate. Among those voting for the deal were Andrea Zopp, now running for Senate claiming she has always acted in the best interests of Chicago's communities, and David Vitale. Substance graphic from the Agenda of Action from the June 24, 2015 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. The Board vote to privatize health service came following the disgrace of Rahm's previous Board as a result of the corruption of CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett.

The CTU press release from February 23, 2016 reads as follows:


Feb. 23, 2016 312-329-6250

CPS School Nurses to tell Board of Education to reverse ‘sickening’ decision to privatize their positions and hurt students

CHICAGO – In protest of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) policy to outsource nursing positions and cut services to students with special needs, the Chicago Teachers Union will hold a news conference before tomorrow’s Board of Education meeting to call for a reversal of its “sickening” decision that has hurt students and put so many at risk in school buildings.

WHO: Public school nurses, teachers, parents and CTU leaders, the Illinois Association of School Nurses, and others

WHAT: Will hold a news conference in front of the Chicago Board of Education to decry the district’s nursing privatization scheme that has decreased the level of health care services in CPS schools for the neediest students.

WHEN: Wednesday, February 24, 2016, 9:00 a.m.

WHERE: Board of Education, 42 W. Madison

WHY: At the June 2015 Chicago Board of Education meeting, CPS voted unanimously to approve a $30 million, four-year contract with RCM Technologies for supplemental nursing services, professional development and scheduling. Nine months after the RCM contract was signed—a contract that was promoted as a cost-savings move—nurses throughout the district are reporting shocking stories of untrained nurses who cannot perform basic tasks like operating an epinephrine injection (EpiPen®), completing progress notes for case files or showing up for work assignments. Too often, nurses have said that agency nurses refuse to do their assigned tasks because RCM did not specify those particular tasks when they were scheduled. Nurses have reported a high turnover rate of RCM nurses, exacerbating relationship issues even more.


Chicago Teachers Union says outsourcing nurses bad for students, by Juan Perez Jr. Chicago Tribune, Feb. 23, 2016

The Chicago Teachers Union wants the district to scrap a multimillion-dollar deal for outsourced school nurses, saying in a newly released report that hiring nonunion nurses puts the system's 400,000 students at risk.

The union-produced report says "privatizing the nursing department will create a health disaster in Chicago," and calls on Chicago Public Schools to hire a full-time registered nurse for each school, as well as additional support staff.

In June, the Chicago Board of Education approved a four-year nursing staff contract for up to $30 million with RCM Technologies Inc. The district asked the New York-based firm to improve the scheduling, training and recruiting practices for school nurses.

CTU concerns about school nursing services are part of a broader debate over the availability of school-based "wraparound" services — which include health care — for at-risk students.

The union says CPS nurses struggle to meet the demands of complying with specialized learning plans for students with disabilities, not to mention the needs of other pupils.

But the debate is also political, since many CPS nurses are CTU members who hold protections under the union's expired labor contract with the district. The union has been a frequent critic of district efforts to privatize its operations.

Some of the union-member registered nurses, known as certified school nurses, hold educator licenses and are the only personnel cleared to assess the special education needs of students.

Those nurses are required to attend regular school meetings with special education personnel.

CPS has turned to private contractors to supply nurses before, but the union report argues the latest deal is intended to "eventually eliminate the union nursing positions" and replace them with temporary staffers who don't receive employment benefits that include pensions.

"Rather than fully funding certified school nurses, CPS is cutting corners with private contracts which fail to save money and have serious health impacts on kids," the union said.

"Their budget practices and priorities are starving students of adequate health services."

The district's nursing plan presents a threat to the most vulnerable students, the union report argued.

"These students need full-time, professional nurses who know their needs and are dedicated to improving their health. CPS should not be outsourcing the health care of our students."

Union nurses plan to protest the district contract Wednesday prior to the school board's monthly meeting.

The district said many of the company's "supplemental" nurses reported to the same school and that few students have experienced a change to their primary care nurse.

"CPS is providing more nursing services to more students because our partnership with RCM is filling critical vacancies and supplementing services the district provides," district spokeswoman Emily Bittner said in a statement.


February 25, 2016 at 11:16 AM

By: JCairo

Substitute Nurses

I am a cadre sub, I'm at a different school everyday, I have seen a lot of substitute nurses, the nurses are happy they have jobs, but a regular nurse would be more apparent of the students and their medical needs.

March 17, 2016 at 11:35 AM

By: Emily O'Toole

CPS Nursing

I am a Certified School Nurse, working at four different schools in the Chicago's west side. My caseloads are unmanageable and i'm continually worried about my license being in jeopardy. I am holding out, thinking there needs to be darkness before we see the light, but at this point I am fed up. What kind of society are we living in if we can't value the people that are teaching and caring for our children?

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