CPS FINANCE FACTS: Network costs increasing despite Claypool claims that he's 'reduced administration' to the bone (and beyond beyond...)...

By the time he was selected by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to be "Chief Executive Officer" of Chicago's public schools, Forrest Claypool had proved his qualifications to head the nation's third largest school system by having served as head of the Chicago Transit Authority (above, at an El stop). Claypool imported more than $2 million worth of transit experts into the CPS bureaucracy after his quickie appointment as schools chief in July 2015. Claypool's predecessor in the job, Barbara Byrd Bennett, had been imported from Michigan by Emanuel, who routinely ignores local Chicago education expertise when selecting his local education leadership team. Byrd Bennett is currently awaiting sentencing for her role in the $20 million "SUPES scandal", while Emanuel's first CEO, Jean Claude Brizard, was given a golden parachute to a job at the College Board after Emanuel dumped him following the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012. Each new administrator brings in a group of cronies at the top (and top salaries) at CPS. And after the top officials are gone, many of the cronies remain in highly paid positions. Despite claims by Chicago Public Schools "Chief Executive Officer" Forrest Claypool that under his administration the costs of the administrative bureaucracy has been reduced to the lowest possible levels, the facts based on a close examination of CPS expenses show otherwise. In addition to the more than $2 million cost of the "Claypool Cronies" (the Board's lawyer and a dozen other six-figure people Clayppol brought to the public schools from the Chicago Transit Authority because when you are running a school system, the best place to find real talent is among people who knew how to make the buses and trains run on time), another major cost of personnel is hidden, for the most part, in the so-called "Networks."

The "Networks," in Chicago's public school system, for those who don't have a current CPS jargon dictionary handy. are the sub-districts across the city. Whereas other major school systems have sub districts run by sub-district "superintendents", Chicago, unique in so many ways, has abolished sub-districts and replaced them with so-called "Networks." And whereas other major school systems have superintendents, in Chicago the "Networks" are run by people called "Chiefs of Schools." And whereas in virtually every other major school district in the USA, administrators are required to have state teacher and administrator licensing and experience, in Chicago a "Network" bureaucrat, like the "CEO" and his minions, can have come from anywhere, especially, in many cases, NOT Chicago.

Chicago, the nation's third largest public school system, is currently the only one run by a former head of public transportation for the city. Forrest Claypool was appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who because of Illinois law has the power to appoint the so-called "Chief Executive Officer" of CPS, the seven members of the Board of Education, and the Chief Education Officer. In turn, the CEO and the CEdO appoint numerous others to run the school system. Since Clayppol's July 2015 appointment (following the resignation of his predecessor, Barbara Byrd Bennett, who is currently awaiting sentencing in the "SUPES Scandal) he has surrounded himself with veteran bus and subway executives who like their chief had no public education experience or credentials before Emanuel discovered their talents included operating a school system with almost 400,000 students and more than 600 schools.

Although CPS never ceases pushing out talking points about how it has little or no "administrative bureaucracy", there are currently 13 named "Networks" in the system and three other networks that aren't called "Networks." Each is run by a chief who has a deputy who has several subordinates who have... well, you get it.

Take for one example, "Network 13". "Network 13" covers elementary schools on Chicago's far South Side. The Network offices are located in an office building on South Western Ave. (not in a vacant public school building, worth noting). The "Chief of Schools" for "Network 13" this school year is Karen Saffold. Saffold does have some experience in Chicago's public schools before she was elevated to that job title. Her current annual salary is $160,000. Her office includes ten administrators and bureaucrats, most of whom are paid in the in six figures. But none of them are bureaucrats, let alone "administrators." All of them are "instructional personnel." So when CPS discusses things like how much money is going to the schools and classrooms, everyone in the "Network offices" is the same as a teacher.

Since the Chicago Teachers Union decided not to investigate the CPS budget, but simply to follow behind Forrest Claypool in whatever the latest Claypool Claims might be, there has been no public critique of these expenses, let alone a challenge to the current miasma, even in court. On April 4, CPS was in court refusing to provide the court with factual information about its budget, while claiming that it may be forced to close schools in June because of a "deficit". The problem in 2017 is that there is no longer an independent analysis of CPS claims within the system.

The Chicago Teachers Union is currently claiming, along with Claypool, that all revenues have to come from Springfield. Even as the second of four furlough days looms (Friday, April 7, is the next) CTU is silent in the face of growing demands from its rank and file that more be done about these acts and threatened acts by Claypool. Instead, however, the CTU president continues to go to the press before the rank and file or the union's House of Delegates are consulted. The House of Delegates meets on April 5, two days before the next furlough, and was supposed to vote on whether to do another one-day "strike" on May 1. But after intense opposition in the schools and similar opposition at the April 3 Executive Board meeting, the union's officers realized they couldn't bring off another one day so-called "strike" like the one they oversaw on April Fool's Day 2016.


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