NIX THE NETWORKS: Chicago's Board of Education voted unanimously to approve Forrest Claypool's 'Final Budget' for the 2016 - 2017 school year, even though one key bit of basic math was off by about 300 percent!...

According to one of the many pie charters provided within the Proposed Budget, the number of people working in the so-called "Networks" in Chicago's vast public school system is only 160. Actually, according to the Board of Education's own "Position File" (the document that gives the names of every person working at CPS), the number of people working in the "Networks" as of August 2016 is more than double what CPS officials told the Board and the public during the budget hearings and at the Board's August 24 meeting. But none of the Board members asked precise questions about any of the budget claims presented to them by Forrest Claypool, the latest "Chief Executive Officer" of Chicago's public school system.Hypocrisy? It's not hypocrisy if you have the power to lie and get away with it, and if the dominant media in Chicago look the other way while you are lying. If the members of the Chicago Board of Education were being judged based on the same so-called 'performance metrics' that they are trying to apply to the city's teachers, children and schools, they would have rated as failures -- a grade that once was a clear F -- after they voted on August 24, 2016 to approve the budget for the 2016 - 2017 school year. Dozens of lies, half truths, and simplistic talking points were in front of them in the 256-page document called the "Final Budget," but they didn't care and they were never about to challenge any of the nonsense they were putting their names on.

Just one small example can be seen in the claim that the total number of people working in the school system's so-called "Networks" is 160. That number was in front of all the Board members in a pie chart in their budget. The actual number of people working in the "Networks" (which are basically sub districts) is more than 400, but what does a simple math error matter to those appointed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to rule over the city's more than 600 public and charter schools?

Here (again) are the facts about the so-called "Networks" in Chicago's public schools, just one of dozens of lies in the budget now being praised and quoted by Chicago's corporate media as the beginning of the school year looms and the city's teachers, who have gone for more than a year without a contract (while enduring cuts of more than 1,000 of their colleagues) promise to strike before Halloween if the lies are not corrected.

According to the CPS Position File for August 2016, there are many more people working in the "Network" offices than the Board's highly paid executives published in the Proposed Budget provided to the public in August 2016.

In July 2015, shortly after he was appointed "Chief Executive Officer" of Chicago's public schools by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Forrest Claypool (who had been working as Emanuel's Chief of Staff at City Hall) appointed Roland Denard (above with microphone) to the newly created position of "Vice President for Finances" at CPS. Above, Denard is seen speaking about the 2016 - 2017 budget at the August 24, 2016 meeting of the Board, while Claypool is in the background. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Chicago's public schools this school year will have at least 13 so-called "Networks." They are all listed in the Board's Position File under "Network." But there are also an equal number of people listed separately in so-called "Network Support." And, finally, CPS has at least two -- and possible four -- entities that are functioning as networks but which are not called "Networks." In total, CPS has at least 15 Networks and more than 400 -- not 160 -- people working today in the Networks.

Any of the seven members of the Board of Education could have examined the Board's own "data", in this case, the Position File, and learned enough to at least ask an intelligent question about the poor math in Claypool's presentation. A quick review of the "Network" entries in the CPS Position File for August 2016 shows the following:

Total in each Network August 2016

First, there are 289 positions listed in the listings for “Networks” and “Network Supports.” A far cry from 160. And there is no explanation in the budget of how this problem is resolved.

In each of the Networks themselves, there are many more positions than add up to 160.

Network 1, seven people, eight position

Network 2, seven people, eight positions

Network 3, 12 people, 15 positions

Network 4, 11 people, 11 positions

Network 5, 9 people, 11 positions

Network 6, 54 people, 56 positions!

Network 7, 6 people, 7 positions

Network 8, 8 people, 9 positions

Network 9, 17 people, 19 positions

Network 10, 6 people, 7 positions

Network 11, 14 people, 16 positions

Network 12, 8 people, 10 positions

Network 13, 11 people, 12 positions

Network support (a separate entry following the 13 network listings): 99 positions.

Also, there is a "Network" (at least, an entity that has a "Chief of Schools," which is what the officer in charge of each network is called) for AUSL -- the Academy for Urban School Leadership. That "network" alone has more than 100 positions, according to the Position File, which calls this entry "AUSL Program Support"

In addition to the cost of the Networks, a growing number of teachers (and even some principals, those who don't simply bow and scrape before their "Chiefs of Schools") are demanding to know why people from "The Network" are lording over the schools. In one of the most scandalous examples currently, network people are vetoing IEPs for children in the schools in their network -- even though the network IEP guardian has never seen the child and has not taken part in the IEP process, as required by law.

As more teachers and principals (and some parents) get a closer look at the networks, more questions will doubtless arise.


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