Monday, August 15, 2016

Politicians Shift Blame to Chicago Teachers for a School Funding and Pension Crisis | janresseger

Politicians Shift Blame to Chicago Teachers for a School Funding and Pension Crisis | janresseger:

Politicians Shift Blame to Chicago Teachers for a School Funding and Pension Crisis


It is really, really hard to parse out the problems in the Chicago Public Schools less than a month from the beginning of the school year. What is clear is that all the years of financial shenanigans in the school district’s management including long-running borrowing from the teachers’ pension fund to pay for the district’s operating expenses, and the budget crisis in Illinois as Governor Bruce Rauner made the state go through last fiscal year without a budget, and the rapid expansion of a charter school sector that has sucked even more students (and state aid) out of neighborhood schools in a school district with an already declining population—all this—is falling on the backs of school teachers. They have been working without a contract for a year and they want a reasonable raise.  And 500 of them just got laid off because school budgets have been cut across the board.
Here is Chicago Sun-Times’ reporter Andy Grimm summarizing the problem: “The financial woes of the Chicago Public schools ha(ve) provided the city’s principals with a deep pool of experienced applicants for teaching jobs.  CPS last week sent layoff notices to 500 teachers as principals across the cash-strapped district cut their budgets for the (2016-2017) school year. Another 500-plus non-teaching staff were also laid off. Social studies teacher Robert DiPrima carried a sheaf of resumes—and a heavy heart—to a CPS job fair…. His talks with principals were encouraging, but DiPrima still was shocked at being cut from the faculty at Jane Addams Elementary after 16 years at the South Side school… District officials have said they expect many of the teachers who lost jobs at one school will find new spots among the 1,000 teacher vacancies expected across the district… The budget crunch in CPS makes DiPrima wonder if, despite his master’s degree and National Board certification, his experience wouldn’t be a liability when budget-conscious principals are weighing him against younger candidates who are lower on the CPS pay scale.”
Part of all this, of course, is a threat to make the Chicago Teachers Union agree to a contract with teachers’ accepting a major sacrifice to keep the district afloat. The union and the district are in the midst of contract negotiations. Juan Perez, writing for the Chicago Tribune, explained the implicit threat last week: “Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool on Tuesday warned that cuts to the classroom would be necessary if teachers don’t agree to Politicians Shift Blame to Chicago Teachers for a School Funding and Pension Crisis | janresseger:

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