WBEZ | Chicago Public Schools http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-public-schools Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago Board of Education passes budget, banks on imaginary money http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-board-education-passes-budget-banks-imaginary-money-112740 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/boardofed_lutton.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">The Chicago Board of Education unanimously approved a multibillion dollar budget that relies on imaginary money on Wednesday.</p><p>District officials admitted the $5.7 billion operating budget will need to be amended after the school year starts.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We recognize this is a budget that is far from ideal,&rdquo; said Ginger Ostro, Chicago Public Schools Chief Financial Officer.</p><p>The budget relies on almost $500 million from Springfield, even though the Illinois General Assembly hasn&rsquo;t agreed to send the district any additional money. CPS leaders are in conversations with top state lawmakers.</p><p dir="ltr">CPS will also rely on a $1 billion short-term line of credit to make all of its payments on time. Ostro outlined the cash flow problems it keeps running into in February and June thanks to large debt and pension payments the district is required to make.</p><p>&ldquo;You can see that it comes very close,&rdquo; Ostro said, pointing to a chart showing revenues and expenses over the course of the school year. &ldquo;Unfortunately, those payments are due right before we get those big boosts in revenue (from property taxes).&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Legally, CPS and all districts in Illinois must pass a budget before the school year starts, and amendments made later on aren&rsquo;t unprecedented. CPS amended its operating budget for the 2012-13 school year in October, after the district settled its contract fight with the Chicago Teachers Union.</p><p>Board Vice President Jesse Ruiz asked district budget officials to brief Board members every month until the budget is truly finalized.</p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:24px;">More high level departures</span></p><p>Two top officials announced Wednesday they&rsquo;d be leaving CPS, continuing a flurry of leadership changes for the district.</p><p dir="ltr">CPS General Counsel James Bebley announced his retirement from the Board of Education during Wednesday&rsquo;s meeting and later in the day, Aarti Dhupelia, told WBEZ she would leave her post for a new opportunity at National Louis University.</p><p>Dhupelia led the district&rsquo;s Office of College and Career Success for the past two years, overseeing college counseling, attendance and truancy, student discipline and the expansion of STEM and International Baccalaureate programs in many of the district&rsquo;s high schools.</p><p dir="ltr">Her last day will be Tuesday, September 1 and later next month she will take over as Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at the downtown Chicago university.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s really an extension of the work I&rsquo;ve been doing in CPS, because I&rsquo;ve really been focused on how do we prepare students to be successful in college, career and life,&rdquo; Dhupelia told WBEZ over the phone late Wednesday.</p><p dir="ltr">One key initiative Dhupelia will be tasked with overseeing is the Harrison Professional Pathways Program at NLU, which allows eligible students to earn their bachelor&rsquo;s degree at a reduced tuition rate of $10,000 per year.</p><p>NLU President Nivine Megahed said the first group of about 85 students start the program next week and will also receive counseling and other help that will prevent them from dropping out. Megahed first met Dhupelia working on an initiative CPS launched to improve the number of public school graduates who finish college.</p><p dir="ltr">Dhupelia said the choice to leave had nothing to do with leadership change at the top of CPS.&nbsp; Last month, Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed close confidant and government fixer Forrest Claypool.</p><p>&ldquo;I know you joked when we got on the phone that I should be smiling because I&rsquo;m leaving CPS, but I&rsquo;ve loved it here,&rdquo; Dhupelia said.</p><p dir="ltr">The district&rsquo;s General Counsel James Bebley will retire from the Board after 22 years. He served as the district&rsquo;s top attorney since 2012 and most recently dealt with federal subpoenas related to an investigation by the FBI into former CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett and a no-bid $20.5 million contract awarded to her former employer, SUPES Academy.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Dyett hunger strike in Day 10</span></p><p dir="ltr">A group of 12 parents and community activists from Chicago&rsquo;s Bronzeville neighborhood continued their hunger strike over the re-opening of Dyett High School.</p><p>Several people involved in that fight made the trip downtown to speak to the Board. Jeanette Taylor Ramann was one of them. She took the mic after Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th) ceded her time at the beginning of the public comment period.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I should not be hungry in 2015 over a neighborhood high school that is supposed to belong to the community,&rdquo; Taylor Ramann said, shortly before she tried to leave the Board chambers and nearly collapsed. District officials called an ambulance and a paramedic treated her as the meeting continued. One board member, Jesse Ruiz, got up from his seat briefly to check on what was happening. It is unclear what Taylor Ramann&rsquo;s status was as of publication.</p><p>The struggle over Dyett High School goes back to the rapid loss of enrollment the school experienced when the Chicago Housing Authority tore down high-rise public housing in Bronzeville. In 2011, CPS put it on the list of schools it planned to close, and stopped adding new grades in fall of 2012.</p><p dir="ltr">The group that&rsquo;s now on a hunger strike fought the closure and in 2013, created a plan to open a new neighborhood high school, called the Dyett Global Leadership and Green Technology High School. After about a year and a half of trying to get the Board&rsquo;s attention, former CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett agreed to reopen the school, but put out a request for proposals instead of picking up the group&rsquo;s plan.</p><p>The coalition submitted their plan in the RFP process, which was supposed to end with a voteat Wednesday&rsquo;s board meeting, but the change in leadership at CPS prompted officials to push a decision out to September.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Becky Vevea is an education reporter for WBEZ. You can reach her at bvevea@wbez.org and follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/wbezeducation">@WBEZeducation</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 26 Aug 2015 17:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-board-education-passes-budget-banks-imaginary-money-112740 Morning Shift: August 25, 2015 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-25/morning-shift-august-25-2015-112721 <p><p>There was a big shakeup in the Chicago Public Schools earlier this year: Barbara Byrd Bennett was replaced as CEO amid an investigation into a no-bid contract given to her former employer...and Mayor Emanuel replaced a series of board members. One of those board members joins us today to talk about his tenure, and his suggestions for current and future leadership at the district. We&rsquo;ve been hearing a lot about the Chinese economy and what it means for global financial markets, but what could it mean for home prices here in Chicago? Crain&rsquo;s Chicago Business real estate reporter Dennis Rodkin is in to talk about it. And...are you happy with your body? Most people say they aren&rsquo;t. Later on in the show we sit down with Danielle Pinnock. She turned a study about body image into a one-woman show.</p></p> Tue, 25 Aug 2015 10:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-25/morning-shift-august-25-2015-112721 Former CPS board member reflects on his tenure http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-25/former-cps-board-member-reflects-his-tenure-112719 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/cps logo crop.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In early June, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel chose four new Board of Education members to replace those whose terms were ending. Three of the four that were replaced voted for the no-bid contract that sparked the federal investigation that led to the ouster of CPS chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett. That fourth member, who did not vote for the contract, is Carlos Azcoitia. Azcoitia served as a teacher, a principal, and an administrator before joining the board. Late last week he penned a column for the education publication Catalyst Chicago outlining his thoughts on how the board operates, and suggestions for new members as they move forward. Azcoitia joins us to share some of those thoughts.</p></p> Tue, 25 Aug 2015 10:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-25/former-cps-board-member-reflects-his-tenure-112719 One take on what’s wrong with Chicago’s schools budget http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-19/one-take-what%E2%80%99s-wrong-chicago%E2%80%99s-schools-budget-112684 <p><p>Tuesday night, Chicago Public Schools held three simultaneous hearings, where the public got to weigh in on the district&rsquo;s proposed budget for the 2016 fiscal year. That budget includes hundreds of layoffs, and a variety of other cuts. It also relies on 480 million dollars from Springfield that may or may not materialize. Rod Estvan is the education policy analyst for Access Living, the disability advocacy group. He says 2015-2016 is an especially critical year for special education. He was at the public hearing at Schurz High School on the Northwest Side to testify about changes he&rsquo;d like to see CPS make before the board votes on the budget next week.</p></p> Wed, 19 Aug 2015 11:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-19/one-take-what%E2%80%99s-wrong-chicago%E2%80%99s-schools-budget-112684 Morning Shift: August 12, 2015 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-12/morning-shift-august-12-2015-112634 <p><p>Chicago Public Schools announced this morning that it&rsquo;s eliminating its contribution to non-union staff&rsquo;s pensions: the so-called &ldquo;pension pick-up.&rdquo; So, what does that mean for teachers? We have a conversation with CPS CEO Forrest Claypool about the troubles facing the nation&rsquo;s third largest school district, and what else he thinks needs to happen to help get CPS out of its deeper fiscal hole. Plus, we hear from CTU president Karen Lewis.</p><p>Then, here&rsquo;s a sobering statistic: People with mental illness die 25 years earlier on average than those with sound mental health. That&rsquo;s according to one study. We find out what can be done to close that gap.</p><p>And in this week&#39;s Reclaimed Soul preview, Vocalo&rsquo;s Ayana Contreras stops by with some gems from her vast record collection. This week the focus is on live performances recorded in some of our nation&rsquo;s prisons.</p></p> Wed, 12 Aug 2015 12:11:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-12/morning-shift-august-12-2015-112634 Chicago Public Schools CEO on pension shortfall, other issues http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-12/chicago-public-schools-ceo-pension-shortfall-other-issues-112633 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/forrestclayool.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Right now Chicago Public Schools picks up 7 percent of employees&rsquo; pension contributions. But CPS plans to phase out its portion for certain classes of employees, including non-union workers beginning with the August 24 paycheck.</p><p>Forrest Claypool, the newly-appointed CEO of Chicago Public Schools, says everyone must pitch in if the goal is to protect the classroom and teacher&#39;s pensions. Many say the school district is facing its most serious fiscal challenge in years &mdash; and at the heart of it all: pensions and how to pay for them.</p><p>CPS released its budget this week and it includes a variety of cost-saving measures, including 480 teachers layoffs. Critics call it unbalanced because it covers a pension shortfall with hundreds of millions of dollars from Springfield, which is far from guaranteed. But CPS officials say they have no choice but to rely on help from the capital, and that if that help doesn&rsquo;t come through, more borrowing and even deeper cuts will be necessary.</p><p>Claypool joins us to talk about all of this and what it means for students and teachers.</p></p> Wed, 12 Aug 2015 11:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-12/chicago-public-schools-ceo-pension-shortfall-other-issues-112633 Chicago Teachers Union president responds to pension shortfall http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-12/chicago-teachers-union-president-responds-pension-shortfall-112632 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/karen lewis becky vevea.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, responds to the comments made by Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool.</p></p> Wed, 12 Aug 2015 11:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-12/chicago-teachers-union-president-responds-pension-shortfall-112632 CTU president Karen Lewis calls potential pension payment increase 'strike-worthy' http://www.wbez.org/news/ctu-president-karen-lewis-calls-potential-pension-payment-increase-strike-worthy-112598 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/IMG_5569_0.JPG" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-9eb84d3e-0a32-ff51-29b2-baa4734a89e3">Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis is sounding the alarm: Ongoing contract negotiations with Chicago Public Schools, and says the notion that teachers should pay more into Chicago&rsquo;s severely underfunded teachers pension fund is &ldquo;strike-worthy.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Union representatives told reporters Friday that public school teachers would likely start the school year without a contract. Their latest contract expired on June 30th, and CTU and the school district began negotiating a new one last November.</p><p dir="ltr">But now, Lewis says CPS is withdrawing its proposal for a one-year collective bargaining agreement, which in her words &ldquo;resets the clock&rdquo; on those discussions.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;They could have been the heroes in this. But instead, Sheriff Claypool has decided just blow things up and show us just how tough he can be,&rdquo; Lewis said, referring to the newly-appointed CPS CEO Forrest Claypool.</p><p dir="ltr">Both Claypool and Mayor Rahm Emanuel have said teachers should pay more into the severely underfunded Chicago Teachers Pension Fund. As part of the mayor&rsquo;s so-called &ldquo;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-emanuel-warn-deep-cuts-layoffs-school-district-112301">grand bargain</a>&rdquo; regarding the pension crisis, Emanuel wants teachers to pay the full 9 percent cost of pensions, rather than the 2 percent they currently contribute. On Friday, Lewis said she considers that proposal &ldquo;strike worthy.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Whether or not a flip-flop or breach of trust will lead to a work stoppage this school year will be decided by our members at the appropriate time,&rdquo; she said. Technically, there are a few legal and bureaucratic hoops the union would have to jump through in order to officially walk out of the classroom; so if they did vote to strike, union members suggested that likely wouldn&rsquo;t happen until winter.</p><p dir="ltr">In a statement, a CPS spokesperson said that the district &ldquo;remains dedicated to reaching a multi-year agreement with our teachers&rdquo; and, &ldquo;will continue to negotiate in good faith at the bargaining table to reach an agreement on a broader and longer contract that is beneficial for our children, their teachers, the taxpayers and the entire system.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The two sides are expected to meet again next week.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ politics reporter. Follow her<a href="http://twitter.com/triciabobeda"> </a><a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 07 Aug 2015 16:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/ctu-president-karen-lewis-calls-potential-pension-payment-increase-strike-worthy-112598 Study: School districts don't know how to help teachers http://www.wbez.org/news/study-school-districts-dont-know-how-help-teachers-112559 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/9771112155_d57838aed4_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A new report out today finds school systems don&rsquo;t really know how to help teachers improve, despite a huge financial investment in training.</p><p>The report, titled <a href="http://tntp.org/assets/documents/TNTP-Mirage_2015.pdf">The Mirage</a>, is being released by <a href="http://tntp.org/">TNTP</a>, a non-profit focused on effective teaching.</p><p>The findings show that nearly seven of 10 teachers in the districts studied showed no improvement on their evaluation ratings -- or even declined -- over the last few years. Where there was improvement, researchers could find no link to specific training or development strategies</p><p>The report surveyed teachers in three large school districts and one charter school network, but does not name them. However, the findings <a href="http://www.educators4excellence.org/ChicagoPD">echo those</a> of <a href="http://catalyst-chicago.org/2015/06/teachers-call-for-better-professional-development-report/">a local study released in June</a> by the Chicago chapter of <a href="http://chicago.educators4excellence.org/">Educators for Excellence</a>.</p><p>Dejernet Farder, a first grade teacher at Morton School of Excellence on the West Side of Chicago, is part of Educators for Excellence and said, although her school does a pretty good job with development, many of the districtwide trainings are not helpful.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been to many that just kind of feel like a powerpoint slide, it&rsquo;s just an adult talking at us,&rdquo; Farder said. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s no room for discussion, no room for exploration. And just like kids don&rsquo;t learn that way, adults don&rsquo;t learn that way either.&rdquo;</p><p>CPS has an online professional development tool, called Learning Hub, that allows teachers to give &ldquo;Yelp-like&rdquo; reviews, Farder said. But nine of 10 teachers surveyed by Educators for Excellence said they rarely or never used it.</p><p>The misalignment of professional development and improving teacher practice is not new. But concern is growing, now that CPS has overhauled teacher evaluations.</p><p>&ldquo;Right now, I&rsquo;m getting feedback from a principal and then basically left with, &lsquo;How do I fix this?&rsquo;&rdquo; Farder said.</p><p>She said she hopes CPS will take a close look at what it&rsquo;s already doing and figure out how trainings can be more useful to classroom teachers.</p><p><em>Becky Vevea is an education reporter for WBEZ. You can reach her at <a href="mailto:bvevea@wbez.org">bvevea@wbez.org</a> and follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/WBEZeducation">@WBEZeducation</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 04 Aug 2015 17:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/study-school-districts-dont-know-how-help-teachers-112559 CPS budget cuts hit special education students http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-budget-cuts-hit-special-education-students-112512 <p><p dir="ltr">Phillip Cantor got called into an emergency meeting last week at the school where he teaches&mdash;North-Grand High School on Chicago&rsquo;s West Side. The district&rsquo;s central office had just sent over the budget for the coming school year.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We had some cuts at our school, but seemed to be doing better than other schools in our area,&rdquo; Cantor, who&#39;s chair of the Science Department, said. &ldquo;And then we realized when we got further into the budget, we were losing $318,000 specifically for special ed services.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">It would mean the school would have to cut about three special education teachers or six full-time aides.</p><p dir="ltr">Cantor said there&rsquo;s no way it would work.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re barely meeting the kids&rsquo; requirements now,&rdquo; he said.</p><p dir="ltr">Earlier this month, Jesse Ruiz, the vice president of the School Board who at the time was leading the district interim CPS CEO, announced that more than 500 special education teachers would be laid off districtwide. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the cuts, which included special ed, &ldquo;unconscionable and intolerable.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The move, he said, came after Chicago Public Schools conducted an 18-month review of services and staffing for students with special needs and found that even as enrollment in special ed was declining, the number of staff was increasing.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The long-term goal is for more students with unique learning needs to be able to receive services at their neighborhood schools,&rdquo; he said.</p><p dir="ltr">But the district has kept pretty quiet about how it&rsquo;s going about making changes to how special education is delivered.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;When we looked more closely, there was a line in the budget that said All Means All pilot,&rdquo; Cantorsaid. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">If you haven&rsquo;t heard of All Means All, you&rsquo;re not alone. The district made no formal announcement about it and some of the 102 schools now in the pilot didn&rsquo;t know they would be part of it until their budgets came. Last year, about two dozen schools were part of the program.</p><p dir="ltr">Internal district documents provided to WBEZ outline how the All Means All program is designed, and it&rsquo;s complicated, but boils down to what some call &ldquo;student-based budgeting for special education.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Principals get a lump sum amount for special needs students instead of specific staff positions. If that sounds familiar, it&rsquo;s because that&rsquo;s the way the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-principals-get-more-flexibility-likely-less-money-budget-107560">rest of Chicago schools have been funded</a> for the last few years. &nbsp;Principals get a lump sum for each student and then they decide what to do with it.</p><p>The internal document about All Means All did not list the actual per pupil amounts for students with special needs. CPS spokeswoman Emily Bittner provided the following chart to WBEZ.</p><div><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20Shot%202015-07-30%20at%2012.11.46%20AM.png" style="width: 100%;" title="" /></div><div><p dir="ltr"><em>*CPS refers to students with special needs as &ldquo;diverse learners&rdquo;. They get a base amount under the main student-based budgeting formula, reflected in the Column 2. Column 1 includes the flat amounts per student for additional special education services under &ldquo;All Means All.&rdquo; Added together, in Column 3, is the total amount a school will get for a student with special needs in each category. These amounts are being used at just 102 schools this year. The remaining 500-plus schools will continue to be staffed under the old formula, where the Board provides positions based on enrollment and need.</em></p><p dir="ltr">The system is meant to give principals more flexibility and bring the funding formula for special education in line with the formula for all students in CPS. Student-based budgeting is something many urban districts are using now. In theory, money follows students, creating a more equitable formula.</p><p dir="ltr">But its roll out in Chicago was not well-received, in part because it came at a time of financial crisis and at many schools, the total amount of funding has not been enough to cover existing programs and staff.</p><p dir="ltr">But having money follow students gets more complicated with special education, Cantor points out. That&rsquo;s because you can&rsquo;t easily change a student&rsquo;s schedule. It&rsquo;s dictated by a legal document called an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a process for changing IEPs, you can&rsquo;t just change it,&rdquo; Cantor said. &ldquo;It has to be done at a meeting with the parents with parent&rsquo;s permission.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Rod Estvan, education policy analyst with the disability-rights group Access Living, said there&rsquo;s a reason special education is expensive. Those IEPs outline, down to the minute, when students should be working with trained adults, like social workers, speech therapists, and certified teachers. The students may be deaf or dyslexic or have one of many conditions that make it harder for them to learn.</p><p dir="ltr">Federal law dictates students in special education must also be spending as much time as possible in regular classrooms. Creating schedules that fulfill both requirements can be a nightmare for principals.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;These are not easy choices that are being thrown down on principals to make,&rdquo; Estvan said, noting that many principals do not have any background in special education.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;CPS will, over the course of the school year, be forced to reallocate additional staff to schools and open positions,&rdquo; Estvan predicts. &ldquo;Whether or not they can fill them or not is another question that late in the year.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">District spokeswoman Emily Bittner said the district is working closely with principals at these 102 schools on scheduling special needs students most efficiently. She said an 18-month review of special education found that the number of students with special needs in district-run schools declined 3.4 percent over the last five years, but staff serving them increased 13 percent.</p><blockquote><p dir="ltr"><strong>LISTEN</strong><em>:CPS Cheif Education Officer Janice Jackson&nbsp;special education cuts won&#39;t hurt students</em></p><p dir="ltr"><iframe frameborder="no" height="20" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/217623452&amp;color=ff5500&amp;inverse=false&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_user=true" width="100%"></iframe></p></blockquote><p dir="ltr">Earlier this month, in announcing the cuts, then CEO Ruiz said the changes coming with All Means All would save $42.3 million.</p><p dir="ltr">Bittner said CPS would make sure schools have enough staff to work with special needs students and will absolutely meet all students&rsquo; IEP requirements, as outlined by law. She said the overall funding for special education is decreasing by five percent and still remains 14 percent of the district&rsquo;s total budget.</p><p dir="ltr">But some still are worried that the shift in the formula could still give principals and staff mostly bad choices.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I think that&rsquo;s going to lead to a lot of pressure on principals and teachers to do the wrong thing in order to get services for their kids,&rdquo; said Kristine Mayle, financial secretary for the Chicago Teachers Union and a former special education teacher. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re already hearing they&rsquo;re trying to take kids out of self-contained classrooms and put them into regular ed classrooms. I fear that across the district, kids are going to be moved into placements that are not appropriate.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The All Means All program also includes a financial bonus for schools who successfully transition students out of special education or move more kids into mainstream classrooms. Bittner said the intent is to better prepare special needs students for life beyond school, when the same services aren&rsquo;t guaranteed.</p><p dir="ltr">CPS is in <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-emanuel-warn-deep-cuts-layoffs-school-district-112301">a financial crisis</a> and it&rsquo;s looking everywhere to cut costs. Nothing is off-limits. Not even special education.</p><p dir="ltr">But Cantor, the teacher at North-Grand, thinks that&rsquo;s a big legal risk that could cost the district in the long run.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s going to become more expensive when they do this because parents are going to sue,&rdquo; Cantor said. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s going to be massive lawsuits. There&rsquo;s going to be massive settlements. We&rsquo;ve seen this over and over in the city. It&rsquo;s this short-term managerial thinking that&rsquo;s going lead to long term costs for the city.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Right now, CPS can&rsquo;t really afford any more unexpected costs.</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 15:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-budget-cuts-hit-special-education-students-112512