WBEZ | budget cuts http://www.wbez.org/tags/budget-cuts Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Out-of-work teachers seen as untapped resource for solving city problems http://www.wbez.org/news/out-work-teachers-seen-untapped-resource-solving-city-problems-108885 <p><p dir="ltr">On a recent Saturday morning, more than two dozen educators sat in the pews of a South Side church. There were principals, deans, special education teachers, classroom teachers--nearly all of them out of work.</p><p dir="ltr">At the front of the room, Elizabeth Galik told a story many laid-off teachers can relate to, about trying to get a job in Chicago Public Schools.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;So I walked in, in my little cute blue suit and my heels,&rdquo; says Galik. &ldquo;I walked into that job fair at Soldier Field, and saw about five thousand other people who looked just like me.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Galik eventually landed a teaching job at a private school. But she found herself unemployed again when the school had to close for financial reasons.</p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/goodcity%202%20for%20use%20inline.jpg" style="float: right; height: 400px; width: 300px;" title="English teacher Imran Khan [lower right] helped found Embarc, Inc., a nonprofit that broadens students’ worlds by taking them on field trips. This school year is Khan’s first working full-time for Embarc. (Courtesy Embarc, Inc.)" />By this time, Galik knew her students, knew their families, knew the community. And she had ideas.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;And so I went to the church that owned the school and I said, &lsquo;Would you let me just open the computer lab to the community and see what happens?&rsquo; And so I literally hand-painted my little sign. I hung it outside: Computer lab open. Tuesdays.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The computer lab was a success. It expanded and merged, and Galik now oversees a community organization with six sites. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Teacher layoffs are painful&mdash;and Chicago posted a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/education/cps-announces-2100-layoffs-108109">record number</a> of them this year, between budget cuts and school closings. But the local nonprofit <a href="http://www.goodcitychicago.org/">Goodcity</a> is seeing opportunity in the layoffs, for the teachers and for the city. Goodcity believes Chicago would be a better place if lots of the city&rsquo;s laid-off educators founded their own nonprofits. The idea is to keep teachers in the city neighborhoods where they&rsquo;ve been working, and get them to address some of the problems they&rsquo;ve seen up close as teachers.. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Consultant Rene Alvarado says teachers make good social entrepreneurs.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Teachers have a pulse on what the real needs of our society are. Not only that, but they have to come up with some ideas--how do I solve these problems? And then I think there&rsquo;s this resiliency about teachers as well. &lsquo;Yeah, I had this horrible day, but I&rsquo;ve got to get up tomorrow morning and come back and try this over again.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">If the recent Goodcity workshop is any indication, teachers have lots of ideas.</p><p dir="ltr">A social worker wants to help kids aging out of foster care. A teacher with accounting experience has ideas for a financial literacy program.</p><p dir="ltr">A former high school principal wants to help disadvantaged kids make it into Chicago&rsquo;s elite high schools, by starting a nonprofit test prep center. &ldquo;Unlike some of the for-profit test prep organizations, I want to make it affordable for inner-city kids,&rdquo; says Joyce Cooper.</p><p dir="ltr">A cosmetology teacher wants to open a salon that would hire her licensed cosmetology students right out of high school, and help them dream even bigger.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Chicago has become the movie hub,&rdquo; says Venetta Carter, who still has her teaching job but is looking &nbsp;to the future. &ldquo;A lot of African Americans just go into a salon, but we don&rsquo;t go into the movie theaters where you have to do theatrical hair, theatrical makeup. So I&rsquo;m hoping to partner with the movie industry and maybe have current hairstylists (or) makeup artists maybe mentor these kids and introduce them to this other side of the cosmetology world.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">There are a lot of examples of teachers becoming entrepreneurs&mdash;some of them very high profile. Two teachers created the KIPP charter school network for instance, which now enrolls 50,000 kids in 141 schools across the nation. And education entrepreneurs are hot right now&mdash;there&rsquo;s venture capital for start-ups trying to tackle pressing problems in public education. Almost everything in education is up for reinvention -- from textbooks to the use of technology to schools themselves.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The truth is, teachers are great managers,&rdquo; says Northside College Prep interim principal Ellen Estrada. &ldquo;Not only that, we underestimate the intellectual nature of teaching,&rdquo; she says.</p><p dir="ltr">Estrada got a taste of the corporate world recently when she went to work for Microsoft to design a science initiative for the city.</p><p dir="ltr">She says teachers are making split-second decisions throughout the day. Are kids understanding what I just presented? Do they need another example? What do I do with this kid who&rsquo;s acting out?</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Most people in jobs are not &lsquo;on&rsquo; like that all the time. And our teachers are,&rdquo; says Estrada.</p><p dir="ltr">English teacher Imran Khan founded a nonprofit several years ago when he was working at Harper High School. <a href="http://www.embarcchicago.org/">Embarc, Inc.</a> &nbsp;takes students on field trips, giving them an opportunity to step away from the neighborhoods where they&rsquo;re growing up. Khan says he got the idea for Embarc because he saw a need for it when he was teaching.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I had a lot of kids who had rarely ever travelled beyond a four-block radius,&rdquo; says Khan. &ldquo;A lot of kids who had never heard of Millennium Park, some who had never seen the lake, kids who had never set foot in grocery stores or had never been in elevators--and these are 16-, 17-year-old high school kids.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Through Embarc, Khan took students to the theater, to see dances, to downtown restaurants&mdash;and saw attendance and graduation rates soar. &ldquo;I knew if we were going to change outcomes for kids, I needed to change their experiences first. I needed to give them some reason to strive,&rdquo; he says.</p><p dir="ltr">Khan and another teacher left Harper this year to run Embarc full time. The program is expanding to nine schools. &nbsp;Like Goodcity, Khan believes teachers are a huge, untapped resource for solving Chicago&rsquo;s problems.</p><p>Goodcity hopes more nonprofits started by teachers will be one silver lining to lots of layoffs.</p></p> Wed, 09 Oct 2013 17:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/out-work-teachers-seen-untapped-resource-solving-city-problems-108885 Budget watchdog blasts CPS for silence on pension reform http://www.wbez.org/news/budget-watchdog-blasts-cps-silence-pension-reform-108488 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 7.15.24 AM.png" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">A budget watchdog group is calling out Chicago Public Schools for not being more proactive with getting pension reform passed in Springfield.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not enough for the district to say, &lsquo;Springfield needs to act on pension reform,&rsquo; although that would have been an improvement from what we&rsquo;ve heard so far, which has been silence,&rdquo; said Laurence Msall, president of the nonpartisan government watchdog <a href="http://www.civicfed.org/">Civic Federation</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">The Civic Federation released an 83-page analysis of the school district&rsquo;s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2014 that argues the district is again taking a short-term approach to a long-term problem. The budget analysis suggests CPS should develop and advocate its own pension reform proposal, not just push for another pension holiday. The report also pushes for an increase in employee retirement contributions.</p><p>District spokeswoman Becky Carroll said the district supports &ldquo;reforms similar to those in SB1,&rdquo; referring to House Speaker Mike Madigan&rsquo;s attempt at pension reform. The bill proposed cutting cost of living increases, raising the retirement age and increasing employee contributions.</p><p>&ldquo;We will continue to rigorously push for pension reform as we did last session and hope that union leadership will come to the table willing to support the kinds of reforms necessary to provide significant financial relief for our schools,&rdquo; Carroll said in an e-mailed statement.</p><div><p>CPS <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-schools-budget-includes-68-million-classroom-cuts-108177">released a budget last month</a> that included $68 million in cuts to classrooms and, in an eyebrow-raising move, drew down almost $700 million from reserves, a fund the district drained to zero last year, as well. The Board of Education is expected to vote on the proposed budget next Wednesday.</p><p>In the analysis, Msall urged the district to publish more personnel data, require consistent financial reporting from the city&rsquo;s privately operated charter schools and give the public more time to review the proposal before holding hearings. This year, the proposed budget came out six working days before the first hearing. Msall suggested at least 10 days.</p><p>The full report is embedded below.</p><p><em>Becky Vevea is a producer for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZeducation">@WBEZeducation</a>.</em></p><p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;"><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/162043428/Civic-Federation-Analysis-CPS-FY2014-Budget" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Civic Federation Analysis CPS FY2014 Budget on Scribd">Civic Federation Analysis CPS FY2014 Budget</a> by <a href="http://www.scribd.com/WBEZ915" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Chicago Public Media's profile on Scribd">Chicago Public Media</a></p><p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="0.772922022279349" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="826" id="doc_59739" scrolling="no" src="http://www.scribd.com/embeds/162043428/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-1jvt2tjl4gp58x554epj&amp;show_recommendations=true" width="620"></iframe></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 22 Aug 2013 07:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/budget-watchdog-blasts-cps-silence-pension-reform-108488 Northwest Side school cuts back on arts, band http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/northwest-side-school-cuts-back-arts-band-108470 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/CPS arts cuts(2).jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-1bf54eeb-ad30-fdef-069f-d5c884733f43">Parents and teachers gathered at a back-to-school rally at John B. Murphy Elementary School Tuesday evening and spoke out against cuts to arts and music.</span></p><p><span id="docs-internal-guid-1bf54eeb-ad30-fdef-069f-d5c884733f43">The Northwest Side elementary school is completely losing its band program, and its full-time dance and drama teaching position becomes part-time.</span> Other cuts include two teachers and a school counselor.</p><p>&ldquo;Our community has a percentage of low-income students,&rdquo; said Local School Council chairperson and parent Roberta Salas, who said Murphy is losing $600,000 in budget cuts.</p><p>&ldquo;Most of these children will not have the opportunity to go out and get private lessons. Their introduction to the arts is here.&rdquo;</p><p>Salas joined other parents in front of Murphy to rally against those cuts. They sought to bring attention to the need for funding of neighborhood schools while Chicago Public Schools is considering proposals for new charter schools.</p><p>In a statement, CPS said, &ldquo;This year we are seeking high quality charters that can serve communities with over-crowded school populations.&rdquo;</p><p>While the district expects to get proposals, the statement said, &ldquo;There is no guarantee those proposals will be recommended or approved by (the) board.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We can&rsquo;t even maintain what we&rsquo;ve already built,&rdquo; said Sandy Lucas, an arts and music teacher who survived the cuts. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re taking a step back. That&rsquo;s destruction.&rdquo;</p><p>Parent Renee Martinez said Murphy Elementary&#39;s dancing, drama and music classes have helped to bring her daughter &ldquo;out of her shell.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;That social-emotional development is just so enhanced with the arts that it&rsquo;s really going to be sorely missed,&rdquo; Martinez said.</p><p>As part of a layoff of more than a thousand teachers at CPS last month, local advocacy group Raise Your Hand reports that 185 arts and music teachers lost their jobs.</p><p>A CPS spokesman said the district does not have a breakdown showing the number of laid off teachers in these subjects.</p><p><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-1bf54eeb-ad30-fdef-069f-d5c884733f43">Correction: This story originally misstated that </span>John B. Murphy Elementary School lost its arts and music programs, that it&rsquo;s a magnet school, and the location of the elementary school. Murphy is a neighborhood magnet cluster school that lost some arts and music programs, and had cuts in others. It&rsquo;s located on Chicago&rsquo;s Northwest Side. It&#39;s also updated to include a statement from CPS.</em></p><p><em>Lee Jian Chung is a WBEZ arts and culture intern. Follow him @jclee89.</em></p></p> Wed, 21 Aug 2013 09:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/northwest-side-school-cuts-back-arts-band-108470 Chicago schools facing cuts under new funding system http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-schools-facing-cuts-under-new-funding-system-107692 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/CPS Headquarters.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Public schools across Chicago are seeing budget cuts that could force layoffs, increased class sizes and more reductions to specialty programs, like art and music.</p><p>&ldquo;We lost $468,000 in funding and we are slated to lose about four positions and this would mean split classrooms and for the first time, possibly, overcrowding,&rdquo; said Nellie Cotton, an LSC member and parent of two students at Grimes-Fleming Elementary on the city&rsquo;s Southwest Side.</p><p>Grimes-Fleming is not the only school seeing cuts. A teacher at Roosevelt High School confirmed a $1.1 million decrease in the school&rsquo;s budget, Lincoln Park High School reported a drop of about $1 million and Goethe Elementary is slated for about $265,000 less. Teachers at Von Steuben High School said they weren&rsquo;t sure exactly how much their budget decreased, but had been told they may no longer have a librarian, a writing center or an administrator to deal with discipline issues.</p><p>Chicago Public Schools officials said, like any year, many schools may see cuts, while others are likely to see increases. District spokeswoman Becky Carroll did not say if the overall amount of money spent at the school level would decrease, noting that the budget is not yet final.</p><p>Carroll did acknowledge that &ldquo;given the depth of this historic financial crisis it will be difficult to avoid any cuts or reductions to funding in schools.&rdquo;</p><p>CPS is fundamentally changing how it <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-principals-get-more-flexibility-likely-less-money-budget-107560" target="_blank">distributes money to individual schools</a>. Instead of providing positions and buckets of money for specific programs, principals are getting a specific amount for every child that enrolls at their school. Some 40 schools and the district&rsquo;s 100 charter schools have been funded this way for several years.</p><p>Last week, CPS officials announced how much schools would get per student, which turned out to be less than what pilot and charter schools were getting this year.</p><p>Andrew Broy, president of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, said charters are still crunching numbers but overall, charter grammar schools are seeing mostly level funding or slight increases, while charter high school budgets are overall declining.</p><p>It remained unclear how neighborhood schools and others funded on the old formula would be impacted until the last couple of days, as local school councils held meetings to discuss their finances.</p><p>As news of cuts trickled out, the Chicago Teachers Union sent a release listing the budget cuts they had heard about and blasting CPS for putting out a plan for quality schools just days before telling schools how little they would get next year.</p><p>&ldquo;Recently they announced a plan for a &lsquo;quality, 21st century education&rsquo;,&rdquo; CTU president Karen Lewis said in a statement. &ldquo;Their 21st century plan looks more like a 19th century plan.&rdquo;</p><p>CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett issued a statement calling CTU&rsquo;s allegations &ldquo;disappointing and not accurate.&rdquo; She again said the new funding formula will give principals &ldquo;unprecedented control over their budget.&rdquo;</p><p>At Von Steuben High School, history teacher Mary Brandt said she can&rsquo;t fathom operating the school without a library, but doesn&rsquo;t blame her principal for making the decision.</p><p>&ldquo;The principal, I&rsquo;m sure doesn&rsquo;t want to close the library,&rdquo; Brandt said. &ldquo;I think the principal is trying to figure out how to make this money work. But I think they&rsquo;ve been given an impossible situation.&rdquo;</p><p>Colleen Dillon has two children at Burr Elementary and said the old funding formula did feel a little arbitrary and required creativity on the part of the principal.&nbsp; But no matter how money is distributed, cuts are still cuts.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not the per-pupil funding I find offensive, it&rsquo;s the miniscule amount that they&rsquo;re giving per pupil,&rdquo; Dillon said.</p><p>Spokeswoman Carroll would not talk about specific school budgets and said the district&rsquo;s complete budget proposal would likely not be public until late July. She did definitively say that budgets would go up at schools designated to receive students from the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-board-votes-close-50-schools-107294" target="_blank">50 closing schools</a>.&nbsp;<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 14 Jun 2013 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-schools-facing-cuts-under-new-funding-system-107692 Chicago community groups protest child care cuts http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-community-groups-protest-child-care-cuts-107161 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/preschool_130514_LW.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>At a demonstration against child care cuts in Pilsen Tuesday, there were more kids than adults. The kids yelled &ldquo;we need childcare&rdquo; and tried to stay still while adults representing Chicago community groups spoke out in favor of restoring Illinois&rsquo; early childhood programs to previous funding levels.</p><p>The state of Illinois cut $25 million from early childhood education grants in FY2013, and also raised co-pays, and lowered eligibility requirements for subsidized child care services.</p><p>&ldquo;I went from paying around $100 a month, to paying now $200 a month,&rdquo; said Lorraine Bahena, who has a 4-year-old in a nearby preschool. &ldquo;I actually have the means to pay, thank god, but if not for that I would have had to have pulled my daughter out.&rdquo;</p><p>Another parent, Maria Zuno, said she&rsquo;s taken a pay cut so that her kids remain eligible.</p><p>&ldquo;I can&rsquo;t make too much money because then they get kicked out,&rdquo; Zuno said. &ldquo;And I can&rsquo;t make too little because then I can&rsquo;t make ends meet.&rdquo;</p><p>Organizers representing nine community groups in Chicago, mostly childcare and early education providers, said 100 people will travel to Springfield to attend a special hearing of the House Appropriations Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education Wednesday. That committee is responsible for the $25 million in cuts to Early Childhood Block Grants meant to support Illinois preschool programs. That budget has been slashed by $80 million over four years.</p><p>Committee Chairman Rep. Will Davis (D-30), who set up the hearing with advocates, nonetheless says it will be a challenge to keep next year&rsquo;s Block Grant funding at this year&rsquo;s levels.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not a matter of opposition,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s just resources. That committee will have to make some very tough decisions as to how they spend those resources.&rdquo;</p><p>Since 2009, the number of kids in Illinois&rsquo; early childhood programs has dropped by an estimated 22,000 due to budget cuts.</p><p>Illinois Governor Pat Quinn&rsquo;s proposed budget for 2014 wouldn&rsquo;t restore early childhood funding to previous levels, but it would hold the line on early childhood programs.</p><p>&ldquo;The budget cuts are largely driven by the pension problems,&rdquo; said Illinois Assistant Budget Director Abdon Pallasch. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a real fight to maintain funding for these programs and that&rsquo;s what the governor&rsquo;s office is trying to do.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Lewis Wallace is a Pritzker Journalism Fellow at WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/lewispants" target="_blank">@lewispants</a></em></p></p> Tue, 14 May 2013 15:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-community-groups-protest-child-care-cuts-107161 Flight delays pile up Monday after FAA budget cuts http://www.wbez.org/news/flight-delays-pile-monday-after-faa-budget-cuts-106780 <p><p>NEW YORK &mdash; It was a tough start to the week for many air travelers. Flight delays piled up all along the East Coast Monday as thousands of air traffic controllers were forced to take an unpaid day off because of federal budget cuts.</p><p>Some flights into New York, Baltimore and Washington were delayed by more than two hours as the Federal Aviation Administration kept planes on the ground because there weren&#39;t enough controllers to monitor busy air corridors.</p><p>One out of every five flights at New York&#39;s LaGuardia International scheduled to take off before noon on Monday was delayed 15 minutes or more, according to flight tracking service FlightAware. Last Monday morning, just 2 percent of LaGuardia&#39;s flights were delayed. The situation was similar at Washington&#39;s Reagan National Airport, in Newark, N.J. and in Philadelphia.</p><p>Some flights were late by two hours or more.</p><p>For instance, the 8 a.m. US Airways shuttle from Washington to New York pushed back from the gate six minutes early but didn&#39;t take off until 9:58 a.m. The plane landed at 10:48 a.m. &mdash; more than two and a half hours late.</p><p>If travelers instead took Amtrak&#39;s 8 a.m. Acela Express train from Washington, they arrived in New York at 10:42 a.m. &mdash; 4 minutes early.</p><p>The furloughs are part of mandatory budget cuts that kicked in on March 1 after Democrats and Republicans missed a deadline to agree on a long-term deficit reduction plan.</p><p>FAA officials have said they have no choice but to furlough all 47,000 agency employees, including nearly 15,000 air traffic controllers. Each employee will lose one day of work every other week. The FAA has said that planes will have to take off and land less frequently, so as not to overload the remaining controllers on duty.</p><p>Critics have said the FAA could reduce its budget in other spots that wouldn&#39;t delay travelers.</p><p>Monday is typically one of the busiest days at airports with many business travelers setting out for a week on the road. The FAA&#39;s controller cuts &mdash; a 10 percent reduction of its staff &mdash; went into effect Sunday but the full force wasn&#39;t felt until Monday morning.</p><p>Some travel groups have warned that the disruptions could hurt the economy.</p><p>&quot;If these disruptions unfold as predicted, business travelers will stay home, severely impacting not only the travel industry but the economy overall,&quot; the Global Business Travel Association warned the head of the FAA, Michael P. Huerta, in a letter Friday.</p><p>Deborah Seymour was one of the first fliers to face the headaches.</p><p>She was supposed to fly from Los Angles to Tucson, Ariz., Sunday night. First her 9:55 p.m. flight was delayed four hours. Then at 2 a.m., Southwest Airlines canceled it.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s pretty discouraging that Congress can&#39;t get it together and now it&#39;s reached the point that we can&#39;t get on an airplane and fly,&quot; Seymour said.</p><p>One thing working in fliers&#39; favor Monday was relatively good weather at most of the country&#39;s major airports. A few wind gusts in New York added to some delays, but generally there were clear skies and no major storms.</p><p>Delta Air Lines said it was &quot;disappointed&quot; in the furloughs and warned travelers Monday to expect delays in the following cities: New York, Philadelphia, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.</p><p>Many flights heading to Florida were seeing delays of up to an hour.</p><p>Raymond Adams, president of the air traffic controllers union at New Jersey&#39;s Newark airport, said on Twitter than a few flights out of Newark to the south got sent back to Newark because the Washington area air traffic control system was overwhelmed.</p><p>The FAA has also furloughed other critical employees including airline and airport safety inspectors.</p><p>The country&#39;s airlines and some lawmakers have suggested the White House is causing misery for fliers to put pressure on Republicans in Congress to rescind the cuts. They say the FAA is ignoring other ways to cut its $16 billion budget. Two airline trade associations and the nation&#39;s largest pilots union filed a lawsuit Friday asking the U.S. Court of Appeals to halt the furloughs. No hearing date has been set.</p><p>In a letter to the FAA Friday, Delta&#39;s general counsel Ben Hirst asked the agency to reconsider the furloughs, saying it could make the cuts elsewhere and could transfer funds from &quot;non-safety activities&quot; to support the FAA&#39;s &quot;core mission of efficiently managing the nation&#39;s airspace.&quot;</p><p>__</p><p>With reports from Joan Lowy in Washington and Christopher Weber in Los Angeles.</p><p>__</p></p> Mon, 22 Apr 2013 15:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/flight-delays-pile-monday-after-faa-budget-cuts-106780 Sequester would cut funding for environment and energy http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-02/sequester-would-cut-funding-environment-and-energy-105774 <p><p><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mick_chgo/7175912324/in/photostream/" target="_blank"><img alt="" as="" class="image-original_image" in="" kosanovich="" milosh="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/cut-(as-in-budget)-flowers-by-Milosh-Kosanovich-via-Flickr.jpg" title="Flickr/Milosh Kosanovich" via="" /></a></p><p><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/127155936/Illinois-Impact">A White House report</a> detailing <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/infographic-how-illinois-would-be-affected-sequester-105749">the impacts of cuts scheduled to take effect March 1</a> if Congress does not avert <a href="http://www.wbez.org/results?s=fiscal%20cliff">the sequester (part of the &quot;fiscal cliff&quot;)</a> named environmental funding among the hardest hit in Illinois:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;Illinois would lose about $6.4 million in environmental funding to ensure clean water and air quality, as well as prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste. In addition, Illinois could lose another $974,000 in grants for fish and wildlife protection.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>Illinois EPA declined to comment on the looming budget reductions.</p><p>Congress appears <a href="http://www.marketplace.org/topics/economy/6-degrees-sequestration/sequester-fiscal-cliff-we-will-go-over">unlikely to strike deal that would avoid</a> the mandatory spending cuts totaling $85 billion, to say nothing of the second, albeit much smaller, cuts scheduled for March 27. The cuts are meant to help close a $4 trillion budget deficit.</p><p>While the belt-tightening measures on track to begin Friday amount in aggregate to roughly 2.5 percent of all federal spending, <a href="http://www.cbpp.org/files/2-26-13bud.pdf">a report released Tuesday by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities</a> points out that the sequester will slash more than twice that proportion (5.1 percent) from discretionary non-military programs. (Defense programs actually have it worse, looking at about 7.7 percent cutbacks.)</p><p>Nationwide environmental programs <a href="http://ens-newswire.com/2013/02/24/sequester-spending-cuts-will-hurt-the-environment/">will take a big hit</a>. The National Science Foundation will issue almost 1,000 fewer research grants, and several thousand research personnel could lose their jobs as a result of cuts to The National Institutes of Health. Many national parks will face partial or full closures.</p><p>The sequester would slow down oil and gas permitting, due to cutbacks at the Department of the Interior and other agencies with a hand in that process. Permitting for solar and wind power plants on federal lands could also slow down.</p><p>The cuts would affect energy efficiency, too, <a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Energy-Voices/2013/0226/Federal-spending-cuts-How-will-the-sequester-affect-energy">perhaps counting 1,200 home weatherization professionals</a> among those laid off as a result of the sequester.</p></p> Wed, 27 Feb 2013 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-02/sequester-would-cut-funding-environment-and-energy-105774 Cuts at the Field Museum could 'diminish' its international reputation http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-12/cuts-field-museum-could-diminish-its-international-reputation-104487 <p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/5082484946_06749913b6_z.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="The Field Museum's scientific research staff drive its international reputation (flickr/perosha)" /></p><p><em>Updated: 5 p.m.</em></p><p> <iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F71883732"></iframe> Chicago&rsquo;s Field Museum is proposing a significant reduction in its re-operating budget, citing a hefty debt load. That could mean higher prices for patrons.</p><p>The museum hopes to reduce costs by $5 million and organize its scientific research wing, from academic departments like anthropology and zoology to more generic fields of study such as &quot;museum exhibitions.&quot;</p><p>Field President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Lariviere said the museum is feeling the effects of the recession just like any other business or institution. He said administrators will talk with scientists and curators about how to balance the budget.</p><p>&quot;The Field Museum is in really reasonably good shape,&quot; he said. &quot;What we&#39;re trying to do is protect the future of this place by right-sizing ourselves at this moment to balance our budget, get things under control, so that we can ensure that the future includes the same kind of high quality, world-shaping research and discovery that it has in the past.&quot;</p><p>Lariviere said the museum&#39;s current structure is a &quot;vestige&quot; of university organization dating back to the 1930s and 1940s. For instance, the department of geology contains paleontologists, but no geologists.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s really not a rational structure,&quot; he said. &quot;It certainly doesn&#39;t reflect the interdisciplinary nature and the creativity of the science that goes on here.&quot;</p><p>He said that makes it harder to explain to the public about the science and research going on behind the scenes.</p><p>More than 1 million people visit the museum every year, to see blockbuster shows and the Field&#39;s&nbsp;prized possession, a Tyrannosaurus rex named Sue. But the Field&#39;s global reputation comes from its cutting-edge scientific research and conservation effects.</p><p>&quot;Behind the scenes, there is essentially a non-degree granting university that has scientists of all different stripes who travel around the world and make collections and study species and cultures and artifacts,&quot; said Neil Shubin, a paleontologist at the University of Chicago and the former provost of the Field.</p><p>Shubin says the budget cuts and proposed reorganization mean staff cuts. And those will diminish the museum&rsquo;s reputation.</p><p><strong>&quot;</strong>Anytime you see a reorganization like this, it means large staff reductions. I see no way that they can continue the breadth of the research profile that has been one of their, you know, one of the legs of their eminence,&quot; Shubin said.</p><p>The Field says it will develop a new operating plan over the next six months.</p><p><em>An earlier version of this story referred to Sue as a &quot;life-sized model&quot; of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. But Sue&#39;s the real deal!</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 19 Dec 2012 15:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-12/cuts-field-museum-could-diminish-its-international-reputation-104487 Illinois Senate overrides Quinn's prison cuts http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-senate-overrides-quinns-prison-cuts-104072 <p><p>SPRINGFIELD, Ill. &mdash; The Illinois Senate has voted to restore Gov. Pat Quinn&#39;s budget cuts that would force the closure of prisons and other state facilities.</p><p>The Senate voted 35-16 to reject cuts of $56 million to funds for the Tamms high-security prison, the Dwight women&#39;s lockup and other sites.</p><p>The measure moves to the House. If the House approves it, Quinn wouldn&#39;t be forced to spend the money on the facilities. But it would prohibit the Democratic governor from spending the cash on anything else.</p><p>Quinn opposed the override. He wants to improve child-protection program funding. His administration has argued that Tamms and some juvenile detention centers are underutilized and that developmentally disabled residents in state institutions would do better in community settings.</p></p> Wed, 28 Nov 2012 12:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-senate-overrides-quinns-prison-cuts-104072 Protesters arrested after occupying Chicago clinic http://www.wbez.org/news/politics/protesters-arrested-after-occupying-chicago-clinic-98200 <p><p>Almost two dozen people have been arrested after barricading themselves inside a Chicago mental health clinic to protest plans to close it.</p><p><a href="http://trib.in/ICi1cY">The Chicago <em>Tribune</em> reports that</a> at about 1 a.m. Friday police cut through chains that protesters had used to lock themselves into the Woodlawn Mental health Clinic and began arresting people</p><p>A police spokesman says 11 were released without charges and charges are pending against the rest.</p><p>The South Side clinic is one of six that Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proposed closing.</p><p>The occupation began Thursday evening and organizers say it included facility clients and other "allies" of the movement.</p><p>The say 200 protesters were outside the building at the height of the protest.</p></p> Fri, 13 Apr 2012 09:30:13 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/politics/protesters-arrested-after-occupying-chicago-clinic-98200