WBEZ | budget cuts http://www.wbez.org/tags/budget-cuts Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en No Plan C: Chicago Schools Brace For Budget Cuts http://www.wbez.org/news/no-plan-c-chicago-schools-brace-budget-cuts-114118 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/claypool-city-club.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The leader of Chicago Public Schools has two plans for addressing the district&rsquo;s budget crunch. One is pretty unlikely, the other is pretty damaging. &nbsp;</p><p>Year after year, district officials have warned of millions, even billions in budget shortfalls. But every year, CPS magically closes its books in the black.</p><p>District chief Forrest Claypool says that&rsquo;s because the district&rsquo;s done a lot of magical borrowing, from <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-public-schools-new-pension-headache-107512">teachers&rsquo; pensions</a>, <a href="http://capitolfax.com/2014/06/18/14-months-of-revenue-for-a-12-month-budget/">future property taxes</a>, and <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/watchdog/cpsbonds/">actual borrowing from banks</a>.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s like using your credit card to go on a binge and then at one point, the clerk comes over and says, &lsquo;I&rsquo;m sorry, your card has been rejected,&rsquo;&rdquo; Claypool said in an interview with WBEZ last week.</p><p>All of that debt is now eating up the revenue that could otherwise be spent in classrooms. This year, the district has a $480 million hole to fill in its current budget.</p><p>Claypool says there will be no magical solution this year. His Plan A will be to get a big compromise from state and local politicians.</p><p>While Claypool says there are many different ways to get a compromise, the mayor outlined one option: the state picks up normal pension costs for the district, restores a pension levy for teachers, gets teachers to pick up more of their pension contributions, and increases state education money by 25 percent.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re not asking for a bailout, which is the perception in the past,&rdquo; Claypool said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re talking about a dramatic inequality in funding. We&rsquo;re saying that we get $3 for every $4 that you&rsquo;re giving the suburbs and downstate.You can not ignore that. Even in the context of what&rsquo;s going on in Springfield, you can not ignore that.&rdquo;</p><p>Except it has been pretty much ignored.</p><p>So what is Plan B?</p><p>&ldquo;Well, Plan B is what we were talking about, we would have to engage in classroom cuts and more unsustainable borrowing,&rdquo; Claypool said, before trailing back to Plan A.</p><p>The budget cuts are steep and they would come in the middle of the school year. Principals and parents have said they&rsquo;re hearing anywhere from 5 to 10 percent of a school&rsquo;s total budget could be slashed.</p><p>The looming cuts have sparked protests from students across the city. On Wednesday, just as Claypool was scheduled to visit, a couple hundred students at Lindblom Math &amp; Science Academy walked out to protest the possible cuts.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m fed up with the budget cuts, honestly,&rdquo; <a href="http://chirb.it/rmrbs4">said Amber Adams</a>, a senior at Lindblom. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m tired of all the changes in the middle of the year. This is not consistent and it&rsquo;s messing with my education.&rdquo;</p><p>More than 200 other principals recently <a href="https://drive.google.com/a/chicagopublicradio.org/file/d/0B4uxdjnJl2yjUXpIbnNNdXN4dE0/view">signed a letter</a> asking the state and the city to find a solution that will avoid that kind of disruption in the middle of the school year.</p><p>Without more state money and to avoid budget cuts, Claypool may have to go to a Plan C. When asked what his Plan C is, he did not have an answer. If there is one, he&rsquo;s not sharing it with the public yet.</p><p>Parents like Roger Wilen are almost used to the uncertainty by now. Wilen has two children at Hawthorne Scholastic Academy in Lakeview.</p><p>&ldquo;I think a lot of people think somehow it&rsquo;s all going to get worked out because, how could it not be?&rdquo; he said, standing in the hallway of Hawthorne last week.</p><p>Hawthorne stands to lose up to seven teachers in the middle of the school year if CPS implements Plan B. Wilen can&rsquo;t imagine elected officials would let that happen.</p><p>&ldquo;But at the end of the day, if they don&rsquo;t get their act together, you could lose good people and programming,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;And then who&rsquo;s going to stay in Chicago Public Schools?&rdquo;</p><p>It&rsquo;s an important point. The number of children in Chicago has dropped significantly. All schools &mdash; <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-board-votes-close-50-schools-107294">public</a> and <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-catholic-school-regionalization-met-20150220-story.html">private</a> &mdash; have been impacted. But for CPS, about 13,000 kids left the district in the last five years alone. Claypool says that isn&rsquo;t going to stop.</p><p>&ldquo;In 10 years from now, we&rsquo;ll have fewer students, probably 30,000 or 40,000 fewer students,&rdquo; Claypool said.</p><p>The state funds schools based on how many students are enrolled, so with fewer students, CPS will inevitably have a smaller budget. It brings up a whole host of questions, the most important of which is just how many schools does the city need?</p><p>Claypool says he&rsquo;s working on answers to that and other questions. But so far, the only downsizing he&rsquo;s announced is <a href="http://chicago.suntimes.com/chicago-politics/7/71/1165101/sneed-exclusive-claypool-might-cut-cps-office-jobs-by-one-third">a $50 million reduction in central office</a> staff.</p><p>In the meantime, many schools are already under-enrolled, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-has-high-school-13-freshmen-113524">including many high schools</a> that have long been cornerstones of their communities. Under-enrollment hurts a school&rsquo;s ability to build robust academic and extracurricular programs.</p><p>Maurice Swinney is the principal at Tilden High School, which has just over 300 students.</p><p>&ldquo;One teacher in our building affects 75 children, so you&rsquo;re talking about a gap in relationships first and then if that one person taught classes, then those classes have to be shifted or absorbed,&rdquo; Swinney said. &ldquo;What does that mean for a student entering into a new classroom or losing his honors or AP class because of budget cuts?&rdquo;</p><p>But Swinney is leaning on district leaders to come up with a long-term plan. He said he can&rsquo;t let himself get distracted by the politics.</p><p>&ldquo;There are kids in front of (me) now, and the responsibility that they&rsquo;re well-equipped is the main priority,&rdquo; he said.</p><p><em>Becky Vevea is an education reporter for WBEZ. You can follow her </em><a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZeducation"><em>@WBEZeducation</em></a><em>.</em></p></p> Thu, 10 Dec 2015 07:40:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/no-plan-c-chicago-schools-brace-budget-cuts-114118 Morning Shift: Who’s most affected by a state budget impasse? http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-06-29/morning-shift-who%E2%80%99s-most-affected-state-budget-impasse-112276 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/GotCredit.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/212508711&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">Who&rsquo;s most affected by a state budget impasse?</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">After weeks of back and forth in Springfield, Gov. Bruce Rauner and lawmakers are edging up to the July 1 deadline in their struggle to pass a state budget. The Governor has vetoed most of the Democratic legislature&#39;s proposed plan. As he continues to stand his ground on cutting the flow of state money for many services from childcare to reducing tax credits for companies, a shutdown is a real threat if no decision is made by the end of the day Tuesday. We get a primer on what a state shutdown would look like with WBEZ state politics reporter Tony Arnold, and hear from two Chicago-based service groups that face a range of service cuts under Rauner&#39;s proposed plan. Joining us with their concerns are Debra Vines of autism support group <a href="http://www.theanswerinc.org/contact-us.html">The Answer Inc</a>., and Amber Smock, Director of Advocacy for <a href="https://www.accessliving.org/">Access Living</a> an organization that works for disabled people&#39;s rights.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guests:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold">Tony Arnold </a>is a WBEZ reporter.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em>Debra Vines is the Executive Director of <a href="http://www.theanswerinc.org/">The Answer Inc.</a></em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em>Amber Smock is the Director of Advocacy for <a href="https://twitter.com/AccessLiving">Access Living.</a></em></p></p> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 12:57:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-06-29/morning-shift-who%E2%80%99s-most-affected-state-budget-impasse-112276 Morning Shift: Rauner makes drastic cuts in attempt to balance budget http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-06-03/morning-shift-rauner-makes-drastic-cuts-attempt-balance-budget <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Hikingartistdotcom.jpg" style="height: 390px; width: 600px;" title="Flickr/hikingartist.com" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/208627139&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">Rauner makes drastic cuts in attempt to balance budget</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">A series of reductions in state services is the latest move in a back-and-forth over the Illinois budget. On Tuesday, <a href="http://interactive.wbez.org/rauner/">Governor Bruce Rauner</a> announced that he&#39;ll begin to cut state services and spending. Those include suspending business tax incentive offers, calling off the Illiana Tollway project, and increasing the co-pays for low-income families. The governor&#39;s office says it&#39;s responsible budget management. We hear from WBEZ&#39;s Tony Arnold with the latest. And, State Senator Heather Steans gives us her response.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guests:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold">Tony Arnold</a> is WBEZ&#39;s state politics reporter.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em><a href="http://www.senatorsteans.com/">Heather Steans</a> is a State Senator, 7th-District.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/208627130&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">Blackhawks hope to bring back the cup, city hopes they bring the cash</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">The Blackhawks are in the Stanley Cup Finals for the third time in six years. But is another Cup run translating into additional revenue for the city? From beers at bars to sweaters at shops to hotel rooms for traveling fans, how much might Chicago&rsquo;s treasury gain from the glory? Financial analyst and consultant Tim Mahon tells us if our economic cup will runneth over.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/wgtimmahon">Tim Mahon</a> is a Midwest Diversified Services Group principle.&nbsp;</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/208627126&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">Spikeball gaining popularity</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Ever hear of the sport <a href="http://spikeball.com/">Spikeball</a>? Not too many people have but it is growing in popularity around the country thanks in large part to the efforts of a young Chicago entrepreneur. Think the old school yard games of foursquare or volleyball without the net, and instead - a mini trampoline. It was a game that Chris Ruder bought at a Toys R Us store years ago and now the game has teams across the country and a National Championship. We talk with Ruder about the origins of the game and his winning investment on the TV show Shark Tank.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/spikeballchris">Chris Ruder</a> is Spikeball Inc&#39;s CEO.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/208627124&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">New exhibition focuses on famous chef&rsquo;s life</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">It&rsquo;s been more than a year and a half since legendary Chicago chef <a href="http://www.charlietrottersculinaryeducationfoundation.org/">Charlie Trotter</a> passed away. And while much has been written about the chef&rsquo;s professional side, we still don&rsquo;t know a lot about the private side of the man who put Chicago on the culinary map. A new, free exhibit at <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/trotter.html">Chicago&rsquo;s Water Tower City Gallery</a> aims to change that with many personal mementos from Trotter&rsquo;s life and career. His widow Rochelle Trotter was instrumental in gathering artifacts for the exhibit and she is here this morning to talk about the more personal side of Charlie Trotter.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/ctcef">Rochelle Trotter</a> is the wife of the late Chicago chef, Charlie Trotter.&nbsp;</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/208627117&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; line-height: inherit;">CSO percussion</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">A group that teaches percussion to Chicago kids at a very high level, for free, is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a concert Sunday. The <a href="http://cso.org/institute/youngmusicians/PercussionScholarship.aspx">Percussion Scholarship Group </a>has had numerous compositions arranged for it &hellip; and performed at venues including Symphony Center. It was co-founded by a husband-and-wife team, who play percussion with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, respectively. We&rsquo;ve got one of them here, Doug Waddell along with one of their students, Karen Dai, to talk about percussion?</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guests:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://www.linkedin.com/pub/douglas-waddell/4/870/241">Doug Waddell</a> is the co-founder of the Percussion Scholarship Group.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><em>Karen Dai is a member of the Percussion Scholarship &nbsp;and a senior at <a href="https://twitter.com/ucls">U of C Lab School.</a></em></p></p> Wed, 03 Jun 2015 08:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-06-03/morning-shift-rauner-makes-drastic-cuts-attempt-balance-budget 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