WBEZ | CPS http://www.wbez.org/tags/cps Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en CPS principal says budget cuts, testing schedule hurt students http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-principal-says-budget-cuts-testing-schedule-hurt-students-112783 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/blaine principal Troy LaRaviere_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>As&nbsp;</em><em>Chicago Public Schools&#39; teachers and administrators spend the week preparing for the start of the new school year, WBEZ&#39;s Melba Lara asked Troy LaRaviere to describe what the transition in CPS leadership and budget shortfalls look like from his vantage point as a principal.&nbsp;</em><em>LaRaviere is principal of Blaine Elementary School in Chicago&rsquo;s Lakeview neighborhood. </em></p><p><em>LaRaviere has</em><em>&nbsp;been <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-principal-rips-cps-school-budgets-emanuel-108108" target="_blank">vocal</a> with his concerns about CPS budget cuts and was</em><em>&nbsp;issued a &quot;warning resolution&quot; at a recent Chicago Board of Education meeting.&nbsp;</em><em>In response to a request for comment from WBEZ, a CPS representative said the warning resolution was warranted.&nbsp;</em></p><p><strong>WBEZ: What are principals dealing with this school year that they really haven&rsquo;t faced in past years?</strong></p><p>Troy LaRaviere: I don&rsquo;t know if it&rsquo;s something we haven&#39;t faced in past years. It&rsquo;s the same talking points we get from CPS: budget cuts, trying to piece together a staff with fewer resources.</p><p><strong>Are you able to tell us what cuts you&rsquo;ve had to make since last year?</strong></p><p>We&rsquo;ve lost about $200,000 in terms of personnel.</p><p><strong>And when we&rsquo;re talking $200,000 in personnel cuts as an impact, how does this affect students? Are they directly impacted by cuts like that?</strong></p><p>Of course they are. Whenever you think layoffs, you have to think that person was providing a specific service to a student. And that is a service that student will no longer be getting.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>I wanted to ask you about the reprimand that has raised your profile as a principal, even though it was already a pretty high profile. Last week, the school board reprimanded you for being too outspoken against Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS. Do you have colleagues who agree with your concerns but who are too afraid to talk about it?</strong></p><p>Oh, absolutely. I remember last summer, we were in a principals&rsquo; meeting at a North Side high school. A bunch of principals were there. And [CPS] unveiled the testing schedule, and there was almost a rebellion right there in the auditorium at the sheer volume of testing that was on the calendar that they presented to us.</p><p>And in terms of the reprimand itself, it was....about not my position, but my support of parent positions. That&rsquo;s very critical to understand. They didn&rsquo;t reprimand me for being against [the PARCC exam]. They reprimanded me for supporting my parents when a parent gave me a note that said, &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t want my child taking the PARCC.&rdquo; I respected that.</p><p><strong>There are critics of you that say your support of mayoral candidate Chuy Garcia, and your role as an educational advisor for him, and your very vocal and direct criticism of the mayor and CPS leadership has lead you astray on what is best for the students of Blaine. Some would ask, is this really helping the students of Blaine? What&rsquo;s your response?</strong></p><p>I mean, just think about each one of the policies that I&rsquo;m advocating for. Every single one of them is geared toward students.</p><p>One of the things I was vocal about at the meeting was the $17 million loan that [CPS] took from three of Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s campaign contributors, and promised to pay an additional $17 million in interest if the program worked. If the kids in Pre-K scored better than the kids who didn&rsquo;t get Pre-K. Well, that&rsquo;s a foregone conclusion. Of course they&rsquo;re gonna do better. That&rsquo;s like you going to your plumber and he says &lsquo;It&rsquo;s gonna be $10,000&rsquo; and you say &lsquo;Well, I&rsquo;ll give you $20,000 if it doesn&rsquo;t leak.&rsquo; Who is that irresponsible with their own money? But this administration will be that irresponsible with money that&rsquo;s supposed to be dedicated to our children.</p><p>Everything I&rsquo;ve ever done is directed toward increasing the educational opportunities and quality of the education that students in CPS get, and opposing every policy that CPS brings down that does the opposite.</p><p><strong>More coverage&nbsp;of&nbsp;LaRaviere:</strong></p><p><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/education/chicago-principals-say-they-operate-under-gag-order-110167">Chicago principals say they operate under gag order</a></strong></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-principal-rips-cps-school-budgets-emanuel-108108"><strong>Chicago principal rips CPS school budgets, Emanuel</strong></a></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 31 Aug 2015 17:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-principal-says-budget-cuts-testing-schedule-hurt-students-112783 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 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 Morning Shift: August 19, 2015 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-19/morning-shift-august-19-2015-112685 <p><p>We take a deeper dive into the proposed CPS budget and how it will affect special education. We hear the voices of parents and talk to someone who crunches the numbers for the disability advocacy group Access Living. Illinois Senate President John Cullerton joins us to discuss his proposed bill to help CPS, which rivals Gov. Bruce Rauner&#39;s proposal. Vocalo&rsquo;s Ayana Contreras comes in with a little Reclaimed Soul. And dropping your kid off for his or her first year at college is an event full of emotions, and full of questions. How will they spend their time? What kinds of challenges will they face? And, how much can you...or should you&hellip;&rdquo;parent&rdquo; your college-age child? We talk with the author of the new book &ldquo;Off To College&rdquo; A Guide for Parents.&rdquo;</p></p> Wed, 19 Aug 2015 11:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-19/morning-shift-august-19-2015-112685 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 Chicago Teachers Union unhappy with Claypool's appointment to head of CPS http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-17/chicago-teachers-union-unhappy-claypools-appointment-head-cps <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/classroom Bryan McDonald.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/215157800&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><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">Chicago Public Schools has a new top dog. Forrest Claypool is a longtime city official. He ran the Parks District in the 1990s, oversaw the CTA during Mayor Emanuel&#39;s first term, and in April, became the mayor&#39;s latest chief of staff. Now Claypool will take on what he calls the biggest challenge of his career &mdash; running the schools during a time of serious financial hardship. The district faces a $1.1 billion budget gap. So, what do teachers think about the changes at the top? We speak with Jesse Sharkey, Vice President of the Chicago Teachers Union.</span></p></p> Fri, 17 Jul 2015 12:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-17/chicago-teachers-union-unhappy-claypools-appointment-head-cps Mayor Emanuel chooses Forrest Claypool to lead Chicago Public Schools http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-16/mayor-emanuel-chooses-forrest-claypool-lead-chicago-public-schools <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Logo-Chicago-Public-Schools.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/215012653&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><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">Last night, news reports began swirling that Mayor Emanuel has tapped his new chief of staff Forrest Claypool to lead the Chicago Public Schools. CPS board member Jesse Ruiz has been filling in as CEO after Barbara Byrd-Bennett resigned when federal authorities began investigating a $20 million no-bid contract that went to Byrd-Bennett&#39;s former employer SUPES Academy. We speak with WBEZ political reporter Lauren Choolijan.</span></p></p> Thu, 16 Jul 2015 12:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-07-16/mayor-emanuel-chooses-forrest-claypool-lead-chicago-public-schools