Friday, July 24, 2015

CPS Budget Cuts & Stewart School Building's Future

From Ald. Cappleman's weekly newsletter:

"This week, our local schools were provided with school budgets for the 2015-16 school year. As soon as I learned of the budget cuts, I contacted Rep. Greg Harris to see what I could do to fight this decision. Most of our schools are going to have to do more with less and, one in particular, was looking at cutting teachers and combining different grades into one classroom. McCutcheon Elementary was facing a $611,150 cut to next year's budget. Today, Principal Farrell notified me that as a result of my push and the push from State Rep. Greg Harris, $250,000 of their $611,150 cut was restored. This means that they will not have to lay off 3 teachers and combine classrooms. As you can see from the chart, the news still isn't good, so there is more work to do.

Decatur Classical School in West Rogers Park expressed some interest with relocating to Stewart so that they could expand to include a seventh and eighth grade level. I cannot support any money from the State or CPS going to Decatur given the budget cuts to our neighborhood schools. My priority is making sure that our neighborhood schools receive the funding they need support the children in our ward. Yesterday, I asked CPS to release their request for proposal that includes public feedback obtained a year ago with the help of the Metropolitan Planning Council. To view MPC's report, click here.

I am hoping that if we are unable to reuse the Stewart property for a CPS public school, it will be sold to benefit the surrounding community while assisting CPS in increasing needed revenue to reduce cuts in our local schools."

1 comment:

  1. Hmm,

    whilst I understandth the Alderman's point about creating a thriving K-12 neighborhood school system there should be room for specialty schools within the larger CPS framework. The kids who go to Decatur are top students and they need something more challenging than any neighborhood school could give them. We're talking top 1-2 percent in IQ.

    Speciality schools are needed for the top students and perhaps for students with severe learning disabilities that can't be properly handled in neighborhood schools and for people who can't spell "specialty" correctly. Thank you autocorrect!

    If Decatur is going to exist it would be better for the system and for UPTOWN if it were at that location across from the new Wilson station. Adding two grades will help keep those parents in the city. Citywide parents move from Chicago to the burbs for better schools.

    Having Decatur in Uptown would cause some parents with students there to move to Uptown. Over time it might become a significant number of people. Also a small neighborhood component could be built into the student body. Say take some of the slacker students who only score at the 95th percentile if they live within certain boundaries.

    After the 7th grade level more specialty schools could be created citywide for students with particular interests. Arts academies focusing on well the arts. Language academies. The Agriculture school on the SW side. Science academies etc etc. Those would be built around strong sets of neighborhood schools with a more general focus.

    As for the CPS budget cuts taxpayers can either pay higher taxes now or see people move out of the city and a resultant lower tax base. There's no cutting our way out of the pension crisis. I read the city is paying an 8 percent interest rate on various new bonds. I got a credit card offer in the mail the other day. Eight percent interest and that's not a teaser rate. So the city is basically paying the same rate I could on unsecured debt. KWAAZY.

    This is my first substantive disagreement with the Alderman on policy. If he's lucky it won't be the last and I'll run for Alderman in 2019. I can picture JPUSA and the remnants of the Shillerista coalition rallying around Cappleman at the mere thought of me being alderman. Quarky creating multiple ID's to support Capp. Littleton running a twerkathon to raise $ for Capp at the Sonic.

    Unfortunately, I might win given my karma and the Almighty's desire to screw with me at every opportunity. Having to listen to the whines of 46th Ward residents might lead me to an early grave. "I'm not happy. I think that (insert whine here)". Etc etc etc.

    Now that "V", look at a map, from say Broadway to Kenmore and Sunnyside to Wilson badly needs some redevelopment. If Decatur doesn't come in it's time for some high density residential. I can live with the Dunkin Donuts and Currency Exchange being moved to new buildings if necessary.

    So let it be written. So let it be done!