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Strike vote, then one-two punch for CPS

Tuesday, Sep 27, 2016

* Sun-Times

Enrollment at Chicago Public Schools has dropped by 3.5 percent since last September, according to a preliminary count that shows a loss of about 13,000 students.

The loss is more than twice as large as district officials projected in July.

Some 8,181 of those students left CPS-run schools, which now count 294,967 students in grades K-12, according to numbers tallied from the 10th day of school.

Privately-managed charter schools have so far lost 6,600 students compared to last September, totaling 54,889 students — a loss of about 10 percent. Three charter schools left the district but remained open, though, accounting for about 1,000 of charters’ decline.

Some 195 schools have exceeded expected projections district officials released in July, but 306 fell short.

Pre-kindergarten numbers and enrollment in alternative schools haven’t yet been tallied. CPS will take its official count of students on the 20th day of school, which this year falls on Oct. 3. That count determines a school’s final budget, and whether it will add teachers or lay them off. And last year, CPS picked up about 2,200 kids between the two counts.

* Tribune

Chicago Public Schools’ financial reputation took another hit from a major Wall Street credit ratings agency on Monday.

Moody’s Investors Service dropped the district’s bond rating further into junk status, lowering its view of the school system’s debt one notch to a B3 rating.

Moody’s cited a variety of factors for the downgrade. Among them: the district’s reliance on short-term borrowing, a “deepening structural deficit” and a budget “built on unrealistic expectations” of help from a state government with money woes of its own.

Word of the downgrade came on a day when the district announced budgets at about 300 schools would lose a total of $45 million because of enrollment declines, and the Chicago Teachers Union said its members authorized a strike if contract talks break down.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 12:39 pm:

    Okay so this is an honest inquiry. I don’t know because my union has had it’s own issues but here it goes. Could labor peace have been found before all this? Or are both sides too hostile? If too hostile, honestly what percentage of the blame lies with which side, and why? I’m trying to ascertain the value of labor peace and what that might have cost at the time. Talking about OW’s number three imperative yesterday got me thinking about the cost of Labor peace. I get that there is always a cost to something.

  2. - Cassandra - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 12:46 pm:

    I’d be curious to know if the drop is related to a drop in families with school-age kids or if the kids are moving to private and suburban schools. Or perhaps they are not even entering the public school system in the first place, even if their parents live in the city. An interesting research project for somebody.

  3. - A guy - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 12:54 pm:

    Timing has never been one of their strong suits. More and more it’s hard to identify a strong suit.

  4. - AC - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 1:32 pm:

    Honeybear - just an observation after talking to folks inside CPS, there was one similarity between their situation and AFSCME’S, contract language. That is, it’s tough to get union members to agree to financial concessions when management is also pushing for changes to contact language. In the “old days” management understood this, and would make contact language concessions in exchange for financial concessions. I’m not suggesting that Emanuel is as extreme in his anti-union beliefs as Rauner, but they both seem to be asking the same question, “how much job security are you willig to give up in exchange for making financial sacrifices?”

  5. - Responsa - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 1:38 pm:

    What does the term “labor peace” even mean? Does that term have a distinct universal meaning between and among unions– or between union and non-union interests — or does it have a different/fluid definition depending on the time, issue, and circumstance and who is doing the posturing?

  6. - Groucho - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 2:12 pm:

    Based on the CPS web site, (which list each teacher by name, school, FTE, FTE salary and annual benefit cost) the AVERAGE cost of a full time regular teacher is $100,179. Does a loss of $45,000,000 mean that CPS has to layoff 449 FTE of regular teachers.

  7. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 2:22 pm:

    ==a budget “built on unrealistic expectations” of help from a state government with money woes of its own.==

    They left off the last part of that statement.
    Should read, “money woes of its own making.”

  8. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 2:30 pm:

    Based on how the current GSA formula works, schools l;loose 2% in state funding for every 1% loss in attendance. Fortunately it does not work that way for CPS.

  9. - Ron - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 2:31 pm:

    Almost 14,000 less students than last year. Get ready for the layoffs.

  10. - From the 'Dale to HP - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 2:42 pm:

    Not sure were to begin with this mess, but for starters, no one trusts anyone. The CTU rank and file is convinced that Rahm/CPS is sitting on millions because CPS always seems to ‘find’ the money. They have a point. But Rahm/CPS are also right: they’re pretty much tapped out.

    Rahm/CPS probably have to throw charters under the bus to prevent a strike, they haven’t been willing to do that.

    The exodus out of CPS should be setting off alarms all across the city possibly even the suburbs. How can you attract people to the City when most parents are finding the school system unusable? And everyone that can, seems to be getting out? It’s no secrete that Rahm and his various CEOs haven’t run the place all that well… and the chickens are, well, leaving the roost.

  11. - Ron - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 2:51 pm:

    Um, CPS is has not been well run in decades. Blaming it’s atrocious quality on Rahm is ridiculous.

  12. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 2:53 pm:

    Rahm/Rauner formula for demise of free public education:

    Closure of neighborhood schools + elimination of art, music, special ed, wrap-around services, etc. + Student based budgeting + lack of state funding + bloated inept /corrupt CPS bureaucracy + corrupt privatization + (and now the final blow)+ bankers/rating agencies = another nail in the public neighborhood school coffin

    What did the expect?

  13. - Dr X - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 2:58 pm:

    Another win for Rauner. Labor peace will be achieved when unions are dead and stop whinin’ about peace.
    The strike will be a PR goldmine for Rauner - kids are leaving, scores are stagnant and they want more.

  14. - Ron - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 3:01 pm:

    Again, CPS quality has been abysmal for decades. It’s actually gotten better under Rahm.

  15. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 3:05 pm:

    ==scores are stagnant==

    Um…actually, no. This year’s CPS ACT scores were the highest ever.

  16. - Dr X - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 5:14 pm:

    Oh ya got me. Average ACT in CPS was 18. Average state wide was 20. So not stagnant - below average instead of below below average.

    Still a win for Rauner - he can bang the charter school /union thug drum even louder.

  17. - Very fed up - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 5:17 pm:

    Amazed the talking point of Rahm closed neighborhood schools is used so freely. Enrollment has been declining for a long time. Many of the schools closed were not even at 50% capacity. What do people expect? If enrollment keeps going down more schools will close.

  18. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 11:59 pm:

    ==Oh ya got me. Average ACT in CPS was 18. Average state wide was 20==

    Actually, it was 18.4.
    And you can’t compare low SES urban kids to the “rest of the state.”
    Apple and oranges.

  19. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 11:12 am:

    == Amazed the talking point of Rahm closed neighborhood schools is used so freely. ==

    School are the glue that hold the neighborhoods together.
    They’re the heart and soul of the community.
    Improving neighborhood schools. Can’t think of a better or more cost-effective investment.
    It’s a lot less expensive and probably more effective than 1000 cops.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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