The Position of the Chicago Board of Education
By Jim Vail
The Chicago Board of Education is preparing itself for an eventual Chicago Teachers Union strike this fall.
The most important part is their public position for why the budget is what it is and teacher cuts are inevitable.
First, the budget today is based on major cuts - pension reform and teacher cuts where the Chicago Public Schools no longer pay the teachers' 7% pension pickup. That's 7% every year, which saves the board a lot of money.
The mayor who picks the board members who vote for him does not want the banks, corporations or extra slush-fund Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds to pay into the education budget.
CPS CEO Forrest Claypool said in his letter on the budget that is posted on the website that because of the pension payments the board was not able to hire 4,000 or so teachers.
So the pensions have to be cut so more teachers can be hired and class sizes don't balloon.
The surplus TIF funds of $300 million or so that would plug the deficit and not mandate cuts on the schools and teachers is only temporary, and therefore not realistic. Whatever that means.
This message rings loud and clear in the corporate media.
Substance News editor George Schmidt reports that the network offices that police the schools have doubled the number of staff during this so-called crisis that demands cutting teaching staff.
The budget is opaque that former Catalyst report Sarah Karp said it's impossible to read.
So do you believe CPS that they can't pay the teachers and fully fund the schools?