I been through some hard times. Most people I know have had times when money just wasn’t there.
Those weren’t the moments to buy some big ticket item. If someone I knew was crying poor and then went out and bought a new Lexus, I might be suspicious that they had some money hidden around somewhere.
Who isn’t against over-crowded schools? Yet, at the moment Rahm and Claypool are threatening 40% cuts to next year’s budget and threatening the jobs of 5,000 teachers, they are holding secret meetings to build two new schools.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has quietly agreed to build a new school and a school addition to ease severe overcrowding on the Southwest Side but the good-news announcement was cloaked in secrecy.The decision to build a 16-classroom annex at Byrne Elementary, 5329 S. Oak Park, and a new school at 65th and Nottingham to replace Dore Elementary, 6108 S. Natoma, was unveiled at invitation-only meetings at the respective schools last Saturday.
The Chicago Teachers Union said they have had members in Springfield talking to legislators all spring, but have not been invited to join CPS next week.
“Our lobbying efforts are ongoing and persistent,” said Stacy Davis-Gates, the union’s legislative director. She added that the CTU also is talking to aldermen about city solutions to plug whatever remains of the $1.1 billion budget gap even after Springfield acts.
Instead of working with the Chicago Teachers Union, Claypool is holding hands with Stand for Children.
As Claypool gathers his wide base of support to press the stalled Legislature, he apparently also has encompassed not only superintendents from other high-poverty school districts around the state but also the education reform community to seek more funding from the state. The rally, followed by a barbecue lunch, was hosted by Stand for Children — an Oregon-based reform group Rauner helped bring to Illinois several years ago — and featured an impassioned principal from a CPS school run by the private Academy for Urban School Leadership.
Working with Stand for Children to lobby for public schools is like going out to dinner with Jeffrey Dahmer.
Meanwhile 13 State Representatives from Chicago asked if Claypool could step away from his barbecue with Stand for Children and meet about funding.
State Representative Will Guzzardi and the group spoke to current funding formula legislation.
“We are committed to working together to advocate for additional funding for CPS schools and to bring stability to our neighborhood schools and the students and families they serve,” the lawmakers who represent Chicago districts wrote, adding that they’ve had a hard time passing any funding measures while the governor insists on his “turnaround agenda” reforms.
But the district’s “20 for 20” campaign to get 20 percent of state funding because CPS enrolls 20 percent of schoolchildren, is oversimplified and “a great slogan, but it’s not a solution,” said Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Logan Square).
The governor’s office sent a statement saying, “We need to work on a bipartisan compromise to reform Illinois’ school funding formula and ensure equity and adequacy for all students in Illinois.”
To quote me, “Equity without adequacy is not equity at all.”
And that’s even more true if you’re claiming equity by cutting special education funding.