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Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education

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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:55pm
Mon Aug 18, 2014

CPS Students Call For An Elected School Board, Adequate School Funding (VIDEO)

About 100 members of the Chicago Students Union and their allies marched in support of an elected school board and adequate neighborhood school funding during a downtown protest Monday afternoon. Progress Illinois was there for the demonstration.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:21pm
Wed Jul 23, 2014

Chicago Board Of Ed Approves Budget, Debate Over School Funding Rages On

The Chicago Board of Education unanimously approved the school district's controversial $5.8 billion spending plan for the 2015 fiscal year that cuts the budgets of traditional neighborhood schools and boosts funding for charters. Progress Illinois provides highlights from today's board of ed meeting.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:21pm
Thu Jul 17, 2014

Chicagoans Criticize School Funding Cuts At CPS Budget Hearing (VIDEO)

Chicago Public Schools' (CPS) proposed $5.76 billion spending plan for the 2014-2015 academic year slashes $72 million in funding from 504 traditional neighborhood schools but boosts the budgets of privately-run charter and contract schools by 12 percent.

The funding difference, mostly due to declining enrollment projected at traditional CPS schools and increased enrollment at charters, did not sit well with parents, teachers, education activists and Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd), who vented their frustrations at a CPS budget hearing Wednesday evening at Malcolm X College on the city's West Side. Education activists toting signs reading, "BOE has different rules for different schools," also spoke out against neighborhood school budget cuts ahead of the hearing.

"There's a crisis in Chicago Public Schools today," Fioretti told the six CPS officials at the hearing. "CPS closed 50 schools last year, supposedly based upon declining enrollment. At the same time, they opened new charter schools. Despite promises of increased funding for existing schools, CPS cut the budget for neighborhood schools this year, while they increased the budget for charter schools. 

"There is no political will from CPS or the fifth floor of this city," he added. "When we decide that politicians should allow charter schools, contract schools and other schools that take away the resources for political ends only, we are depriving our kids of the necessary education here in this city."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
7:37pm
Mon Jan 27, 2014

Action Now Protests Against 'By The Hand Club' Over Plans For New Austin Charter School

About 20 Action Now members and education organizers protested outside the By The Hand Club For Kids' location on the West Side last week to push back against the non-profit's involvement with plans for a new charter school in Chicago's Austin neighborhood. 

The charter school operator Chicago Education Partnership (CEP) won conditional approval by the city's board of education to open a new Austin elementary campus in 2015. The effort to open the new charter is a partnership between CEP and By The Hand, which operates a "Christ-centered" after school program in Austin at 415 N. Laramie Ave.

CEP's design team includes By The Hand leaders, explained Dwayne Truss, an Austin resident with the Raise Your Hand education coalition. And By The Hand's Executive Director Donnita Travis is CEP's board chairperson.

"She's leading both of the organizations," said Action Now spokeswoman Aileen Kelleher. "I would say there's a conflict of interest there."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:24pm
Fri Jan 17, 2014

Chicagoans Speak Out Against Charter School Expansion At Community Forum

   If the Chicago Board of Education allows 21 new charter campuses to open on the Northwest and Southwest Sides, neighborhood schools in the targeted areas and the district as a whole would be negatively impacted, education activists stressed at a community forum in Brighton Park Tuesday night.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:54pm
Wed Jan 15, 2014

Chicago City Council Roundup: E-Cigs, Affordable Housing & Charter Expansion

Progress Illinois recaps some of the happenings at Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:16pm
Tue Jan 14, 2014

Education Activists Discuss Next Steps Against Charter School Expansion In Chicago

    West Side community members and education activists are not backing down from their fight against charter school expansion in Chicago.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
12:00pm
Wed Jan 8, 2014

Debate Over New Chicago Charter School Proposals Heats Up At CPS Hearing

Chicagoans braved the bitter cold Tuesday night to speak out at community hearings held by the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) regarding proposals for 21 new privately-run charter schools. Progress Illinois provides a snapshot of the hearings.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:24pm
Thu Dec 19, 2013

Report: Proposed CPS Charter Schools Could Cost Taxpayers $225 Million Over Next Decade

Proposals for 21 new privately run charter schools in Chicago could cost city taxpayers at least $225 million over the next decade, according to a financial analysis issued Wednesday by Communities United for Quality Education.

Next year alone, the proposed charters could come with $21 million in extra costs, according to the education coalition of parents and community members. The group argues that Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has been less than transparent about the added expenses associated with the new schools as well as how the district plans to pay for them.

Among other concerns, the activists fear that traditional neighborhood schools would see their budgets slashed, again, in order to cover the added costs, including heating and air conditioning fees, principal salary payments and start-up expenses. The Chicago Board of Education is expected to take up CPS’ recommendations for the new charters at its January meeting.

“CPS is not properly funding schools that exist right now,” stressed Jennie Biggs of the Raise Your Hand education coalition and Bridgeport Alliance. “How will schools survive and thrive when there’s more schools but no extra resources? In financial terms, adding charters into our school system will be a destructive move.”

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