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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."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:50pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Report: School Closures, Charter Expansion Causing 'Catastrophic' Harm To U.S. Minority Communities

On the heels of the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision, which declared state-mandated public school segregation unconstitutional, dozens of grassroots organizations across the country say the push by education "reformers" to close and privatize schools is having a devastating and disproportionate impact on communities of color. Progress Illinois takes a look at a new report on the matter released by Journey for Justice Alliance, a national network of grassroots community groups.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
9:57am
Tue Apr 29, 2014

ChicagoQuest Charter School Staff Demand Accountability From Board, Push For Unionization (UPDATED)

Teachers at the Chicago International Charter Schools' (CICS) ChicagoQuest campus, who are organizing to form a union, held their own version of a school board meeting Monday night to demand accountability from the CICS board of directors and school management.

“We are trying really hard right now to be in contact with the [CICS] board to work together for improvements for our school and our network, and they’re shutting us out,” said Alex Krueger, a 7th grade teacher at ChicagoQuest, a “game-like learning” junior high school located on the city's Near North side.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
11:59am
Thu Apr 17, 2014

CPS Students Want State Lawmakers To Fix 'Broken' School Discipline Policies

A group of Chicago students is ratcheting up the pressure on state lawmakers to get behind "common-sense" school disciplinary policies.

Student leaders with Voices of Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE) argue zero tolerance discipline policies have resulted in zero gains in schools across the state. Dozens of students demonstrated at the Chicago Public Schools' (CPS) downtown headquarters Wednesday morning before marching to the Thompson Center to call on state officials, including Gov. Pat Quinn, to fix "broken" school discipline policies across Illinois. The group wants state lawmakers to set limitations on the use of disciplinary actions that eat up classroom learning time and have a disproportionate impact on students of color.

"Students want to stay in school. Students want to learn, and they want discipline (policies) that make sense," said Jose Sanchez, VOYCE's Safe Schools Consortium coordinator.

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