Thursday, July 24, 2014

Budget vote: Another reason to get rid of mayoral control of the schools

WGN'S WALTER "SKIPPY" JACOBSON says he's seen everything now that the board has decided to hire more press secretaries as a way of dealing with the current fiscal crisis at CPS. 
Note to "Skippy: All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again. Never before has a mayor spent more city money on press releases, only to have his ratings sink lower and lower with every dollar spent.

AS IF WE NEEDED ANOTHER REASON to replace mayoral control of the schools with an elected school board, yesterday's approval of Rahm's $5.8B smoke-and-mirrors school budget gives us reason #842 by my count.

The budget once again cuts funding for neighborhood schools and programs serving kids with special needs, while funneling millions more into the pockets of privately-run charter school operators. It was passed by the mayor's hand-picked minions (at least by those who showed up) of bobble-heads despite loud protests from the gallery of angry parents and school activists.

The Tribune reports:
Board members seemed miffed over criticism about increased spending from two watchdog groups, the Civic Federation and Access Living. The budget is 3 percent higher than last year’s, despite the ballooning deficit.
The Civic Federation said Wednesday it could not support the spending plan, which it called “shortsighted” for not addressing the fiscal crisis with long-term solutions and increasing spending by $400 million.
Access Living, a disability rights group, said that while the district increased funds for special education programs, it failed to develop a plan to address the structural deficit.
George Schmidt does a good job of calling out no-show board members.
Considering that they only have to perform that public duty one day a month, and at a location conventient to their downtown offices, the seven members of the Board have seemed since the year began to be alternating "days off" so that they don't have to listen to the public criticisms of their hypocrisies and craven subservience to the mayor's privatization programs. And so it was on what is arguably the most important meeting of the year, July 23, 2014. That was the meeting at which the Board was to approve its annual budget. Deborah Quazzo, the millionaire financial planner, was missing, just as Andrea Zopp, Henry Bienen and Mahalia Hines had been during the previous months.
But I don't see why they all don't just phone in their always-predictible votes since the public sessions bounce off them like water off a duck's back.

George Schmidt photo from Substance.
Board President David Vitale runs meetings like a military tribunal. He allows little for public voice since members serve entirely at the pleasure of the mayor. Parents and community members are allowed only in strict 2-minute sound bites which have no weight in the minds of the bobble-heads. And when the dialogue gets real --well, this picture of CPS parents being carried out of yesterday's meeting says it all. You can watch the video clip of the Board's actions here.

1 comment:

  1. Good for Walter! Keep up the dogged commentary, & we'll be singing the Jackson 5 tune, "We Want You Back!"


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