Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Mayor 'bristles' while budgets burn

At yesterday's protest, teachers wore stickers with the cut amounts on them: -$535K on Tracy Barrientos from Jungman. -$1.1 million on several students from Whitney Young Magnet High School.  (More great photos from yesterday's protest by Sarah-Ji Fotografa)
As hundreds of people braved yesterday's storms to protest Rahm's draconian budget cuts, the mayor was busy "bristling" at reporters questions and spreading more manure around.

Rahm put the blame for his $82 million budget cuts on greedy retirees and on the legislature for not acting to cut retiree benefits.  He tells the S-T,
 "So we have to get pension reform so we can make the right set of choices, rather than the wrong set of choices.”
According to the S-T report:
The mayor bristled when asked how he feels about some schools cutting art, music, gym and other enrichment programs touted as cornerstones of his longer school day. 
By "pension reform" Rahm, the Governor, and Boss Madigan all mean unconstitutionally taking away a big chunk of money and health care coverage from retired teachers and other public employees. They dare not even consider real pension reform which would mean implementing a fair, progressive tax code and making the state's biggest, un-taxed corporations pay their fair share.
The Chicago Teachers Union blasted the cuts, saying they “shift blame to our local schools and principals are forced to choose between keeping teachers and educating our students. If this continues, public education will no longer be a public good but rather something parents have to pay for out of pockets. And, in the case of Whitney Young only wealthier families will be able to afford it.”
Ironically, it was Talent Development Charter School CEO, Kirby Callam joining the blame-the-victim chorus. Callam, announced that his own school will be closing its doors because it has run out of money and has been unable to recruit new students. But he complains to Catalyst:
“Unfortunately, people in Chicago are getting conditioned to this,” says Callam. “They were like, ‘It is too bad.’ But they aren’t planning any protests at the board meeting.” 
No, Kirby. We aren't "getting conditioned to this". Yes, Kirby, we are protesting at every board meeting and days in between. You should be out there, along with your teachers. The protests have been steady and most recently coming from principals and a group of Local School Councils who have refused to sign on to these preliminary budgets.

The Washington Post carries a video of yesterday's Board meeting. Go to  about 1:57 into the video to see where the fireworks start.

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