Education could be a vehicle to create economic mobility, but in many ways the country and the city of Chicago are failing.
CPS released school budget data that shows principals are going into this school year with $144 million less to spend than they had last year.
Chicago school leaders are telling principals they’ll have the same amount as last year. But the numbers don’t add up.
Principals didn’t get the doomsday budget that was once threatened, but they received much less than they got last year.
When Lincoln Elementary School got an annex, parents at neighboring Manierre Elementary were bewildered. Manierre Elementary has space for 750 more students.
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner announced a new bipartisan commission to come up with a plan to fix the flawed way Illinois schools are funded. He acknowledges it will be difficult for a commission to come up with a plan—commissions and task forces have tried in the past and failed. But he says he thinks there was a lot of momentum at the end of last legislative session and that politicians, hearing from frustrated constituents, might be ready to act. Rauner says he favors a formula based on what research has found works for students. The commission will have 25 members, with five appointed by each legislative leader. He wants their recommendations by February so the plan can be in a bill during the next legislative session.
More than half the city’s schools are under-enrolled and serve poor and black or Latino students. Some of these half-empty schools are just blocks from new construction that mostly benefited wealthier white families.
WBEZ this week released an investigation that shows Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel spends millions on new school buildings and annexes that largely benefit white and middle-class students. He is now announcing more of those projects—just not publicly. Media were excluded from a meeting at Skinner Elementary that included elected members of the local school council. A lawyer with the Better Government Association if a majority of council members were there, the exclusion violates state law.
Ald. Walter Burnett represents two schools with opposite problems: one is packed full, while the other remains under-enrolled.
Cash-strapped Chicago Public Schools is spending millions on new schools and additions, many of them right near existing schools with extra space. The practice is often further cementing race and class segregation in the school district.