CHICAGO (CBS) — Although Chicago Public Schools were starting the school year on stable financial ground for the first time in years, the teachers’ union and others were still demanding more money for the district after years of cutbacks.
The new school year begins without the threat of a teachers’ strike, or a funding crisis that could force mid-year spending cuts, but the Chicago Teachers Union – and many parents and students – have said CPS still needs more money.
At a protest rally outside Thomas Kelly High School, activists demanded CPS restore funding cuts that were forced on schools over the past few years.
“That includes counselors, teachers, a clean building, after-school programs, and updated text books,” said Andrea Ortiz, of the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council.
Protesters said Kelly was one of the schools hit hardest by CPS budget cuts in recent years, losing almost $2 million in funding, 23 teachers, and other staff.
“Today, we stand in solidarity with Kelly High School community, as devastating cuts in funds and teachers have left thousands of students drastically short,” said CTU financial secretary Maria Moreno.
CTU repeatedly has called on the city to reinstate a “head tax” on businesses, and use surplus tax increment financing funds to increase funding for CPS so recent years’ spending cuts can be restored.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Summer 2017 has shifted to the rear view mirror, and it’s time for Chicago Public Schools students to go back to class.
Parents and students are starting the new school year with a bit less concern than years past.
Unlike the last few years, there is no looming threat of a teachers’ strike, and thanks to a last-minute deal to fund public schools statewide, no uncertainty about whether there will be cuts to school spending in the middle of the year.
Addie Peckler is ready and anxious to start 2nd grade. The 7-year-old East Side resident is in the gifted program at Jane Addams Elementary School, located two blocks from her home.
“We love it, and all the teachers are great,” said her mother, Rosemary Peckler.
Rosemary said it’s great not having to worry as much about whether her daughter’s school has enough money to make it through the whole year.
“I hope it stays stable. That’s all we can hope for, because you never really know,” she said.
After years of financial uncertainty, the apparent stability to start the school year is due to a statewide education bill approved by lawmakers and the governor last week. CPS would get up to $450 million more than last year under the new funding plan, if it exercises the authority to raise property taxes by up to $163 million.
“Not only are we going to have a full school year and a full school day, we’re going to make sure that it’s done, because now the state actually is living up to the responsibility,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.
The mayor and CPS Chief Executive Officer Forrest Claypool said there is another reason for optimism entering the new school year. Claypool said the district’s 5-year graduation rate has increased from the mid 50s in 2011 to 77 percent in 2017, with some of the biggest gains among African-American males.
Adam Goldstein’s daughters are fourth generation CPS students. He said he agrees the state school funding plan helps alleviate concerns from years past, but he still has others.
“CPS still continues to borrow money at alarming rates, and I don’t think it’s sustainable in the long run,” he said.
The Chicago Teachers Union said all the back-slapping from politicians who worked on the new education funding deal is premature. The union said, although the new school funding formula generates $350 million in new revenue for schools across the state, Illinois really needs about $5 billion.
CTU planned to hold a rally Tuesday morning to protest CPS funding which the union believes is still inadequate.
By Diamaris Martino
CHICAGO (CBS) — Chance The Rapper announced Friday that his not-for-profit is donating $2.2 million to Chicago Public Schools, saying the funds will go to 20 Chicago public schools for arts and music programming.
“As a parent and proud product of CPS, I’m committed to helping Chicago’s children have a quality learning experience that include the arts,” Chance said in a statement.
“The New Chance Arts & Literature Fund” will provide $100,000 to 20 public schools over the next three years. The funds will help increase student access to arts education. Some schools say they plan to use the money for music and dance classes or spoken word poetry in literature classes.
Chance said a “quality education for public school students is the most important investment a community can make.”
The recording artist began raising money for public education after CPS faced steep budget reductions.
Previously, Chance pledged $1 million to CPS, and his charity pledged $100,000. Last month, at the Bud Billiken Day Parade, Chance and SocialWorks gave away 30,000 backpacks filled with school supplies.
The 20 schools getting the latest grants are:
Ambrose Plamondon Elementary
Mireles Elementary Academy
C.E. Hughes Elementary
Edward White Career Academy
Edmond Burke Elementary
Corliss High School
Greenleaf Whittier Elementary
Mahalia Jackson Elementary
Michele Clark Academic Prep Magnet High School
Ninos Heroes Elementary
Orr Academy High School
Robert A. Black Magnet Elementary
Spry Community Links High School
W.K. New Sullivan Elementary
(CBS) – Federal agents have arrested a 53-year-old Chicago Public Schools teacher for allegedly supplying ammunition and gun accessories to a convicted felon, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago announced Wednesday.
Brent Turpin, a special education teacher at an elementary school Englewood, was arrested Tuesday, authorities said. He faces one count of conspiracy to dispose of a firearm and ammunition to a known felon, and one count of disposing of ammunition to a known felon.
Turpin illegally supplied an extended handgun magazine, a laser sight and two boxes of ammunition to an informant who was cooperating with the FBI, according to a criminal complaint and affidavit filed in federal court in Chicago.
The teacher allegedly supplied the equipment to the informant earlier this month in Turpin’s residence on the South Side of Chicago, the complaint states.
Federal authorities, in outlining their case, say Turpin tried to “secure” two handguns for the informant at a gun show in Indiana earlier this summer. Turpin allegedly instructed the informant to say he was from Indiana. A gun deal did not happen because Turpin declined to present his driver’s license, the complaint says.
Turpin was scheduled to appear in federal court this afternoon.
The FBI was investigating Turpin because he was suspected of dealing firearms to felons and juvenile gang members, according to a federal affidavit. The informant used in the investigation was an acquaintance of Turpin’s and a juvenile in Turpin’s care, authorities say.
The unnamed informant was paid $8,170 for his help, according to the affidavit. The individual also received a reduced sentence in another case.