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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:24pm
Thu Dec 19, 2013

Report: Proposed CPS Charter Schools Could Cost Taxpayers $225 Million Over Next Decade

Proposals for 21 new privately run charter schools in Chicago could cost city taxpayers at least $225 million over the next decade, according to a financial analysis issued Wednesday by Communities United for Quality Education.

Next year alone, the proposed charters could come with $21 million in extra costs, according to the education coalition of parents and community members. The group argues that Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has been less than transparent about the added expenses associated with the new schools as well as how the district plans to pay for them.

Among other concerns, the activists fear that traditional neighborhood schools would see their budgets slashed, again, in order to cover the added costs, including heating and air conditioning fees, principal salary payments and start-up expenses. The Chicago Board of Education is expected to take up CPS’ recommendations for the new charters at its January meeting.

“CPS is not properly funding schools that exist right now,” stressed Jennie Biggs of the Raise Your Hand education coalition and Bridgeport Alliance. “How will schools survive and thrive when there’s more schools but no extra resources? In financial terms, adding charters into our school system will be a destructive move.”

Quick Hit
by Aricka Flowers
3:57pm
Wed Dec 18, 2013

Chicagoans Push For Ballot Referendums On Ames Middle School, Minimum Wage (UPDATED)

With various groups delivering petitions to the Chicago Board of Elections this week, Chicagoans are continuing their call for two referendums to be added to the March 18 ballot. The non-binding referendums focus on the minimum wage and future of a Logan Square neighborhood school.

In the ongoing fight to increase the minimum wage, a coalition of Chicago families and groups, including Action Now, the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Grassroots Collaborative, ONE Northside, and SEIU* Healthcare Illinois Indiana, delivered petitions to the board of elections demanding that the city establish its own minimum wage.

"I support raising the minimum wage in Chicago for low-wage workers because we are not invisible. We will not stand by and let our elected officials maintain the status quo," said Carlos Navarro, a retired Marine veteran and a ONE Northside leader living in Chicago's 46th Ward. "I'm tired of seeing families in my community struggle to get by on poverty wages and I am confident this referendum will show the Chicago City Council that there is a need to raise the minimum wage to a fair and living wage."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
1:23pm
Wed Dec 18, 2013

Is The CPS Safe Passage Program Keeping Students Safe?

Some parents and education activists say the Chicago Public Schools' expanded Safe Passage program that launched this year has been working well to keep students safe. But others argue that the program is simply a "roll of the dice" when it comes to young people's safety. 

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
10:51pm
Wed Dec 11, 2013

Chicago City Council Approves Independent Budget Office; Elected School Board Referendum Gets Squeezed

Progress Illinois provides some highlights from Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
9:58am
Tue Dec 10, 2013

Chicagoans Deliver Coal, Candy Canes To Politicians Based On Public Education Votes (VIDEO)

A few hundred public education activists took to City Hall and the Thompson Center Monday evening to deliver their holiday list of demands as well as lumps of coal and candy canes to the offices of naughty and nice elected officials. Progress Illinois was there for the protest.

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