July 27 CPS Board of Ed Meeting from CNC

Written by: Crystal Yednak

NPN has partnered with the Chicago News Cooperative to help parents get answers to questions they have about Chicago schools. CNC education reporters will contribute posts about how CPS works and what's happening at the board of education. CNC will also weigh in about state funding issues and trends in education. If you have a question you'd like to see addressed, please send it to cyednak@chicagonewscoop.org. 

CNC is our eyes and ears at the CPS Board of Education Meetings. Preview: Chicago Public Schools Board of Education Meeting, July 27, 2011

New Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard will announce the addition of new positions to the district’s central office and a reduction in the number of area offices during today's Board of Education meeting. With the start of school around the corner, the board will also consider a new student code of conduct, a concussion policy, a potential agreement with Google for cloud computing services, and move to file the Fiscal Year 2012 proposed budget.

Follow Chicago News Cooperative education reporter Rebecca Vevea at @cncschools for live updates and commentary during these meetings. If you have a specific question about the meeting, send it to rvevea@chicagonewscoop.org.

The Meeting Agenda:

-- A coalition of students organized as Voices of Youth in Chicago Education plans to push its message at the board meeting.  Two weeks ago, this coalition demanded the new administration meet with them to discuss harsh discipline policies at the city’s schools.  Though district officials have ignored their request for a meeting, Brizard is putting forward a revised discipline policy that, among other changes, categorizes more offenses as punishable by in-school suspensions rather than out-of-school suspensions. Voices of Youth in Chicago Education says the new language still does not go far enough.

-- The board is also scheduled to act on plans for the construction of a new building for Jones College Prep. The new building will cost a total of $123 million, and the board will be responsible for $5.3 million. Most of the costs are expected to be covered by TIF dollars. Construction on annexes at Durkin Park Elementary School, Onahan Elementary School and Stevenson Elementary School are also on the agenda for approval.

-- The board is scheduling public hearings on the fiscal year 2012 budget, which is slated to be on file in the Office of the Board (6th floor, 125 S. Clark St.) starting August 5, 2011. The public hearings start at 7 p.m. with registration open at 6 p.m.

  • Wednesday, Aug. 10 @ Lane Tech High School (2501 W. Addison St.)
  • Thursday, Aug. 11 @ Westinghouse High School (3223 W. Franklin Blvd.)
  • Friday, Aug. 12 @ Simeon High School (8147 S. Vincennes)

Here is CNC's recap of the board meeting:

More dollars for full-day kindergarten, more magnet seats

You may remember the fun of last year's budget crisis, when funding for full-day kindergarten was on the chopping block. Fear of losing the program mobilized parents into action with protests and fundraisers. Eventually, the money was found to restore the program at the schools that were lucky enough to have it in the first place. In Chicago, not every public school has full-day kindergarten, so some principals use discretionary funds to cover the costs and at others, parents raise the money to keep an all-day option.

This year's budget crisis has had plenty to cause parents anxiety too. But at Wednesday's CPS board meeting, CEO Jean-Claude Brizard announced plans to add 6,000 full-day kindergarten slots in the upcoming year. The additional full-day kindergarten seats, which come at a $15 million price tag, will go to schools where low-income children are most at risk for falling behind.

Brizard also said the district is planning for 2,300 additional magnet school slots and 5,500 new charter school spots.

The magnet seats will cost the district $5 million and will be used to expand current programs and open new ones.

Brizard announced the additional money for magnet programs and kindergarten classes just before unveiling a major reorganization of the district’s management structure and overhaul of how schools are divided regionally.

For a more detailed recap of the action at Wednesday's CPS board meeting, check http://www.chicagonewscoop.org/metro/education/.

Posted on July 28, 2011 at 10:01 AM