June 23 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, June 23, 2011

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s hand-picked board of education got their feet wet last week when they took their seats and voted down CPS teachers’ 4 percent salary increase. But with two groups already planning protests outside of the CPS administration building early tomorrow morning, the newly-seated members will be diving into some choppy waters for their
first official board meeting. At tomorrow’s meeting, a group of retiring principals will be honored, new CEO Jean-Claude Brizard’s permanent contract may be resolved, several new charter school leases are up for approval and other building issues will likely draw public participation. 

Follow Chicago News Cooperative education reporter Rebecca Vevea at @cncschools for live updates and commentary starting at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 22. If you have a specific question about the meeting, send it to rvevea@chicagonewscoop.org.
The Meeting Agenda:
- Last month, the outgoing board of education approved a $250,000 temporary contract for Brizard, but the temporary contract expires on June 30, 2011. No resolution is listed on tomorrow’s agenda regarding the contract, but last
month, the resolution related to Brizard’s salary was not made public until after the board voted.
- The board will vote on expenditures for the beginning of fiscal year 2012. The resolution that would authorize the spending
does not provide any budget numbers.
- The installation of turf at Lloyd Elementary School at a cost of $750,000 will be up for a vote.
- The following schools will shuffle to different buildings.
    >  Plato Learning Academy will be located at 5112 W. Washington Ave. next year.
    > Chicago High School for the Arts will move to the Doolittle West building (521 East 35th Street) instead of the Wells High School building (2714 W. Augusta Blvd.) Currently, the Doolittle West building houses CPS’s only parent resource center. (http://www.catalyst-chicago.org/notebook/index.php/entry/1159/Controversy_over_location_follows_Chicago_Arts_High) The Board will also vote whether to authorize $4.6 million in renovations to the Doolittle West building.
     > The new Chicago International Charter School – ChicagoQuest campus will open this fall in the Truth School Building (1443 N. Ogden Ave.)
     > The LEARN Charter School will move into the Thorp School Building (8914 S. Buffalo Ave.)
     > Providence-Englewood School Charter School will move into the Bunche Elementary School building (6515 S. Ashland Ave.)
     > Urban Prep – East Garfield Park Campus will move to the Medill Facility (1326 West 14th Place)
     > Urban Prep – South Shore Campus will move to the Williams Multiplex (2710 S. Dearborn St.)
- The contract for consulting services provided by SchoolWorks to the Office of New Schools will more than double if the board approves a resolution to pay the group $972,600  rather than $420,000.
A New CPS Board?
Despite their pledge for increased transparency, the members of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Board of Education kept the details of CEO Jean-Claude Brizard’s contract under wraps until hours after the board approved it during Wednesday’s CPS board meeting. 
My colleague, Chicago News Cooperative reporter Rebecca Vevea, reports that Brizard’s $250,000 contract is an 8 percent increase over his predecessor and includes the possibility of bonuses worth up to 15 percent of his salary. Despite repeated requests from reporters for information about the contract before the meeting, CPS officials released none, and the matter was not included on the public agenda prior to the meeting. The bonus will be awarded at the board’s discretion, instead of being tied to specific goals and targets. A copy of Brizard’s contract was released to reporters at 6:30 p.m., nearly three hours after the board approved it.

The actions come one week after the newly seated Board of Education voted against granting teachers a 4 percent contractual pay raise, which could have cost $100 million, according to the district.

Board president David Vitale said the board, “didn’t give any raises today, we hired people at competitive salaries.”

Last week, CPS adjusted their deficit figure from $720 million down to $712 million. Teachers, who showed up in droves for the monthly meeting, sharply criticized the pay increases for Brizard and other top CPS execs, calling for CPS to “open up the books.” (For more on the deficit numbers, see http://www.chicagonewscoop.org/making-sense-of-chicago-public-schools-budget-deficit/

Preliminary state test scores were also presented at the meeting, showing an overall increase in CPS scores on state tests, with 73.3 percent of students meeting or exceeding standards this year, up from 69.5 percent last year, according to the district. But the percentage of students exceeding standards remained low, just 17.1 percent, up from 14.7 percent last year.

You can find a more detailed recap of the meeting at www.chicagonewscoop.org The Chicago News Cooperative produces public-interest journalism focused on Chicago, its politics, policy, culture and the arts, and the diverse communities of the metropolitan area. 
Posted on June 22, 2011 at 7:44 AM