"We feel like teachers should be given a fair contract. We know, a parents, that a teacher's teaching conditions are our children's learning conditions, and a parents we also know how much budgets have been cut, and it's really rough in our schools right now," said Jennie Biggs of Raise Your Hand.
"The McClellan community really rallied when the school was on the initial school closings list," said Jennie Biggs, a Bridgeport parent and board member of education-advocacy organization Raise Your Hand.
Student fees began rising in 2013 when CPS moved to a budgeting system that earmarks money for schools based on the number of students, rather than the number of teaching positions, according to a survey by parent-advocacy group Raise Your Hand.
Schools' growing reliance on fees has widened the gap between schools in wealthier areas, like the Far Northwest Side, and lower-income areas of the city, according to the group, which advocates for additional funding from both the state and city for Chicago schools.
Among the changes in this year’s budget: Funds for general and special education classes are now commingled into a single allocation, which some teachers say puts those programs at odds with each other when it comes to resources, funding and scheduling.
“This creates a lose-lose situation for principals who have to meet the needs of students with special needs by taking resources from the larger gen ed population,” said Mary Hughes, who serves on the board of directors for Raise Your Hand Illinois, during the early session Friday morning.
Jennie Biggs with the Raise Your Hand parent group proposed another way CPS could save some money: cancel plans for the new Near North Side selective enrollment school formerly known as Obama Prep.
"We are in financial crisis. Chicago does not need another selective enrollment high school that serves the few while redirecting scarce resources from the many," she said. "Cancel Obama Prep. Canceling the Obama Prep project would free up $60 million in TIF funds, and $30 million of that could then be directed back to the taxing body it was withheld from, CPS."
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