Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education
July 18, 2010 Update
When we started in April, 2010 it was to effect change as quickly as possible. But time is relative, you have to take a short-term and a long-term perspective. In the short-term we have class room sizes back to status quo (except for high-schools), full-day kindergarten and most of the funding back from the state. In the long-term we ask ourselves "Will we be back in this situation next year?" and it seems to be a resounding YES. So this campaign for fair and sustainable education funding is not over.
One result of our persistence is that our voices are being heard. Press links
July 14, 2010 Update
At a press conference on June 28, 2010 CPS announced that class size for elementary schools and full day board-funded kindergarten programs will remain status quo. CPS says this occurred because the Governor further reduced state cuts to bilingual and special education programs, resulting in an additional restoration of approximately $57 million to CPS.
CPS reported they now have a deficit of $370 million and will have to increase class size for high schools to 33 students, and they may still make cuts to magnet programs, transportation, after school programs and more.
The parents of the Raise Your Hand coalition have done a lot of good work together in the past three months, but we need to continue to press our state and local leaders for real, sustainable reform that will impact our schools in the long-term. The city’s tax increment financing program (TIF) is one area where we are beginning to focus more of our efforts. Each year, hundreds of millions of dollars are diverted from CPS and allocated to TIF districts across the city. This program was originally created to offer economic development to blighted areas in the city, but has become grossly mismanaged and abused. TIF districts have sprouted up all over the city in areas that are far from blighted and money that should be going to our schools is being diverted into non-educational projects. We are urging Mayor Daley to let CPS keep the money it needs to educate our children. Please sign our petition to the Mayor at petition-to-the mayor.
We will also be urging state legislators to look at long-term solutions for spending and revenue reform to improve funding to our schools. On July 29, 2010 RYH has a meeting scheduled with Senate President John Cullerton to discuss these issues.
We will also be meeting with Ron Huberman in July to discuss budget issues.
Thank you for all your hard work. Please pass the petition on to your friends.
Raise Your Hand Survey
Let us know what you are thinking.
Please fill out the RYH summer temperature check. We promise it will be quick. We need your feedback today.
[May 28, 2010] The Illinois General Assembly adjourned yesterday after approving a budget expenditure plan that prevents catastrophic cuts in funding for public education, but still falls short of full funding. The cut to statewide education funding contained in the original budget has been reduced by 75 percent, from $1.3 billion to $327 million. Raise Your Hand calls on Governor Quinn to use his budget authority provided under the Emergency Budget Act to restore the remaining $327 million.
Our coalition has worked tirelessly over the past two months to emphatically communicate to state lawmakers that level funding for education must be maintained. Through rallies, a Springfield Lobby Day, meetings with legislators, letter-writing campaigns, and the more than 145,000 emails that have been sent to state elected officials through NoTo37.org, our voices have been heard, and the gap has significantly narrowed.
We recognize that this is an incomplete and short-term solution to the education funding crisis and in no way addresses the need for long-term sustainable funding for public schools. However, this is an important first step in filling the $600 million deficit that the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) face for the upcoming school year. Unfortunately, there remains a projected budget hole of $232 — $325 million that needs to be addressed by CPS leadership.
Mayor Daley and the CPS leadership have been remarkably silent about how they plan to fill the remaining budget deficit, other than to propose teacher lay-offs, which would force an unacceptable 35 to 37 students per classroom. Raise Your Hand calls on local officials and CPS leadership to look at other sources to adequately fund the Chicago Public Schools, including cutting waste in the CPS budget, and reforming the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) system to halt the annual diversion of an estimated $275 million in CPS property tax revenues. Over the next month leading up to the June 23 CPS board vote on the 2010-2011 CPS budget, Raise Your Hand will mobilize locally, with the same razor-sharp focus we used to send our message to state elected officials: NO MORE CUTS TO EDUCATION
Raise your voice:
1. Use the web site NoTo37.org (site name refers to class size) to e-mail key Illinois legislators to ask for appropriate and sustained state funding for public education. It takes as little as 60 seconds. Strengthen your message by editing the letter to indicate your positive support in favor of a specific solution, rather than only stating your opposition to cuts. You can learn about the issue using the links in the next section.
2. Urge others in Illinois to use NoTo37.org: family, neighbors, friends, neighborhood associations, church members, or members of other organizations.
3. Write Governor Pat Quinn to ask that he use his budget authority provided under the Emergency Budget Act to restore the remaining $327 million. Use the Contact the Governor web site. A sample letter is contained in the links to the right.
4. For greatest effectiveness, follow up e-mailing with a phone call or face-to-face visit.
If you prefer to write a letter or want contact information, click here.
Learn about the issue:
> Learn more about House Bill 174 (HB174)
Attend an event:
Raise Your Hand Meeting
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Ariel Community Academy 1119 E 46th St - Featuring Chicago Reader report Ben Joravsky
CPS Board Meeting
Wednesday June 23, 2010 7:00 AM - 1:00 PM
125 S. Clark St., 5th Floor. Arrive early to sign up to speak.
Invite schools to join:
Raise Your Hand is a growing coalition of Chicago public schools and organizations associated with or advocating for public education. Members collaborate to influence state and local officials to provide appropriate, equitable and sustainable funding for public education. The coalition provides shared tools and methods to enable schools and organizations, in Chicago and throughout Illinois, to effectively mobilize their own stakeholders using their own member distribution lists and communication avenues.
One or two parent leaders (LSC, PTA/PTO, Friends or fundraising) from any CPS school are invited to join this leadership group. Interested school leaders can join through Google Groups (IL Raise Your Hand). Or contact Caroline Pollock Bilicki (email@example.com).
Everyone is encouraged to join us on Facebook.
Consider the effects on CPS schools:
Ron Huberman, Chief Executive Officer of Chicago Public Schools, provided a letter to parents and guardians on April 22, 2010, listing cuts and changes that will be included in the school budgets which will go online on April 26, 2010.
- Classes up to 35 students
- Significant cuts to non-varsity sports
- Reductions in funding for magnet, Montessori, gifted, and IB programs
- Significant cuts to full day kindergarten
- Reduction of after-school and summer school programs
- Up to 11% funding cuts to charter schools
These cuts are necessary in order to close the CPS budget deficit of $600 million, of which more than half is due to the state’s proposed cuts in education funding to CPS by $368 million. In fact, the state has proposed to cut education funding across the state by $1.3 billion. Of further concern to CPS is that the state is currently late on $300 million in FY 2010 payments. CPS is increasingly concerned that the state will not honor this debt. If that occurs, it will add another $300 million to CPS’ FY 2011 deficit. The impact of that risk is not reflected in school budgets released on April 26th.