CHICAGO — Principals at 167 Chicago Public Schools — including leaders at some of the top selective enrollment schools in the city — are calling on lawmakers in Springfield to solve the district's budget woes before a February "Doomsday."
But if that doesn't happen, the principals say in an op-ed posted Thursday afternoon on the Sun-Times website, CPS should stop building Obama College Prep.
The principals — including leaders of Whitney Young, Jones, Lane Tech, Payton and Northside high schools — said they wanted legislators to "end the stalemate" over the budget, which has been in limbo for months. Lawmawkers need to allocate CPS with 20 percent of the state's spending on education, vote against bills with a "pension holiday" and generate revenue with sales tax, according to the principals.
And if they can't do that, the principals said, then Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool should halt new construction, including of Obama College Prep (although CPS has said it no longer plans to name the school after the president). The principals also want the city to divert the maximum amount of tax-increment financing funds possible back to schools and make cuts to central office positions.
"We urge our leaders to act now to help our students get the education they deserve," the principals wrote in the Sun-Times.
The alternative — like budget cuts or getting rid of teachers — will cause students to suffer, according to the principals. If an elementary school with 500 students were to face a 10 percent budget cut, it would lose as many as three teachers, according to the principals.
"Cuts made during the year impact student schedules and classroom assignments," the principals wrote. "Changes like these negatively affect a school’s culture and climate which our communities have worked so hard to build."
Other principals who signed the letter include outspoken Emanuel critic Troy LaRaviere at Blaine Elementary, Ethan Netterstrom at Skinner North, Debbie Clark at Skinner West and Donna Oberhardt at Edison Regional Gifted Center.
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