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Added Aug 14 2011

If you own a home in Chicago, you are undoubtedly aware of the fact that CPS is proposing a property tax increase to cover a $712 million budget deficit. I would like to hear from residents in the 38th Ward as to whether or not they support this increase which will result in an average increase of $84 in your annual property tax bill. Is it fair for homeowners alone to pay for our public schools or would it be more equitable if these revenues came from a more universal source? Please let me know how you feel and let me know if you are a homeowner or not. Please send your comments and ideas to www.Ward38.com or just post a response here on Everyblock.

Please note that I will try to respond to everyone, but if I don't, be assured that I will read each and every comment. Thank you for your input!

  • Well I like Tracey better so why change it now? Why do you look at common sense suggestions and label them as ridicule toward you? I believe in "rolling up your sleeves" and jumping in" and I'm terribly sorry you took offense at that. When I see graffiti I call 311 then I paint my own garage door with a layer of primer first. I send pictures to the police. If I get the wrong letter and it's not far from my house I take it to the right address and leave it. Last of all (oh my GOD) if someone tapes an advertisement on my garage i peel it off and throw it away. I guess we all have our own outlook and I find looking for solutions very rewarding. Sorry Tracy, if I have offended you, but with the country in so much financial trouble this kind of thinking is going to become much more of a necessity. I will now fold up my soapbox and disappear into the night....

  • Inactive user

    To navigate away from the "Tracy and Pat" show....Alderman, how do we get to the position of actually being able to elect the school board?

  • Tracy Rowan Author and life-long Chicago resident

    1) You can like whatever you want to, the name is still Tracy.
    2) I also look for solutions and am pro-active in my community. Whether you recognize it or not, the way in which you express your ideas and opinions carries with it implications that those who don't agree with you are part of the problem. A moderation of tone would certainly help, but that is of course entirely your choice.
    3) I'm not offended, simply annoyed. Big difference.

    Richard, I would be thrilled to drop this particular thread, but I don't believe in letting the sort of I'm-sorry-you-don't-care-as-much-as-I-do passive aggression go by unchallenged. Pat's said her last piece and called it quits, and now I have done the same.

    I think your notion of an elected school board bears investigation. Unfortunately I fear the process would be just as politicized as the current method of appointments is now.

  • Missy Old Irving Park resident held hostage by a mutt

    Tracy - I worry about it being over politicized as well. So few people vote anyway (don't know exact statistics..I think I remember reading that it is 25% or lower of voting population in off presidential years)....who knows who or what would result.

  • Missy Old Irving Park resident held hostage by a mutt

    It strikes me it would be like a Judge section of ballot...no time to really spend on investigating each candidate, have to rely on Sun-times to tell me to who to vote for, have my morning paper with me while voting....

  • Tracy Rowan Author and life-long Chicago resident

    Exactly, Missy. Low voter turnout, lack of familiarity with the candidates... there are problems with voting, though it's definitely a more democratic method. And if families didn't care enough to educate themselves about the school board candidates, they'd have only themselves to blame if it all went pear-shaped.

  • Missy Old Irving Park resident held hostage by a mutt

    Just showed up on my twitter feed. Another way to look at it....
    http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/Unelected-Bodies-Shouldnt-Raise-Taxes-128460028.html

  • Tracy Rowan Author and life-long Chicago resident

    It's an interesting point of view, and it does make sense. Either give us the right to make our own mistakes, or give up your right to take money out of our pockets.

  • Inactive user

    I think it would make more sense to have the City Council control the schools budget. That way you are already voting for someone you know. The school board should, perhaps, be a policy body etc. but let the aldermen be responsible for the budget.

    Just to reiterate though, the budgets under control of the City Council are not exactly in good shape, so the issue may not be insulation from voters.

  • Inactive user

    I think it would make more sense to have the City Council control the schools budget. That way you are already voting for someone you know. The school board should, perhaps, be a policy body etc. but let the aldermen be responsible for the budget.

    Just to reiterate though, the budgets under control of the City Council are not exactly in good shape, so the issue may not be insulation from voters.

  • Alderman,

    Any suggestions to make your idea a possibility from a poliitician's point of view? I mean it's very political to take that kind of power away and not sure Chicago politics is ready to shake things up that much or give that power up. Would be interested in having productive suggestions to make this happen. Do we approach it from the state level? or a city level?

    BTW, Missy's link about why non-elected officials should not be allowed to raise property taxes was interesting.

  • Alderman Tim Cullerton 38th Ward 38th Ward Alderman

    It would take legilation at the state level to change State Law to provide for an elected school board (not likely to happen in the near future). The electorate would have to demand that their State Represenatives and Senators introduce, support and pass such legislation.

  • Alderman Tim Cullerton 38th Ward 38th Ward Alderman

    (legislation) sorry for the typo

  • Tracy please...a sense of humor is not passive aggressive behavior. I apologized for spelling your name wrong but I just can't take back the idea that so many of us...including me...don't just work on problems by talking about them when we could be, yes, selling candy bars or whatever it takes to get something done. No one person can do so. I have voted in every election since I turned 18. Going to the polls counts it really does. If I'm unfamiliar with a candidate I just don't vote for them without any information to back it. An interesting start with the schools would be a listing of the public school teacher's salaries throughout the city and the correlation to the performance of the schools they're working at. I remember a couple of years ago the teachers in Arlington Heights were pushing for raises and some helpful soul posted salaries. A gym teacher was making $105,000.00 per year. Needless to say the salaries did not go up that year.

    Alderman Cullerton I apologize if it appears that I'm being mean to Tracey...um Tracy. I'm sure she's a fine constituent and a fine human being. My offer to sell 840 candy bars still stands and I would be more than willing to volunteer my time a couple of days a week to help out in your office OR to help with flyers when issues come up. I'm not perfect but I'm also not all talk. Is there any way to check on these salaries; I believe they're public record? Thanks for listening...er reading this and please let me know how I can help.

    Pat

  • Tracy Rowan Author and life-long Chicago resident

    It's over now, Pat. Let's move along.

  • Alderman Tim Cullerton 38th Ward 38th Ward Alderman

    DavidF
    There are arguments for and against giving the City Council control over the CPS budget. I, for one, would rather see an elected school board comprised of education professionals (teachers and administrators) develop the programs and staffing needs, (and select a school superintendent/CEO). Such a board could then be held directly accountable to the electorate for their success or failure. Such a board should also include the Mayor (or his or her designee) as an ex-officio member.

  • Tracy Rowan Author and life-long Chicago resident

    Education professionals would be the ideal, of course, but it's difficult to get educators to take the time to run campaigns, I think. But I'm inclined to think this is an excellent solution.

  • It's over? Let me read all of these and catch up on what the solutions are. Fantastic!

  • Inactive user

    Alderman, the idea of an elected board of educational professionals sounds great, but I fear it would end up more like the water reclamation district commissioners. I have no idea if those people are professionals. It doesn't seem like it.

    I think that education professionals should be appointed to the board to make policy etc., but the public finance professionals we already employ in the City Council should tell them how much money they have to play with. After all, schools are an integral part of our neighborhoods and maybe the aldermen need to have a little electoral skin in the game to really take a good look at the schools.

  • Inactive user

    PortagePat, I think purposely misspelling someone's name several times is inherently disrespectful. I also think that your talk about American "can do" attitude is oddly out of place from someone who is acting like $84 a year will wipe out the benefit of their mortgage refinance. It strikes me that you and your candy sale might be better served at home.

  • Jill Treehouse view of Jeff Park

    Turning the CPS into a political football for position driven groups to fight over year after year ignores the fundamental mission of education. We already have elected officials to run our schools! There is the Mayor, a CEO who puts the best team together for each department (CPS, CTA, CPD....) and holds them accountable. Elected Alderman provide budget, standards and hiring oversight. State Representatives and Senators set statewide standards and most importantly hold the purse strings. Hopefully our US Representatives and Senators are engaged in both policy and budget discussions.

    Providing a quality education for future generations requires top notch professional educators driving content, financial wizzards counting the pennies, unified vision and support from the elected officials who put the team together and most importantly an invested community that believe that we can and will have a world class school system in Chicago.

    I believe that we already have all of those pieces in play. The problem seems to be coming from the now politicaly important issues of where funding comes from and bickering between adults who just want things their way. Remove the grandstanding positions on both sides and stop using the schools as a political prize. Less elected officials in our schools, not more.

  • Bill the Engineer /ChicagoNWside/

    That's quite a persuasive point Jill.
    Rarely do individuals with the appropriate background in education and finance run for positions on elected school boards. Those with narrow social & political agendas do. We don't need THAT kind of divisiveness to add to the kind that we already have.

  • When the lotto first started 20-30yrs ago the politicos came out and said this is the salvation to our school problems.The lotto funds will bring the CPS up to par.This will save us.What happened to those funds?What happened to the salvation Mr. Cullerton?Where are those millions of dollars going Mr. Cullerton? How many CPS superintendents have we had in the last 15 yrs.They hang for 2-4 yrs then run for their lives.Why is that?Who is accountable for this $84.00 increase that I know will have to pay because you won't find a universal source to pay for it will you.Smoke and mirrors as usual.Maybe have a public forum like CPS likes.Maybe have a march like they do on the Southside when one of the CPS students gets shot.That works wonders.

  • Inactive user

    So Jill would that be a no?

    I say no, my child goes to a selective enrollment school. Because they have tested as the number one elementary school in the state for the last 17 years CPS rewards them by giving them nothing. The building is only 12 rooms, with no gym and no lunch room. Because we are not a neighborhood school the neighbors do not support us, the Alderman does not support us and we have school fees we pay out of pocket of $125 every year. I would rather give that money directly to my son's school. When children achieve and exceed state standards they are ignored by CPS. The school is falling apart, needs all new electrical and in desperate need of a addition. You only get money when you are failing. (please excuse the typos i am on my phone)

  • This will be the same as casinos for the city of Chicago.Casinos will get us out of this budgt crisis we have.It might work if this wasn't Chicago.In 15yrs another Mayor will say we need every one in Chicago to pay $400.00 for a city sticker and that will get us out of this budget crisisAnd bikes will pay $100.00 to tool around this burg.Everybody plays everybody pays.Who is one of the MAJOR investors the Rivers Casino.If you guess right you get a free play on a slot.This place will cure a lot of problems in Crook Co.See me in 10yrs.

  • Inactive user

    @ Bill selective enrollmemts (SE) are not for profit schools or supported by private entities. You are thinking Charter schools. SE schools are schools you have to test to get into. 3000 children tested for 30 spots in my child's class. SE schools get their funds from CPS just as a neighborhood school does.CPS awards funds based upon the number of free and reduced lunches eaten at the school. Not if your school is falling apart and you have to unplug everything to be able to turn on the overhead projevtorso you do not blow a fuse .... The type you screw in.

  • Jill Treehouse view of Jeff Park

    I admit this thread has long ago lost it focus, but I initally said I would grudgingly support a needed increase in my rent. Yes, my rent. Every piece of property (sans non profits and schools) pays property taxes. My rent will go up it the owner has a tax increase. My goods will be more expensive if businesses are hit with yet another tax. But to me personally, education is the great equalizer. An amazing institution that gives anyone and everyone an opportunity to be more and achieve more.

    My most recent post was regarding my strong opinion that elected school boards serve as a platform for single minded individuals who want to use the schools as a bargning chip. I do not believe in a bigger is better government. We do not need an additional layer of politics involved in what is already a mess.

    But I would like to learn more about the performance versus cost at the SE school mentioned. If the facilities are outdated and parents only pay $125 and yet the school is rated as one of our states best we should be sharing that information. Dedicated teachers and innovative curriculum can be inplemented in any school with any budget and should be available to all children.

    My humble opiniony is simplify the CPS and eliminated usless boards, committees, and consultants. This is not rocket science it is a battle of egos and agendas and it may work in Washington but it does not belong in the CPS. If a small school with no budget can achieve great goals every school should be able to soar!

  • Inactive user

    When I replied I thought this question had just been asked by the Alderman. On my phone I did not see the 170 responses before replying.

    The SE school my child attends does so well because the children are scoring 99.9% on the test given to get into the school. They are accelerated by 1 -2 grades. Their education is a classical one meaning focusing on Math, Read/Writing, Science and they study Latin. The lowest IQ to get in is 139 and up. So these kids are cherry picked, of course they are #1 in the state. They are the type of children who seek out information. So yes a small school of 265 children w/ an even smaller budget does succeed and exceed because the are they are skimmed off the top so to speak.

    The $125 school fee we pay every year goes toward the school buying supplies because CPS does not provide us enough money. On top of the fact that each child brings on the first day of school a ream of paper, a roll of paper towels, a box of Kleenex, a bottle of hand sanitizer because our school can not afford to buy any of that type of stuff. We must also provide the basics pencils, pens, folders, spirals etc. Mean while the Mayor hands out backpacks full of supplies to children in failing schools. But yet we have families struggling financially at our school too and out of work parents trying to make ends meet.

    I do not I want to pay more in taxes towards CPS when my child can not even have gym and has to eat at a desk every day as there is no lunchroom because CPS refuses to build on to our school. Yet they just built a new beautiful neighborhood 4 blocks away for a failing school. You can give them a shiny new building and they still will be a failing school. Just as we have a crappy building and exceed. It is not the building. It is the teachers, the parents who are invested in their children and the children's desire to learn. Children want to learn when what they say is respected. When people are willing to listen to them and are interested in them.

  • Inactive user

    I should also note that schools on the south side also have free summer camp programs, free after school care and after school programs. I pay $400 per month for my child to go to an after school program while I work and support my child as a sole parent. When the north west side is offered the same programs as the south I would be happy to pay the tax increase.

    Jill you should read:

    District 299 http://www.chicagonow.com/district-299-chicago-public-schools-blog

    CPS Obsessed http://cpsobsessed.com/

    Raise Your Hand http://www.facebook.com/groups/117581168258426/?ref=ts

  • Inactive user

    wow, not sure I can read all of these comments at this point. But David F I would like to point out Nettlehorst is NOT a success story. Sure they made their building all shiny & pretty thanks to friends of Nettelhorst, however they are not really a good school academically. I would not send my child there. They also have the benefit of having parents who are Blackhawks as a fundraising arm of the school.

    You have to look at the meets and exceeds:

    http://schools.chicagotribune.com/school/nettelhorst-elementary-school_chicago

    and then look at where they fall in the bar graph.

    Then go look at Decatur Classical, Edison, Keller and Lenart. Also, Beaubien is not a Regional Gifted Program. It is a neighborhood school with an options program which you do have to test to get into. The only regional gifted programs in CPS are Edison, Keller and Lenart. http://www.cps.edu/Schools/Elementary_schools/Pages/Elementaryschools.aspx

    Schools will not be successful without parents who are vested in them. Children will not do well in school unless someone believes in them and encourages them to succeed. The obvious bonus is if it is their parent. Having served on the PTA for years the sad reality is that in all schools you have 10% of the parents who do everything. The rest only show up at report card pick up when it is required (every other report card).

  • Jill Treehouse view of Jeff Park

    There are some things that it seems we all could agree upon, dedicated teachers, involved parents and a simplified CPS are needed to achieve succesful schools. Does it really have to become a hot potato for politial wannabees (sp) ?

  • Missy Old Irving Park resident held hostage by a mutt

    Jaxx: From your own linK: Three Regional Gifted Centers are full-site centers (Edison, Keller, and Lenart), meaning that all students in these schools are in the Regional Gifted Center, and no student may enroll in the schools without participating in the application and selection process. Nine Regional Gifted Centers are housed in neighborhood schools (Beaubien, Bell, Carnegie, Coonley, Greeley, Orozco, Pritzker, Pulaski and South Loop), meaning that the school has two separate programs, a regular education program and the Regional Gifted Center program. One Regional Gifted Center is housed in a magnet school (Beasley) – in this case, the school has two separate programs, a magnet school and a Regional Gifted Center.

  • Inactive user

    So many good points here.

    Jaxx, Nettelhorst is not an unqualified success. It is not an elite performer, but it is apparently a much better school than it was. There is something to take from their story, but also cautionary elements.

  • Alderman Tim Cullerton 38th Ward 38th Ward Alderman

    Jill,
    The City Council has no budget or hiring oversight over CPS, CTA or CPD (PARKS). Their budgets and assessments are determined by appointed boards and commissions (Mayoral appointments). Take the tollway commissioners as another example...an 87 percent increase with no real accountability to the electorate. I just think people should have the right to elect those who have the authority to levy taxes and fees from your income. I don't expect everyone to agree with me on this issue, it's really just my own opinion. But be clear on the issue of CPS oversight...the City Council has no say so over the school board's decisions or tax levys (maybe that's a good thing)! Thanks! : )

  • Inactive user

    Ald. Cullerton you may be right about that one. But you can designate funds that go to schools from your ward. Ald. Levar was a big on donating to schools and fund raising for them. You can also designate TIF funds to them correct? I know in Ald Pawar (sp) ward parents are up in arms because Lycee (sp) the french school is asking for TIF funds to build their new school when normally these funds should go to a neighborhood school.

    The problem with SE schools is that there is no Alderman to represent the school because these are not neighborhood schools (where as Bell, South Loop and Beaubien are neighborhood schools with gifted programs in them). The children who attend these schools come from wards all over the city. Then the neighborhoods resentment towards them because their children can not attend and it is across the street from their house or up the block. So in our case we only have our parent base to pull from for donations.

    @Missy I am all to familiar with the OAE process and the SE schools. Son attended Edison for Kindergarten. It was not thrilled with the school (at its old location not the new one), so he tested and was accepted at Decatur. Which is a much better fit for him. I have a friend and former classmate of my son's who is switching from Edison to Beaubien's options program this fall. They are very excited!

    @David Waters's is another school that is similar to Nettelhorst with lots of parent involvement that took a school from nothing to something pretty decent. Water's on

    Portage is overall pretty said score wise. But with 80% low income they are a pretty financially stable school. Low income brings in a lot of money.
    http://schools.chicagotribune.com/school/portage-park-elementary-school_chicago

  • Inactive user

    also just for conversation Disney II is doing some pretty amazing things considering they are only a few years old. This is a school with large parent involvement, but also a magnet school where children are accepted based upon the lottery system and are bussed in. This is definitely a school to watch! Anyone who lives with in the neighborhood boundaries can apply. I believe that is 1.5 miles from the school.

    http://schools.chicagotribune.com/school/disney-ii-elementary-schools_chicago/

  • Missy Old Irving Park resident held hostage by a mutt

    Jaxx - daughter is now at Northside prep after 8 years at excellent Beaubian program...I think we all become experts on CPS after having gone thru it :).

  • Inactive user

    Congrats to your family! That is awesome! Northside is our goal as well. After Decatur I plan to try to send my son to Beaubien's options program for 7th and 8th. So that is good news! I wish we had more options for SE High Schools on the north west side. I do not count Lane Tech. I also would not send my child there for their new AC or is it an IB program for 7th and 8th. or Taft either.

  • Missy Old Irving Park resident held hostage by a mutt

    There were 8 kids from her graduating class that went on to Northside, which if I remember.correctly was more than normal years Kids at Northside come from all over, many different backgrounds and schools. Our friends have twins and 1 got in and 1 didn't this year (they were in catholic schools in elementary). It really comes down to test scores (my daughter took the prep class...which when you think about it is a ridiculous amount of pressure - 7th grade was a very stressful time!).

  • Inactive user

    especially for mom! LOL! (stressful time!)

  • Off topic, but wanted to chime in about schools. My oldest graduated from Hawthorne and Whitney Young. I have two at Inter-American Magnet school near Wrigleyville. I applied to nearby magnet schools with no luck and most neighborhood schools only offer half day kindergarten. Having gone through the OAE and SE process, I have done my homework. I wish northwest side parents had more public school options (not parochial - of which I am a product of) in the northwest area. Has anyone ever checked out the attendance boundaries for Taft? It has to be the largest area, the most feeder schools, etc. There has to be a way to add another hs in the area to help alleviate the overcrowding, while offering a college prep program.

    I may be opening a can of worms, but what a great opportunity we have to add some great amenities to our neighborhood - a park, elementary school and high school to the undeveloped area behind Wright College. A perfect example of a great use of space is Winnemac Park, Amundsen Hs, Chappell School and a football/soccer field near the corners of Foster and Damen. Take a drive down there one day.

    Seems like residents/voters get heard when they request/demand additional programs,etc in north center (Coonley gifted program), Roscoe Village (Lane AC center), south loop (Skinner School, new park can't think of name, etc) and the list goes on. How can we have a voice in what our community needs and to work collaboratively to come up with a plan to increase our kids options? especially with high school?

    Edna

  • Rosemarie Life long NWsider, 17 year resident of Old Irving

    Jaxx, you should be very proud of your children's intelligence. It sounds like you have the good fortune of having bright children who appreciate their education.

    I am a bit disappointed that you "don't count" Lane Tech as a HS option. My son is beginning his sophomore year and we are very pleased with the school. To be perfectly honest, his first choice was not Lane, but in the end he is extremely happy with it and is doing very, very well. Yes, it may not have the bells and whistles that the newer SE schools have but as you stated, "It is not the building. It is the teachers, the parents who are invested in their children and the children's desire to learn. Children want to learn when what they say is respected. When people are willing to listen to them and are interested in them." That is the exact experience we are having at Lane.

  • Inactive user

    Lane would not be a good fit for my child. Itt has nothing to do with the old building. My 9 year old is doing algebra now and currently reading To Kill A Mocking Bird. He needs a school that offers independent learning options and advanced placememt classes.

  • Rosemarie Life long NWsider, 17 year resident of Old Irving

    A parent knows what is best for their child.

    This comment is for those who are still reading this thread and are unfamiliar with Lane: please know that Lane does offer Advance Placement classes.

  • Inactive user

    Also Lane is NOT the NW side. Families near or west of Austin have no CPS HS options. As well as no SE options at all.

  • Inactive user

    Rosemarie I was on my phone earlier and it is hard to reply and even harder to not make typos when replying.

    This discussion has gone from taxes to one about better school options. I do not support increasing my taxes until there are better school options for the NW side. OIP where you live is in the fringe of the expressway and relatively close to Roscoe Village, LP, Lakeview etc and the schools there. Hawthorne. IA , Blaine, Bell etc really aren't viable options for families living on the NW side (western portions of 38, 45 and 41). For someone living in Dunning, Oriole or Edison Park - Lane, Whitney, Payton, Northside Park, Hawthorne, LaSalle, Decatur, Edison are not options for their children as it puts them on a bus for over 2 hours each day to go to school. That is a minimum time commute. The NW side is a desert when it comes to classical, gifted or SE programs. I urge Alderman Cullerton to demand a new NW high school be built for ALL children and to include an excelerated program.

    As far as Lane goes, you need to realize that the mind of a child who is in the gifted IQ usually has social and emotional delays. The also learn differently than children who learn at the average pace. Which also requires teachers who know how to accommodate their needs. If my child is not properly challenged he is disruptive and bored. Yes, Lane has AP classes however Northside's AP classes comparatively are more advanced then Lane's. My neighbor's child switched last year from Lane to Northside because it was to easy for her. She was in AP classes and not challenged. Schools are not one size fits all. Lane is a fine school but socially my son would be eaten alive there, made fun or and not fit in. At Northside he would be just one of many quirky kids. I would also not send my child to Whitney for the same reasons. All else fails we will move to the suburbs to the Adali Stevenson district.

  • Inactive user

    Thank you Alderman Cullerton it was good of you to explain your positions yesterday at the fair to me. It's a hot button issue, but like the one lady I mentioned that was there, she made good comment of "If we can spend 100.00 bucks going to a game, can't we spend 80 on our children"? It was a strong point. And thanks for setting us straight on who Levy's taxes on us. It should be elected officials and should not be appointed ones. Take care.

  • Tracy Rowan Author and life-long Chicago resident

    Some of you might find this interesting and informative. It certainly addresses some of what goes on behind the scenes apropos of education and elected school boards. Please don't take this as a vote against elected school boards, just an informational video.

    http://youtu.be/2mbJhjCbwo8

  • Tracy Rowan Author and life-long Chicago resident
  • Tracy Rowan Author and life-long Chicago resident
Hello, neighbor. This thread was closed due to violations of the EveryBlock community guidelines, which intend to keep discussions informative, friendly and respectful.

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