Chicago Public Schools say they are out of money, but look where they are spending money freely.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Representatives available for print or broadcast media interviews

Amy Smolensky, 312-485-0053

Parent Group, Raise Your Hand Blasts CPS for Budget Priorities –

Cuts Disproportionately Hit District Run Schools while Charter and Central Office Spending Increases

CHICAGO, AUGUST 21 2013 — With just days left until school starts, parent group Raise Your Hand is calling on the city and CPS to stop the attack on district-run schools and restore funding so that children can start school with a dignified school day.

After reviewing the budget, Raise Your Hand is alarmed to find many areas of increased and spending to Central Office including:

· $8.8 million for Family and Community Engagement Department – increased from last year
· $50.4 million for Office of Innovation and Incubation – $22.2 million increase
· $41 million for new school development (after CPS closed 50 schools due to a “utilization crisis”)
· $68 million for Talent office – $22 million increase
· $20 million for no-bid SUPES contract
· $19 million Strategy Management Office – $10 million increase
· $14 million Accountability Office –same as last year despite claims that CPS is making significant reductions in standardized testing

Cuts to traditional district run schools are at $162 million while charters got an overall increase of $85 million dollars.

“CPS says they have no alternatives but to make these school-based cuts,” says parent Jeff Karova of Darwin Elementary. “Clearly CPS has chosen to increase spending in certain areas very far away from the classroom while cutting essential programs critical to the development and learning of our children.”

*Raise Your Hand has analyzed cuts to programs across the district and has found:
At the elementary level:
· 68 schools lost an art position
· 47 schools lost a music position
· 19 schools lost a performing arts position
· 51 schools lost a librarian position
· 22 schools lost a technology position
· 77 schools lost a reduced class size position

At the High School Level, cuts include:
· 90 English positions
· 28 Music positions
· 14 Art positions
· 37 History positions
· 28 Librarian positions
· 22 Social Studies positions
· 21 Biology positions
· 6 Chemistry positions
· 3 Physics positions
· 50 Math positions

130 bilingual positions at the elementary and high school level and 530 special education positions.

*The above is not a comprehensive list. There are other program areas impacted by budget cuts. RYH found these cuts on the cps budget site under “Budget by Program/Instruction/School”

“The ‘full’ school day is full of rhetoric,” says Wendy Katten, Executive Director of Raise Your Hand. “It is unclear how CPS and the mayor plan to have the children of Chicago college and career ready, let alone fully engaged in school with these kinds of devastating cuts. We have called on the mayor to restore some of the TIF surplus all summer but after seeing the amount of money spent in extraneous areas, we feel the mayor has more than one option for restoring these cuts.”

Raise Your Hand recognizes that a long term solution for revenue is critical and the pension holiday that CPS took for 3 years has impacted the deficit, yet the group insists that the problem can and must be minimized for the 2013-14 School Year and can be addressed before school starts.

The following parent/Raise Your Hand Representatives are available for interviews:
Wendy Katten -773-704-0336
Dwayne Truss – 773-879-5216
Jeff Karova – 312-316-8054
Cassie Creswell – 716-536-9313

About Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education: Raise Your Hand is a growing coalition of Chicago and Illinois public school parents, teachers and concerned citizens advocating for equitable and sustainable education funding, quality programs and instruction for all students and an increased parent voice in policy-making around education.

Amy Smolensky