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Brighton Park Neighborhood Council hosts rally on CPS’ proposal to build a new Noble Charter school on Southwest Side. Thursday, July 23, 2015 (Brian Jackson/For the Chicago Sun-Times)

Sunday Letters: BGA column on charter schools flawed

SHARE Sunday Letters: BGA column on charter schools flawed
SHARE Sunday Letters: BGA column on charter schools flawed

A column published in the Sun-Times this week from the Better Government Association uses faulty math to make wild and inaccurate generalizations about charter and neighborhood school funding.

The story makes apples to oranges comparisons between a charter and neighborhood school, and erroneously concludes a wide disparity in funding. In reality, the two schools are of similar size and budgets. The charter school (Polaris), with 432 students, has a budget of $4.32 million, while the district-run school (Gregory) has a budget of $4.28 million with 422 students, a gain of $400,000 from this point last year.

Using flawed analysis, the story also falsely claims that neighborhood schools citywide will receive $146 million less than last year.

Moreover, the story falsely implies that CPS is favoring charters over other public schools. In truth, funding is increasing at both neighborhood and charter schools experiencing rising enrollment and declining at schools with fewer enrolling students. Parents are making choices between types of public schools and the funding is following the students. With a billion-dollar budget deficit, thanks to pension mandates and cuts in state education funding, this is the most practical and fair way to apportion a fixed pot of available dollars. Other supplemental funds are available to schools with severe enrollment declines.

This also means that when CPS provides resources directly to neighborhood schools — such as a building, administrators, security — comparable funds are provided to our public school charters. In addition, when more children from low-income families attend a school, they receive more federal aid.

School by school funding data is easily available to any member of the public. In fact, Chicago Public Schools has a transparent and navigable database of school spending information online so that any member of the public can evaluate the data themselves at cps.edu/budget.

Forrest Claypool,CPS CEO

SEND LETTERS TO:letters@suntimes.com (Please include the name of your neighborhood or suburb, and a phone number for verification.)

No bad city privatization deals

Mayor Emanuel and City Council will have to make tough decisions on the city’s budget, but one idea that should not be considered is bad privatization deals. As seen by the examples of the parking meter deal and Chicago Public Schools janitorial services, privatization deals that are not done well are not in the best interest of the city.

One population that might not be thought of in the decision making are the youth, which I am one. While privatization may help now, it can significantly cost the generations afterwards. City Council needs to pass the Privatization, Transparency, Accountability and Performance Ordinance to help the public inform the decisions of privation of city assets now and in the future.

Korbin Houston,Intern, Illinois PIRG,Woodlawn/Hyde Park

Blago’s faux cries of innocence

The ever delusional Blagojevichs are in the news again, bleating their cries of innocence to all that would listen. “Justice!” Rod and Patti scream, as if their pleas are ever going to fall on ears that will be sympathetic to their goal of freeing Rod from prison. Only there’s a catch: no matter how corrupt our state is, no matter how easily Rod played by the unwritten rules of politics, our former governor got busted trying to sell a senate seat to Jesse Jackson for over a million dollars. So I say let them take it to the Supreme Court. Because when they do, and the justices rule 9-0 that Blago should creep back to the cell that is home for the foreseeable future, maybe then and only then, will the citizens of Illinois find peace from having to listen to his faux cries of innocence.

Scot Sinclair,Gurnee

Trump’s mapmaking

Relative to the latest media’s incisive analysis of geographically handicapped supporters of the Trump Mapmaking Society, I have this to offer.

Let’s go along with Donald Trump to construct a wall between the U.S. and Mexico but back date it to the 1840s when Mexico included virtually the entire Southwest before this country stole it from them.

So let’s start with the border between Texas and Oklahoma, extend it east and southward to exclude Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase and on to the Gulf. Then project it west to include Arizona and southward to the current boundary between the Grand Canyon state and the sovereign state of Mexico.

Since this country didn’t pay Mexico the $15 million owed them for America’s hegemony, by default those states confiscated by the United States should revert to previous ownership.

I believe this concession would, indeed, persuade the Mexican government to pay for the wall.

James D. Cook, Schaumburg


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