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167 Chicago Public Schools principals: Save our schools now

“If we don’t stand up for children, then we don’t stand for much.”Marian Wright Edelman

Principals throughout Chicago are anticipating substantial budget cuts in the coming weeks. These cuts will come soon after previous budget cuts earlier this fiscal year and after decreasing budgets over successive school years. For too long, students in the Chicago Public Schools have been asked to do more with less, and they are suffering.

Somewhere in all of the headlines about elections, budget stalemates, contract negotiations, and worst of all, impropriety within our district, we have lost focus on talking about who is impacted every time a dollar is diverted from a school district.

OPINION

To be crystal clear, any additional cuts to a school’s budget negatively impact children in Chicago.

We are standing with the hundreds of high school students who protested the budget crisis this month. We are standing up for the nearly 400,000 students in CPS who deserve better.

All principals agree on one thing — students suffer when they lose teachers. Budget cuts to schools will result in many teachers losing their jobs. Consider the likely impact of a 10 percent cut to an elementary school of 500 students: as many as three positions — an art teacher, a second-grade teacher and a middle school science teacher. Imagine a 20 percent cut at a high school of 1,000 children: 10-12 positions — the entire math and foreign language departments. Cuts made during the year impact student schedules and classroom assignments. Changes like these negatively affect a school’s culture and climate which our communities have worked so hard to build.

The few CPS principals who are fortunate to have extra funds are holding onto the money while they wait for cuts! This money should have already been spent on things like computers, books or even an additional arts teacher. Instead, the dollars sit while principals, teachers, and students wait for our state legislators and governor to simply talk to one another.

Conversations in Springfield and at City Hall must start with a focus on providing a better education for our children.

We are calling for our elected state officials to:

  •  Act now. End the stalemate in Springfield.
  •   Pledge to vote against any bill that includes a pension holiday. Our children need long-term stability, not future uncertainty.
  •   Look to the nonpartisan Center for Tax and Budget Accountability for common sense ideas:
  •   Generate revenue through expansion of sales tax to include consumer services.
  •   Increase the personal income tax rates rolled back on Jan. 1, 2015.
  •   Scrap the unrealistic ‘pension funding ramp’ and re-amortize the state’s unfunded pension liabilities into level-dollar annual payments. When school districts are forced to allocate more and more for pension liabilities, less and less goes to children.
  •   Fund the Chicago Public Schools fairly. Our district makes up 20 percent of the state’s school enrollment. Our students should receive 20 percent of the state’s spending on education.

If our state leaders cannot compromise and provide relief prior to a February “Doomsday” in CPS, we are asking Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CEO Forrest Claypool to:

  •  Divert the maximum amount allowed by law from Tax Increment Financing funds to the Chicago Public Schools.
  •   Halt new school construction, including “Obama College Prep.”
  •   Cut central office positions to the maximum extent possible prior to taking any funds from schools.

We urge our leaders to act now to help our students get the education they deserve.

We, the undersigned, are standing up for the children in our schools,

This letter is signed by 167 Chicago Public Schools principals:

1. Ruth Martini-Walsh, Addams Elementary School
2. Hiliana León, Albany Park Multicultural Academy
3. Elias Estrada, Alcott College Prep
4. Lennette Coleman, Ariel Community Academy
5. Shelley Cordova, Armour School
6. Jewel Diaz, Ashburn Community School
7. Ken Fitzner, Audubon Elementary
8. Wayne Issa, Austin Business and Entrepreneurship Academy
9. Patricia Brekke, Back of the Yards High School
10. Patrick MacMahon, Barnard Elementary
11. Estuardo Mazin, Barry Elementary
12. Georgia Davos-Vetas, Bateman Elementary
13. Manda M. Lukic, Beard School
14. Heather Yutzy, Belding Elementary
15. Sandra Caudill, Bell Elementary
16. Michelle Ludford, Beaubien Elementary
17. Karen Bryar, Blair Early Childhood Center
18. Troy LaRaviere, Blaine Elementary School
19. Nia Abdullah, Bowen High School
20. Seth Lavin, Brentano Math and Science Academy
21. Sara Haas, Brighton Park Elementary School
22. Kenya Sadler, Brown School of Technology
23. Hiram Broyls, Burbank Elementary School
24. Catherine Plocher, Burley Elementary
25. Linda Moore, Burnham Mathematics and Science Academy
26. Kelly Thigpen, Burnside School
27. William R. Klee, Burr Elementary
28. Rich Morrill, Burroughs Elementary
29. Stephen Harden, D.R. Cameron Elementary
30. Adell Brock, Carroll School
31. Docilla Pollard, Andrew Carnegie Elementary School
32. Douglas Maclin, Chicago Vocational Career Academy
33. Lorraine Balesh, Christopher School
34. Rebecca Stinson, Claremont Academy
35. Charles Anderson, Michelle Clark High School
36. Marcey Sorensen, Clemente Community Academy
37. Wendy Olesky, Columbus Elementary School
38. Greg Zurawski, Coonley Elementary
39. Leonard Harris, Corliss High School
40. Allison Tingwall, Curie Metropolitan High School
41. Rhonda G. Hoskins, Daley Elementary Academy
42. Mauricio Segovia, Darwin Elementary
43. Carolyn Eggert, DeVry University Advantage Academy
44. Jacqueline Menoni, De Diego Elementary Community Academy
45. Elizabeth Alvarez, Dore Elementary
46. Raynell Walls, Drummond Montessori
47. Vanessa Williams Johnson, DuBois Elementary
48. Dan Redmond, Durkin Park
49. Nneka Gunn, Eberhart Elementary
50. Peter Zimmerman, Edison Park Elementary
51. Donna Oberhardt, Edison Regional Gifted Center
52. Leavelle Abram, Leif Ericson Scholastic Academy
53. Marian Strok, Evergreen Middle School
54. Barb Oken, Farnsworth Elementary
55. Tonya Hammaker, Farragut Career Academy
56. Margie Smagacz, Franklin Fine Arts Center
57. Lissette Rua, Fulton Elementary
58. Armando Rodriguez, Goode STEM Academy
59. Carlos Azcoitia, Greeley Elementary
60. Donella Carter, John M. Gregory Academy
61. Judith Carlson, Grimes Elementary
62. Fernando Kim, Gunsaulus Scholastic Academy
63. Dawn Iles-Gomez, Hale Elementary School
64. James Gray, Hamilton Elementary
65. Zaneta D. Abdul-Ahad, Hampton Fine and Performing Arts School
66. Karen Boran, Hancock College Preparatory High School
67. David Belanger, Hanson Park School
68. Ramona Fannings, Harlan Community Academy
69. Aisha McCarthy, Harvard School of Excellence
70. Nathan Pietrini, Hawthorne Scholastic Academy
71. Teresa Chrobak-Prince, Hearst Elementary
72. Juan Gutierrez, Henry Elementary
73. Raul Bermejo, Hernandez Middle School
74. Scott Ahlman, Hibbard Elementary
75. AJ Stich, Hitch Elementary
76. Michael Durr, Hope College Prep High School
77. Antonio Ross, Hyde Park Academy High School
78. Michael Herring, Jahn Elementary School
79. Beryl Shingles, Nancy B. Jefferson Alternative School
80. Rob Croston, Jenner Elementary Academy of the Arts
81. Joseph Powers, Jones College Prep
82. Alene Mason, Scott Joplin School
83. Eileen Scanlan, Kellogg School
84. James Coughlin, Kelly High School
85. George Szkapiak, Kennedy High School
86. Dawn Caetta, Kinzie Elementary
87. Kathryn Anderson, Lane Tech High School
88. Lynn McGinnis-Garner, Langford Academy
89. Paul Schissler, Lara Elementary School
90. Beth Bazer, LaSalle Elementary Language Academy
91. Lauren Albani, LaSalle II Magnet Elementary School
92. Kathy Farr, Lawndale H. S. for Social Justice
93. Lisa Epstein, Lee Elementary
94. Angela Sims, Lenart Regional Gifted Center
95. Kurt Jones, Libby Elementary
96. Michael Boraz, Lincoln Park High School
97. Renee Mackin, Linne Elementary
98. Erin Galfer, Marine Leadership Academy
99. Tonya Y. Tolbert, Roswell B. Mason Elementary
100. Chris Jones, Mather High School
101. Katie Konieczny, Mayer Elementary
102. Joe Shoffner, McClellan Elementary
103. Daniel Perry, McDade Classical School
104. Nicole Milberg, Mitchell Elementary
105. Karime Asaf, Moos Elementary School
106. Carolyn D. Epps, Morgan Park High School
107. Rashad Talley, Morrill Math & Science School
108. Peggie Burnett Wise, Morton School of Excellence
109. Catherine Reidy, Mount Greenwood Elementary School
110. Sonia Cabán, Mozart Elementary School
111. James Clarke, Multicultural Arts High School
112. Christne Zelenka, Murphy Elementary School
113. Yasmeen Muhammad-Leonard, Nettlehorst Elementary School
114. Linda Foley, Newberry Math and Science Academy
115. Carlos Patino, New Field Elementary School
116. Kelly Mest, Northside College Prep
117. Margaret Kouretsos, Nightingale Elementary
118. Gerald Byers, Nixon Elementary School
119. Jaime Sanchez, North River Elementary School
120. Michael Beyer, Ogden International School of Chicago
121. Tim Riff, Oriole Park Elementary School
122. Efrain Martinez, Orozco Community Academy
123. Stanley L. Griggs, Owen Scholastic Academy
124. Lashawn Ray, Palmer Elementary School
125. Tim Devine, Payton College Prep
126. Gerardo Trujillo, Pasteur School
127. Sherryl Moore-Ollie, Penn Elementary
128. Safurat Giwa, Pershing Elementary Humanities Magnet
129. Michael Abello, Piccolo Elementary School
130. Maureen Ready, Portage Park School
131. Mariel Laureano, Prieto Academy
132. Elizabeth Meyers, Randolph Elementary School
133. Nate Manaen, Ravenswood Elementary
134. Martha Irizarry, Reilly Elementary School
135. Edwin Loch, Reinberg Elementary School
136. Durrell Anderson, Richards Career Academy
137. Pilar Vazquez-Vialva, Roosevelt High School
138. Mary T. Weaver, Scammon Elementary School
139. Daniel Kramer, Schurz High School
140. John P. O’Connell, Sheridan Academy
141. Peter Auffant, Shields Middle School
142. Sabrina L. Gates, Shoesmith School
143. Ethan Netterstrom, Skinner North
144. Debbie Clark, Skinner West
145. Jerry Travlos, Smyser Elementary
146. Victor Iturralde, Solorio High School
147. Tracie Sanlin, Spencer Technology Academy
148. Maria McManus, STEM Magnet Academy
149. Katherine Konopasek, Stevenson Elementary
150. Ann McNally, Stock School
151. Barbara Onofrio, Stone Scholastic Academy
152. Alexander Phillips, Suder Montessori Magnet Elementary
153. Salvatore Cannella, Swift Specialty School
154. Mary Kay Richardson, Thomas Early Childhood Center
155. Maurice Swinney, Tilden High School
156. Stephanie Y. Moore, Uplift Community High School
157. Noel McNally, Vaughn Occupational High School
158. Cathy Lawton, Vick Early Childhood & Family Center
159. Roger Ted Johnson, Volta School
160. Titia M. Crespo, Waters Elementary
161. Princetta E.Preston, Webster/Hansberry School
162. Rituparna Raichoudhuri, Wells High School
163. Jeffrey White, Wells Preparatory School
164. Monique Dockery, Westcott Elementary School
165. Joyce Kenner, Whitney Young High School
166. Mary Beth Cunat, Wildwood School
167. Brian Rogers, World Language High School

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