Board Meetings, Unfunded Ren10 Schools, and Responses to the Governor's Education Funding Proposal (Chicago IL)

What a strange week it was, what with the Board meeting on closing more schools, the announcement that some --but not all - of the new Ren10 schools would get outside funding, and mixed reactions to the Governor's budget and its lack of a school funding fix.

Wednesday's Board meeting on closing 4 schools was predictably contentious and by most accounts all over the place, once again raising serious questions about the Board's ability to develop clear school closing criteria and pull the trigger when the time comes:

Communities given chance to 're-invent' schools Sun Times
Parents fight to save public school Tribune

Things might not be going much better on the school openings side of things, either. The Mayor and the New Schools for Chicago folks held an event to announce that they were giving $500k to 8 schools: Businesses help new schools (Tribune). Eight others are supposedly getting money from CHSRI, leaving two new school design teams out in the cold. I wonder which ones they are? Arai is one.

Meanwhile, it's becoming even more confused and unclear just how much, if any, support any of the new schools are going to get in terms of getting up and running in the short term (and "incubation" and ongoing help over the long haul) -- and who's going to provide it. For a while, CUSI seemed in line to get the nod. But now, funding, governance, and staffing all seem to be up in the air. Yikes.

On the budget side of things, responses to the Governor's funding proposals continue to be mostly negative, except for one bright and cheery announcement from the early childhood folks:

Educators Disappointed by 2006 Illinois Budget WBEZ (audio)
Schools not quite back in black Chicago Tribune
Prisons, schools tell gov $53 billion isn't enough Chicago Sun-Times
Governor Makes Early Education a Priority Ounce of Prevention Fund

The underlying pension problem and funding equity situation are on lots of peoples' minds, including the Mayor's:

Daley takes dig at gov over school funding Sun Times
Supporters of school tax hikes to try again Tribune
Time to send in a coach -- gov's not ready to play Sun-Times
Pension blowback Tribune
Pension overhaul called hit to schools Chicago Tribune
Panel brainstorms solutions for education-funding problems Daily Southtown

Then, of course, there's the rest of the school system just trying to make it through February and get ready for those darned ISATs:

Program helps failing kids make the grade Sun Times
Schools say some transfer students a handful Sun Times
Opinion: A how-to on keeping teachers in class Tribune
City schools to ax scripted reading program despite gains Sun-Times
Schools Chief’s Blog Offers Tips Education Week
Schools can't explain how special ed toddler got away Sun Times
23 Catholic schools closing Tribune
Latino, black parishes hit hardest by decision Tribune
Public schools brace for more kids Tribune
Parents who raised $75,000 irate over school closing Sun Times


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