April 23, 2010
Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman was joined by dozens of community, faith-based and labor leaders, as well as educators, parents and students today in delivering the message that the state must live up to its school funding obligations.
During a press conference at John M. Smyth School, 1059 W. 13th St., Huberman and others called on state lawmakers to do their duty and ensure that school districts across Illinois do not have to face Draconian budget choices for fiscal 2011.
Cutting education funding by $1.3 billion as called for under the Governor’s current budget proposal would leave CPS and other school districts facing deep and painful choices in staffing and programmatic decisions, Huberman said.
“We stand here today, joined by ministers, business people, labor leaders, community organizations, teachers, parents and others to say to the General Assembly that the cuts we are facing are unacceptable, and will decimate education throughout the state,” Huberman said.
Joining Huberman in delivering the message were the Rev. Leon Finney, the Rev. Roosevelt Watkins III, Chicago Teachers Unions President Marilyn Stewart, Chicago Urban League retired CEO James Compton, United Neighborhood Organization CEO Juan Rangel, Illinois Association of School Administrators Executive Director Dr. Brent Clark and CPS parent Amy Smolenski, who also represented the Raise Your Hand Coalition, and Smyth School Principal Ron Whitmore.
The group was joined by Chicago Board of Education Member Roxanne Ward, CPS Chief Education Officer Dr. Barbara Eason-Watkins, CPS Chief Financial Officer Diana Ferguson, Chief Administrative Officer Robert Runcie and other members of the senior staff.
Among those attending the press conference to support the school funding message were: Emma Arnold and Deverra Beverly ABLA-Chicago Housing Authority; CPS teachers Mike Beyer of Talman School, Terrence Simmons of South Shore High School and Juanita Thurman of Lincoln Park High School; Craig V. Gordon, vice chair of the Smyth School Local School Council; Karen Moran, CPS parent and Raise Your Hand Coalition; Lou Sandoval, CPS parent and businessman; Mark Flores, chair, Latino Advisory Council; Alan Castro, board president, East Village Youth Program.
Also, Michael Milkie, CEO, and Jessica Flores of Noble Street Charter Schools; Nancy Harris, CPS parent; the Rev. Steve Jones, president, Baptist Pastors Conference; Michael Cotter, Leadership Association, Chicago International Charter Schools; Daniel Anello, director of external relations, CICS; Taalib-Din Ziyad, vice president, Local 73 Service Employees International Union; Pastor Freddy Santiago, Rebano Church; Steven Jugo and Javier Jugo, Citywide Security Group; Delora Scott Wimberly, parent and Smyth School LSC; Olga Frances Chini, president, Saldemar Solutions Technology Consulting.
Also, Sylvia M. Ewing, deputy director, Illinois Network of Charter Schools; Denise D. Ferguson, director/community liaison, Chicago Commission on Human Relations; William Ialulla and Dennis Lechowicz, Local 143, International Union of Operating Engineers; Lauren Pacheco, Chicago Urban Art Society; Jose Barrera, principal and chairman, Columbia Explorers Academy; Sarah Cobb, executive director, Neighborhood Parents Network.
Chicago Public Schools serves 417,855 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.