It is June of 2013. The Local School Council (LSC) of Chicago’s Nicholas Senn High School is convening to discuss and pass its fiscal budget for the upcoming school year.
As an elected Community Representative serving on Senn’s LSC, I cast my vote.
Despite Senn’s new record as a top performing school, where before it stood at the edge of probation, I dissent, and I vote against the budget.
In an open letter to my constituents (cited by DNAinfo) I argue that, while the year’s budget looked feasible on the surface, with no cuts to teacher spending and no increases to class size, it represented a grave future.
Senn did not have as large a budget cut this year as many other neighborhood schools across Chicago– but that was this year, and I am concerned about next year, and the year after that. My job and responsibility is the future of this great school.
If trends continue, which every indication supports, the per-pupil funding equation that this year’s budget represents will kill our school. The overall administrative divestment of the Chicago Public Schools will mean that the teachers we can afford today, those making our school a world class school, will be out of our price range tomorrow.
I was saddened to read the following, published just last month:
Among the schools affected by Friday’s announcement [of CPS budget cuts] is Senn High School, a neighborhood school of about 1,400 students on Chicago’s North Side. Principal Mary Beck [of Senn High School] said her school will lay off three education support personnel and one teacher, which should help re-coup about half of the $600,000 cut from its 2016-17 budget.
This is not a teacher issue. This is not a parent issue. This is not even a student issue.
This is a Chicago issue.
Without world class schools, our city will not attract the world class businesses and opportunities of the present.
Without world class schools, our city will not prepare its leaders of and for the future.
Without world class schools, all that Chicago excels at today will be a struggle tomorrow.