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Jobs and schools promise to be top issues in next year’s city elections. The mayor’s education agenda faces its toughest test in the African-American communities that gave him strong support in 2011.

School choice supporters rally at Union Station

About 1,500 school choice supporters rallied Tuesday night in Union Station's Great Hall, dancing and cheering in support of increased charter school funding and school vouchers.

Rather than the current funding rate for charter schools of 75 percent, charter advocates would like to see them funded at the same rate as other schools. They are pinning their hopes on House Bill 980, which would mandate the change. “My hope is that the charter schools will get equal funding,” said Gary Comer College Prep parent Tamala Dreux. “With the funding the school is getting, they are doing an awesome job.”

Lidia Rebolledo, whose two children attend St. Stainslaus Kostka School, said at the rally that she hopes legislators take up the issue of school vouchers this year. “It's important because it's our money,” she said. “If it's because of money that we have to stop getting a quality education, I don't see why Illinois cannot support us in that.”

Created with flickr slideshow.

This post has been updated with the final count of how many people attended the rally.


Rod Estvan wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

Charters have a legitimate concern

I agree with charter supporters that these schools should be funded equally even though following the December NLRB decision I have to say these schools are essentially private contractors with school districts and not public schools like any others. A Tribune editorial called them unique instead of private contractors as NLRB did. But here is the problem, charter schools are clamoring for equal funding because of their declining fiscal situations not because things are going so good or that they are greedy.

As all of us know Illinois is faced with both a short term and long term fiscal crisis. Based on a variety of news stories coming out of the Governor's office I am hearing consistent stories of a $400 million proposed cut to K-12 education on a state wide basis. The ISBE is proposing exactly the opposite, an increase of $300 million. It is unlikely ISBE will be able to effectively lobby for its budget proposal in the current fiscal context, but it may blunt a possible cut.

In this fiscal context charter schools even with passage of HB 980 may be faced with a funding cut. There is also a political problem in Springfield, that problem is the capital funding earmark that was slipped through the General Assembly exclusively for UNO that has been exposed by PURE and picked up by the media. Illinois has school districts all over the state that are forced to go their tax payers to approve bonds for capital improvements that UNO got handed based on good lobbying. This does not sit well with many struggling school districts in Illinois who are also fearful of being forced to pick up pension costs that could push them over their own fiscal cliffs.

As Illinois moves forward K-12 educational austerity to one degree or another will be imposed. Charter schools are already operating at the margins and could to be forced to do things like increasing class sizes and possibly consolidating multiple campuses to create economies of scale just like traditional schools. Passage of HB 980 in this situation is by no means assured and it will not solve the fiscal problems charter schools are currently faced with.

Rod Estvan

Dwayne Truss wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

Charter School Funding

When the private charter school operators obtained their charters from CPS, they knew what they were getting into. They knew that the funding difference was due to their teachers not being unionized and CPS not having to pick up benefits such as pension and healthcare.

The charter operators also had the advantage of the Renaissance School Funds (now New Schools for Chicago) for assistance with start up costs as well as backing from major corporations.

If charter school operators were to be transparent with their financial records, we may document that their financial struggle is inconsistent corporate funding.

For charter operators to present themselves and students as being treated unfairly is disingenuous.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago


More privatization propaganda. Charter schools claim they can do more with less so carry on. These organization want all the money and more of traditional schools with none of the oversight and accountability. As it is, the loss of scale created by the proliferation of stand alone schools and mini-districts creates numerous inefficiencies that waste taxpayer dollars. Personally, I'd like to see less of these rallies and better academic results from the charter folks.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

uno supporters

remind me a little of hugo chavez supporters...yellow instead of read...rangle instead of chavez....

the guy makes 250k...friends...he isnt an activist!!! more like a businessman!! getting state money!!

Anonymous wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

Just Curious

Do CPS teachers send their own children to charter schools? And if they do, I'm just curious as to why they would make that decision.

Ed Dziedzic wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

I don't think so.

Do you have any data that shows that? Most of us know charters are just test factories that cream off the "easy" students and kick out the "difficult" ones.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

I send my child to a charter

I send my child to a charter - it was the right choice for me. I'll kindly ask you to respect that and the thousands of other parents who send their children to public charter schools. I think it is unfair that my child's school get 75% of the funding that their counterparts get - these are all CPS children.

P.S. I know CPS traditional public school teachers who send their children to public charter schools.

Ed Dziedzic wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

The point

The point of charters was to be innovative and to be able to do it cheaper. Well, the innovative thing is just hogwash imho. They are just test factories. So now they say they can't even do it cheaper?

And your claim that you know CPS teachers who send their kids to charters is all well and good, but totally unverifyable and relatively meaningless. Statistically, how many send their kids to charters? We'll probably never know, because charters keep a tight lid on information, especially how they spend the taxpayers money.

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