Kinzie Street Shennanigans

That’s right. It’s time to get the brooms. And we’re not even talking about the contract (which we haven’t gotten yet).

Setting aside, for the moment, interesting philosophical questions about the nature of ‘shenannigans,‘ it seems that strange things are afoot at the Union office.

First we heard that Perry would be stepping down and there would be an election (no fault, Jesú–that’s a reasonable interpretation of whatever was actually said since that’s how these things usually work), then word comes that he wasn’t going to step down but there would be an election in case he had to, and then there was notice about the candidates and their letters of introduction and that they’d attend our local union meeting, and then last night I received this email, forwarded from a union rep, which I found stunning, both for the content and the names of the signatories:


Interesting Things Afoot at HW Partner, Shimer College

From the Chronicle yesterday:

The Board of Trustees of Shimer College voted on Monday to fire President Thomas K. Lindsay, a member of the board has confirmed on the condition of anonymity…The decision to oust Mr. Lindsay follows recent votes of no confidence by both Shimer’s faculty and its Assembly, the college’s governing body. The directors of Shimer’s Alumni Association had also called for Mr. Lindsay’s resignation.

HWC has had an interesting and productive relationship with Shimer for a couple of years now, even as they’ve battled their way through months of controversy. If you haven’t been following it, you can check out some of it here. Locally, The Chicago Reader has been the only place really covering the shenannigans over there (see this article and this one.

And if you don’t know anything about Shimer, read this (about the move downtown in 2007) and this (about the previous 135 years of the college’s existence), and then go talk to John Hader about how our students can take classes there at HW prices.

At any rate, it’s nice to see a community with shared governance that then has to fight to keep it and manages to win the fight. Enough to give us all hope.

CPS Budget Shenannigans (and Associated Grumblings)

Just in case you missed it in last week’s Reader, this is a pretty fascinating look at the tensions between the teachers and the admins over in CPS-land.

A sample:

In effect Huberman and these other bureaucrats got their salaries jacked up to insulate themselves against any voluntary pay cuts they might take. It’s like the department store that doubles its prices and then announces a half-off sale.

And another:

This year the board increased its allowance for “non professional services” to $243,000 from about $91,200. The budget for “seminars, fees, subscriptions and professional memberships” went up to $120,000 from $45,000. Travel expenses rose to $80,000 from $30,000, and “miscellaneous contingent projects” to $83,000 from $31,000.

On the bright side, the board did cut its allowance for “telephone and telegraph” from $6,647 to $6,565. Maybe that’s what Daley meant by dieting.

I asked Bond what all these accounts are supposed to cover and why the board boosted funding for them—as opposed to spending the money on something that would directly benefit students, like sports or art. Again, she said she would get back to me, but by press time she hadn’t.

And one more:

I know that eliminating raises in the central office wouldn’t fill the budget gap, especially if it really is approaching $1 billion. But it’s hard to justify, say, eliminating sophomore sports—a move that affects thousands of kids—when the board (a) hasn’t announced how much that will save and (b) somehow or other can find more money for seminars, subscriptions, and professional membership fees.

Great reporting, I’d say.