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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Chicago Public Schools' cappuccino bill: $67,000 :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Education

Chicago Public Schools' cappuccino bill: $67,000 :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Education: "At Carson Elementary, an overcrowded school in Gage Park where even neighborhood kids were restricted from enrolling, five lower- level employees got six relatives into the school by falsifying addresses. Sixty-nine students from outside the attendance area got in, but they didn't even bother to lie about their addresses. CPS had to spend as much as $252,000 to bus kids who live in the neighborhood to other schools, Sullivan said."

The bussing is part of open enrollment and should be provided by the schools as long as the kids are in the school districts boundries ... unless the state law says otherwise ... I know that in our state they only have to provide transportation for kids more than 2 1/2 miles from their school, all others are supposed to walk or find their own transportation -- but our district has decided to allow the kids to ride for an additional $175 per kid (max $300/family) over and beyond what we already pay in taxes for it.

Perhaps this state doesn't have open enrollment, in which case yes these would all be a problem (we used to have 'neighborhood' schools only but there was a cry in the 70s that it discriminated against kids in poorer neighborhoods because their teachers didn't get paid as much ... now its a numbers game and more schools want the lower income kids because they get more funding for them)

"In the case of the cappuccino machines, central office administrators split the order among 21 vocational schools to avoid competitive bidding required for purchases over $10,000. As a result CPS paid about $12,000 too much, according to Inspector General James Sullivan. "We were able to find the same machines cheaper online," he said.
"We also look at it as a waste of money because the schools didn't even know they were getting the equipment, schools didn't know how to use the machines and weren't prepared to implement them into the curriculum," Sullivan said."

Okay - some one tell me what kind of curriculm would even think of teaching kids how to use a cuppaccino machine? What are the districts so confident in their failure that they are already teaching the kids to get ready for minimum wage jobs at Starbuck's & McDonald's??

Just fess up -- they were bought as a perk for the teacher lounges or were meant to find their way home into some 'paraprofessional's kitchen ..... I remember the big scandal that we had in our district .... they got brand new sewing machines for the home ec dept - really nice ones that did button holes and zig zags (can you believe that those 'standard' things were once a grand luxury?) ... my mom was the home ec teacher at the time and when she showed up for the first day all the new Singer machines were gone and in their place were old raggedy machines that employees of the district had brought in - they had been allowed to 'exchange' them because the principal of the school thought that the kids would be too rough on the new machines and it would be a waste of tax payers money.

the district got the machines back, but instead of going to the middle school where they were intended they district shifted them to the nearest high school ... and the home ec program in the middle school was cancelled the next year.

This is nothing new - routing moneys for things the school really don't need or know what to do with - its just too bad that so many people in power think its an okay thing to do.

It sounds like the problem with the machines wasn't that they were bought, but rather that they didn't go thru the 'bidding' process -- which in most cases is just a formality anyways.

Nice to know that there is a school system though that strives to teach our kids that all important phrase of

"Do you want fries with that?" or in this case ...
"Did you want cinnamon on the top?"

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