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August 1 Pension Checks Delayed

by Chicago Teachers Pension Fund  |  August 01, 2014

UPDATED 3:30pm Friday, August 1

Due to an error by the pension fund, CTPF failed to transmit direct deposits due to pensioners for August 1, 2014. As a result, August payments have been delayed. 

Pensioners who receive paper checks were not impacted by this issue.

We apologize for this error. We know this is a hardship for our members and we are working diligently to correct this issue.

Next Steps

  • The bank will credit all accounts with the August payments by Tuesday, August 5, 2014. If you can wait until Tuesday, you do not need to take any action. Your money will be automatically deposited. 
  • Members who need funds sooner may walk into the CTPF office at 203 North LaSalle, Chicago, 26th floor to pick up a check.
  • If you plan to visit the fund to pick up a check, the fund will be open:
    • Saturday, August 2, from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
    • Monday, August 4, from 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. 
    • If you plan to visit the fund to pick up a check, 
      please click here and let us know.

Walk In Information

See parking and transit information below.

If you walk in, please bring a government-issued photo ID with you. The process has been taking between 45 minutes - 1 hour. We will serve you as quickly as we can.

The fund will provide parking vouchers for individuals who come into the office to pick up a check. Parking vouchers are valid for the garage at 203 North LaSalle Building, see below. 

Additional Information

We will continue to post additional information and update you on the situation.

Conclusion

We want to reassure you that this error has nothing to do with the availability of funds or the security of direct deposit for our members. This was an unfortunate human error which we will correct. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through this situation.

Jay C. Rehak, 
Interim Executive Director 
Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund

CTPF Parking and Transit Information

Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund is located at:

203 North LaSalle Street, Suite 2600
Chicago, IL  60601-1231

Picking Up Your Check - What to Expect

When you arrive a receptionist will greet you and take your information. Please bring a government issued photo ID with you -- driver's license, passport, state ID, etc.

The fund will issue you a check on the spot. The process has been taking between 45 minutes and one hour to complete. We will do our best to serve you as quickly as possible, but appreciate your patience as we work through this situation.  

Public Transportation Options

The 203 N. LaSalle Street building has a CTA stop on site.

The CTA's blue, green, brown, pink, purple, and orange lines all stop at Clark and Lake.

You can find more information about public transportation at the CTA's website. Click here for information.  

Elevators to the 26th floor are located in the North West corner of the building, (the LaSalle Street side) near the general information desk. Please make your way to the 26th floor and follow the directional signage to the office. 

Arriving by Car 

The 203 North LaSalle Street building has a self-park garage.  

You can access the parking garage from Lake Street (one way heading east) east of LaSalle Street or from Clark Street (one way heading south), south of Wacker Drive. 

CTPF will provide parking vouchers for members who wish to pick up a check on Friday or Saturday or Monday. The vouchers are only valid in the 203 N. LaSalle Street building's garage at Clark and Lake.   

Elevators to the 26th floor are located in the North West corner of the building, (the LaSalle Street side) near the general information desk. Please make your way to the 26th floor and follow the directional signage to the office.     

CTU Grievance Win for Teachers and Students

by Susan Zupan  |  August 01, 2014

“I believe the Board has no incentive to correct the insufficiency of substitute teachers unless it is subject to a monetary award for breaching the CPA,” the arbitrator rules. “In addition, let there be no mistake about this crucial fact: the educational program at Taylor Elementary School suffered as a result of the insufficiency of substitute teachers. The students are the ones who have been denied the full benefit of the education to which they are entitled.”

On July 21, 2014, the Chicago Teachers Union received word that it had won a major grievance arbitration based on the refusal of the Board of Education to provide substitute teachers to elementary schools. The arbitration includes an award of monetary damages. The grievance, originally filed in 2012, demonstrated that the Board of Eduction had failed to provide substitute teachers for Taylor Elementary School. The result of the Board's failure was the regular disruption of the school's instructional programs: When the school didn't have substitutes, the administration's "solutions" included splitting students into other classrooms; utilizing teacher assistants/PSRPs for all-day sub coverage; utilizing special education teachers for sub coverage; utilizing preps/specials teachers for sub coverage...

The grievance on substitute coverage resulted in a victory for the union, despite the fact that some people denigrate the importance of using the union contract to enforce the rights of teachers, other staff, and -- students. Above, cover of the arbitration decision.

IN THE MATTER OF ARBITRATION BETWEEN CHICAGO TEACHERS UNION and BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO (Grievant: Susan Zupan, et.al.; Attorney Robert E. Bloch), on Monday, July 21, 2014, the final decision from Arbitrator Ann S. Kenis was handed down to the Board of Education (BOE) City of Chicago and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU).

Full disclosure: The reporter is the CTU delegate of Douglas Taylor Elementary School in South Chicago.

The full text of the arbitrator’s decision is included in this report. Readers are strongly encouraged to read the entire 18-page, clearly written and easily understood, comprehensive yet concise submission by Arbitrator Ann S. Kenis. Among other roles, she might now appear to be seen as a judicial champion of the students and children of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS).

Read the rest at Substance News.

Emanuel losing top education adviser

by Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun-Times  |  August 01, 2014

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is losing his point person to the Chicago Public Schools — the woman who played a pivotal role in negotiating an end to the 2012 teachers strike.

Beth Swanson, the mayor’s deputy chief of staff for education, has resigned her $154,992-a-year city job to become vice-president of strategy and programs for the non-profit Joyce Foundation.

She is the latest in a string of high-level staff departures as Emanuel gears up for a potentially difficult re-election bid that could focus heavily on school issues, particularly if Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis jumps into the mayor’s race.

Communications director Sarah Hamilton, intergovernmental affairs chief Matt Hynes and Hynes’ top deputy all have left City Hall in recent months.

Read the rest of the story at the Chicago Sun-Times.

No Hearing on School Closings Report?

by Sarah Karp for Catalyst Chicago  |  August 01, 2014

Scalding school closing report unlikely to get a hearing

Protest for Dyett HSA scalding report that criticizes CPS for the way it handled the mass closing of schools last year likely will not get a public hearing as requested by state task force members. 

As for why, that’s in dispute. 

State Rep. Linda Chapa La Via, chair of the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee, said she requested a hearing but has little hope that it will ever be held. “Everything is politics,” she said with a sigh.

However, Steve Brown, House Speaker Mike Madigan’s spokesman, said that Chapa LaVia doesn’t need permission to hold a hearing. He was incredulous as to why she doesn’t just move forward.

Chapa Lavia did not respond when re-contacted. Also, representatives Cynthia Soto and Esther Golar, both of whom sit on the task force, did not respond to calls and emails on the subject.

Members of the Chicago Educational Facilities Task Force said they are convinced that Madigan’s office—with the encouragement of Mayor Rahm Emanuel—is preventing the hearing. They suspect that Emanuel wants to avoid a discussion on the school closing process during an election year.

Read the entire article on Catalyst.

Byrd-Bennett Finds Lost Children in ISBE Data

by Nathan Goldbaum, CTU Communications  |  August 01, 2014

In this Sun-Times Op Ed, CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett congratulates CPS for finally tracking down all but seven of the 322 students not accounted for in their February 2014 report. The lost students were among the 874 students who left the district after the Board of Education closed their schools last year. Without openly acknowledging it, Byrd-Bennett refers to this “scalding” report published in June by the State of Illinois’ Chicago Educational Facilities Task Force. By the CEO’s math, slightly greater than 7.2% of students at closed schools left the district, compared to an overall elementary school left-the-district rate of 5.8%. This calculates to approximately 185 students leaving who would not have otherwise left.

‘Lost’ CPS children were never lost


Change, the writer Kelly A. Morgan once observed, is inevitable and not always controllable. But what can be controlled is how we manage, react and work through the change process.

During the past school year, the Chicago Public Schools faced the daunting task of ensuring that more than 10,000 of our children successfully transitioned from their former closed schools to more than 400 new schools dotted across our city.

Such a task presents plenty of challenges, and no shortage of skeptics. But as we prepare for the 2014-2015 school year, it is time for us — as a school district and as a city — to step back for a moment and take a collective bow. The herculean efforts of our entire CPS community — parents, community leaders, teachers, principals and many others — transformed massive change into a success.

Recent data verified by the Illinois State Board of Education clearly show that more than 99 percent of the students some critics claimed CPS had “lost” in the closure process were enrolled in other schools in the state, transferred out of state or enrolled in a private school.

Read the rest of the opinion piece at the Chicago Sun-Times.

Progressives Push ERSB Referendum

by George Schmidt for Substance News  |  August 01, 2014

Progressives in Chicago City Council push for elected school board referendum -- city-wide -- on February ballot

On July 31, 2014, the eight progressive aldermen in Chicago’s 50-member City Council began the latest fight to get an elected school board of the nation's third largest school system. The aldermen introduced a proposal to hold a city-wide referendum on whether Chicago should have an elected school board on the February 2015 ballot.

Second Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti (above at podium) spoke to the July 23, 2014 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education, while several CPS officials looked on. Left to right in the rear: Chief Financial Officer Ginger Ostro, Chief Administrative Officer Tim Cawley, Chief Talenty Officer Alicia Winckler, and Chief Transformation Officer Todd Babbitch. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.

The resolution reads as follows:

RESOLVED, That the following referendum be placed on the ballot of the Municipal General Election to be held on February 24, 2015:

Shall the members of the Board of Education of the City of Chicago, City of Chicago School District 299, be elected?

YES NO

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED That a certified copy of this resolution be prepared and presented to the Chicago Board of Elections.

The eight aldermen who signed the resolution asked that it be placed before the Education Committee. As of Substance press time, we have not confirmed a report that the resolution was referred instead of the Rules Committee, which is favorable to Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Two years ago, a referendum question was on the ballot, but only in a few precincts because the people who brought the resolution at the time were betrayed by Alderman Joe Moore, who stalled the paperwork until a few minutes after deadline. Nevertheless, the referendum was approved overwhelmingly.

An overwhelming majority of Chicagoans in 327 precincts voted yes on the advisory referendum for an Elected Representative School Board for CPS in November of 2012. But the Illinois legislature must change to law to allow Chicagoans the same right the residents of every other city and town in the state enjoy… the right to elect the people who run Chicago's public schools.

read more at Substance News

Here’s How to Take Back Chicago

by Kari Lydersen for In These Times  |  August 01, 2014

Want To Take Back Chicago? Here’s How, Say Activists

BY Kari Lydersen

A new grassroots campaign is demanding that aldermen put the needs of working Chicagoans ahead of big businesses. (SEIU Local 1 / Flickr / Creative Commons).

In theory, Chicago’s City Council should represent the interests of the locals who elected them. In practice, though, prominent community leaders say the Council is more like a dog on a leash—and Mayor Rahm Emanuel holds the other end. 

“Our city is sold piece-by-piece to private interests. Our communities, they don’t get parks, playgrounds, services or the jobs we need. Because all the money is flowing to greedy downtown corporations. And people don’t even know it’s happening.” 

So say Rousemary Vega, a well-known parent activist from the Humboldt Park neighborhood, and Brandon Johnson, an organizer with the Chicago Teachers Union, in a short video that launched the project and website Take Back Chicago in July. In their narration, trading phrases back and forth like quick punches, Vega and Johnson take the mayor and the City Council to task for prioritizing big business over average communities—and for slashing funding to libraries, mental health clinics and other city services in the process.

The video, which depicts Chicago’s City Council as Mayor Emanuel’s loyal canine companion—literally—was just the first step in the advocacy group Grassroots Illinois Action (GIA)’s new campaign to challenge aldermen on their politics. As the campaign season leading up to the February 2015 mayoral and City Council elections heats up, GIA is beseeching locals to become better educated about the records and loyalties of their aldermen—Chicago’s term for members of City Council—and to contribute to the Take Back Chicago project that will help them do so.

continue reading at In These Times

WBEZ: Common Core Debate

by Tony Sarabia, WBEZ Morning Shift  |  July 31, 2014

Follow WBEZ's Morning Shift and others on SoundCloud.

You might have heard about the controversy around the new Common Core State Standards for kindergarten through 12th graders. But unless you’re a student or work in a school, you’ve probably never heard what teaching to those standards sounds like in schools. WBEZ’s Becky Vevea has been talking with teachers in the Chicago area about how they're teaching the new standards and what challenges remain. We talk with Vevea and Adam Heenan, a social studies teacher at Curie Metropolitan High School, who recently wrote an editorial in the Chicago Sun-Times titled "Common Core Threatens Good Teaching", and Elizabeth Green, executive director of the education website, Chalkbeat, and the author of a forthcoming book, Building a Better Teacher. Green wrote this week’s New York Times Magazine cover story, "Why Do Americans Stink At Math?"
Photo: Flickr/woodleywonderworks

Coalition To Revitalize Dyett High School Takes Center Stage At 4th Ward Meeting (VIDEO)

by Ellyn Fortino, Progress Illinois  |  July 29, 2014

Supporters of keeping Bronzeville's Walter H. Dyett High School open beyond 2015 by turning it into a "global leadership and green technology" open-enrollment high schoolcame out in force to discuss the proposal at a rowdy 4th Ward community meeting Monday evening.

Local Ald. Will Burns (4th) held the meeting to gather community feedback about the future of Dyett, which the Chicago Board of Education voted to phaseout back in 2012 due to poor academic performance. Dyett is slated to close completely in 2015 after its last senior class graduates.

A community-driven blueprint to offer a global leadership and green technology curriculum at Dyett, along with other programs involving agricultural sciences and cultural awareness, dominated the discussion at the meeting, held at King College Prep High School. The academic plan, developed by community members and academics over several years, is backed by the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School, a group spearheaded by the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO).

continue reading at Progress Illinois

Sun-Times: New political movement has arrived.

by Natasha Korecki, Chicago Sun-Times  |  July 28, 2014

Chicago Teachers Union, progressives form new Chicago coalition

Look out Chicago, a new political movement has arrived.

United Working Families, a partnership between labor groups, including the Chicago Teachers Union, and a coalition of a dozen community groups is expected to announce its formal launch on Monday, executive director Kristen Crowell tells Early & Often.

Crowell is the same woman who headed an effort to counter policies by Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker, raising $50 million along the way.

“This organization collectively will represent well over 100,000-plus members in a diverse range of communities in Chicago,” Crowell said of the Chicago group.

Crowell previously served as executive director of We Are Wisconsin, which grew out of protests in 2011 and eventually cultivated its battle into a full-blown recall election against Walker.

Walker ultimately defeated the recall. But We Are Wisconsin raised $50 million that poured into a super PAC. Crowell is credited with influencing state races and galvanizing a field campaign that had members knocking on 3.5 million doors.

“I think there is a real moment right now for change. When it comes to issues, what we’re seeing are two different Chicagos,” Crowell said. “We are really concerned about the growing inequities facing our neighborhoods.”

 

Continue reading at the Chicago Sun-Times

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