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I know this 'cause I read it in the Tribune. And the Tribune knows it 'cause the mayor's people told them. And if the mayor's people said it—then it's got to be true!
The Tribune doesn't say exactly where CEO Jean-Claude Brizard found these cuts and savings. But my central office sources tell me his conversation with the mayor went a little like this.
Brizard: Boss, you’ll never guess what I found under the coffeemaker in the cafeteria.
Emanuel: My fucking car keys?
Brizard: No, $144 million in cuts and savings.
Emanuel: Fuck that—I need my keys!
According to the mayor, the cuts and savings are the result of the brilliant work of the brilliant people he hired to run the schools. They're so smart they discovered new ways of saving money that their predecessors never found even though they too were brilliant.
In the case of Brizard, that predecessor would be Ron Huberman, who claimed to have cut the central office budget to the bone—even as he was passing out the raises.
Huberman was supposedly way smarter than his predecessor, Arne Duncan, who was way smarter than his predecessor, Paul Vallas. Speaking of geniuses who routinely found millions of dollars' worth of cuts and savings.
The funny thing about CPS is that it's generally a few hundred million or so in the red even with all the savings and cuts our supersmart CEOs keep finding.
It's the teachers' fault, damn it! They insist on being paid.
Sorry, been reading one too many Tribune editorials.
At the very least, it's reassuring to know that the current CEO's smarter than the last one, who was smarter than the one who came before him and so forth.
If only our teachers, parents, and children could be as smart as our CEOs!
Well, not to depart from the official line, but . . .
My guess is that Brizard didn't actually find any cuts and/or savings at the central office, certainly not $144 million, which as you recall had already been cut to the bone.
More likely he—like Vallas, Duncan, and Huberman—hasn't a clue as to how to balance the budget while taking care of all the pressing needs, wants, and demands he faces.
And who can blame him? This budget-balancing stuff is hard—even for a CEO who's way smarter than everybody else.
As I see it, we have my solution: tax the hell out of the one percent and spend more money educating children.
As opposed to the Mitt Romney/Tribune solution: turn every school into a charter that makes its teachers work for a little more than minimum wage.
At the moment, neither one's politically feasible, so Brizard's adopting option number three: the Dusty Springfield Wishin' and Hopin' Budget. Move some money here, move other money there, call the budget balanced, and wish and hope like hell the economy improves in the next few months so new tax revenues pour in.
It may not sound like much of a plan, but it beats looking for cuts and savings under the cafeteria coffeemaker.