Ward Superintendents Meeting - Recap

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Missed the meeting on 9/23?

NO problem!  Read all about it here and go back and watch our Facebook Live video of the meeting.

Who came to the meeting?

Not in attendance:

What is a Ward Superintendent?

According to the City of Chicago, a ward superintendent "...monitors sanitation services that include refuse collection, street cleaning, and snow removal for an assigned ward in the Bureau of Sanitation, and performs related duties as required." (NOTE: Aldermen appoint people to this position.  Ward superintendents perform duties as requested by the aldermen but are officially employees of the Department of Streets and Sanitation.)

Essential duties include (but are not limited to):

  • Monitors the day-to-day work operations within a designated ward to ensure residents receive needed sanitation services
  • Assists the Division Superintendent with work crews engaged in sanitation work activities (e.g., refuse, bulk trash, compost collection, street cleaning, basket pick-up)
  • Works with Refuse Collection Coordinators engaged in investigating complaints and issuing sanitation code violation tickets
  • Monitors completion of refuse collection routes to ensure all areas of the ward are serviced
  • Observes work crews in the field & monitors productivity levels to assess efficiency of operations
  • Requests needed non-sanitation services from appropriate bureaus and City departments
  • Investigates and follows up on service requests and complaints forwarded from the division office to ensure their proper resolution
  • Assists division staff in coordinating snow and ice removal activities within the ward
  • Meets with public officials, community groups, ward residents, and attends community meetings to address problems and provide information on the bureau's sanitation programs
  • Drives a vehicle to survey overall conditions in the ward, assessing cleanliness of ward areas, and identifying need for additional City services
  • Monitors the recycling program and the completion of recycling collection routes to ensure all areas of the ward are serviced

Supe Q&A

Residents submitted questions ahead of time and had the opportunity to ask more throughout the meeting.  Here's what the ward superintendents had to say.

  • Is there a limit to the number of garbage/recycling cans per residence?

    • Each ward sets its own maximum number of garbage/recycling cans per residence.  
    • You may either contact 311 or submit a service request through Chicago Works for an additional garbage/recycling can.
    • If you have trouble receiving an additional can, call your ward superintendent or alderman and reference your 311 request.
    • Residences of four units (or more) must hire private garbage/recycling pickup who provide their own bins or dumpsters to the property.
      • If you see that a larger building is not adequately addressing garbage needs (i.e. there's too much garbage next to bins, there's no recycling, etc.), contact your alderman or ward superintendent.  Be as specific as possible with address and landlord (if possible).
  • Why do garbage collectors take recycling?

    • 1) You may have contaminated recycling.  Typically, recycling collectors try to leave a notice on the contaminated bin as a warning so you can fix the problem (even if you did not put the contaminated products in the bin).  You can learn more about what is recyclable and how you can end contamination at the Chicago Recycle By City website.  Remember: do not put plastic bags (especially garbage and grocery bags) in your recycling bin!
    • 2) Your block may often have many contaminated recycling bins.  If you believe this is the case, call your ward superintendent and be as specific as possible.  They can address garbage and recycling pickup personnel directly.
  • When are certain buildings (marked condemned) being torn down?

    • This is a question for the Chicago Department of Buildings.  Any permits, licenses, inspections, and demolitions are handled through this department.  Even if a report about a building is made to an alderman, he/she contacts Buildings for a solution.  
    • You can contact the Buildings department directly to make a report if you think an inspection of a property is needed.  
    • If you make a report, be as specific as possible (give owner information, street address, violation, etc.) and take down a case number so you can follow-up if need be.
  • How do residents get more public garbage cans along major streets?

    • First, contact your alderman and ward superintendent.  Especially in wards that do not engage in Participatory Budgeting (26th ward in Hermosa), you must contact the alderman/superintendent to get the ball rolling to install more garbage cans.  Typically, an alderman will ask residents to sign a petition to see if the majority of residents want the items.  75% of residents on both sides of the street must sign the petition in order for an alderman to consider the instillation of the item.
    • Currently, additional public garbage cans are an item on the 36th Ward Participatory Budgeting Ballot this year.  Voting will take place throughout the ward in October.
    • In wards that participate in Participatory Budgeting, you may propose additional public garbage cans as a ballot item for any PB cycle. 
  • Who do we contact for tree-trimming requests?
    • Submit a request to 311 or the Chicago Works app.  When submitting the request, be as specific as possible with description of tree growth, what it's impacting (i.e. power lines, cables, alleyways, etc.), and exact address.
      • Always make note of your service request case number in case you need to follow-up.
  • Some residents near large businesses have large amounts of fly dumping in their alleys - how can we address this?

    • Call your ward superintendent or alderman directly and report the illegal dumping.  Be specific with items dumped, times (note as many as you can), business name, and names of perpetrators (if applicable).  
  • How can we get speed bumps for a specific street or alley?

    • Contact your alderman directly. An alderman will ask residents to sign a petition to ensure the majority of residents want the items.  75% of residents on both sides of the street must sign the petition in order for an alderman to consider the instillation of the item.
      • For example, if you live on Pulaski Rd. and would like speed humps in the alley between Pulaski and Keystone, 75% of residents on BOTH Pulaski and Keystone avenues would have to sign the petition.
  • My neighbor's garage is leaning on mine and they won't return calls - how do I fix this?

    • This is a question for the Chicago Department of Buildings.  Any permits, licenses, inspections, and demolitions are handled through this department.  Even if a report about a building is made to an alderman, he/she contacts Buildings for a solution.  
    • In a case like this, you may also contact the Ward Superintendent who will be able to follow-up directly with Buildings and the property owner to speed up process.
    • You can contact the Buildings department directly to make a report if you think an inspection of a property is needed.  
    • If you make a report, be as specific as possible (give owner information, street address, violation, etc.) and take down a case number so you can follow-up if need be.
  • How do we address issues like yard garbage, weeds/overgrown plants, plants growing onto power lines, etc.?

    • Contact your ward superintendent directly and be as specific as possible with growth issues, address, and property owner name (if applicable).
  • Who is in charge of cleaning and maintaining parkways - residents or the city?

    • Residents are in charge of the parkway directly in front of their property.  This means cleaning up litter, watering any plants/trees (if applicable), and shoveling sidewalks in the winter.
    • Businesses are in charge of the parkway directly in front of their property.  If you believe a business is not cleaning its portion of the parkway, contact your ward superintendent directly and be as specific as possible with description, address, and business name.
  • How many tickets have supes given for littering, fly-dumping, and/or not shoveling sidewalks (in the winter)?  Why so few?

    • District supervisor.... said that when most superintendents receive reports of these things, they first contact the business or resident (home or building owner) and allow them between 24-72 hours (depending on issue) to remedy the problem.  
      • Superintendents reported that the majority of people remedy the issue in this time period so no ticket is necessary.
    • Some at the meeting expressed concern that they have reported issues and they have not been remedied or the perpetrator is slow to fix the problem.  The District Supervisor said that many problems are not reported for several days (typically when they become a large issue or several people report at once) so the problem is not resolved quickly.  
      • If you see illegal dumping, littering, or a resident/business that does not shovel, contact your alderman and/or ward superintendent immediately.  Follow-up after 24- or 48-hours if the problem is not resolved.
  • Who picks up yard waste?

    • If you have yard waste, submit a service request to 311.  Once you submit the request, put your bags out and they will be picked up.  
      • Yard waste may only be contained in brown bags (typically purchased from home improvement stores, grocery stores, or places like Target).
    • If you have ONLY leaves, submit a service request to 311 and be specific.  
      • Leaves are picked up by a different service and composted.
    • You can also contact your alderman or ward superintendent or drop bags off directly at a ward office if you prefer.
  • Is a landlord required to post a "managed by" sign and phone number on their building(s)?

    • YES.  If you know that a landlord has not posted their information, call your alderman directly and give the address.

Tips

  • Download the Chicago 311 app: Chicago Works.

    • HNA board member and resident Jenna Sigman said that she has way more success submitting service requests to the 311 app than calling and speaking to someone.  She said that, so far, 100% of service requests she has submitted through Chicago Works have been successfully addressed, including receiving additional garbage and recycling cans.
  • ALWAYS log a case number when submitting requests to 311/Chicago Works.  

    • Write down the case number given by the operator or note it in your app.  In the app, you can see a list of nearby reports as well as those you have submitted and their status.
  • BE AS SPECIFIC AS POSSIBLE when making reports or service requests.

    • For example, if you witness a neighbor repeatedly dumping their trash into the alley (instead of in a bin), make note of the time (at least once) and the neighbor's full address.  Give this information to the reporting agency and be as specific as possible - all of the ward superintendents agreed that this is the best way for them (or any other government department) to respond to requests and complaints.  
    • Follow-up.  If you've made a report and the issue still isn't resolved, follow-up with your superintendent, alderman, 311, or government department.  Always reference a case number (if you have it) and be as specific as possible.
  • If a problem is not resolved, report it again!

    • The superintendents indicated that, too often, residents report an issue once and never follow-up.  While it is not ideal to have to call someone several times to remedy an issue, it may be necessary since superintendents and aldermen are busy and their wards are very large.  It is not impossible for them to address citizens' issues but it takes time.
  • Check out the City of Chicago City Services page.  

    • This alphabetical list includes every service the City of Chicago offers to residents and who to contact regarding specific concerns.
  • In a landlord-owned building, the landlord is responsible for resolving all complaints.

    • For example, if you submit a request about a rental neighbor who dumps their garbage in the alley instead of a garbage can, the landlord will be the person warned and fined by the city, not the renter.  
    • You should still submit requests and contact your alderman but it may also be easier to call the number listed on the building and report the tenant directly to the landlord.  Always be as specific as possible.

What has HNA been up to?

What is a Ward Superintendent?

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Have you ever wondered what a Ward Superintendent actually does?  Or, did you even know that your ward has a superintendent?  Join Hermosa Neighborhood Association at our September 23 General Meeting to meet with ward superintendents and have your questions answered!  

In order to allow the superintendents time to address questions adequately, we are asking that you submit questions ahead of time by filling out this form.  There will be time for questions at the meeting, should they arise, but we want to collect as many as possible ahead of time so they can be addressed thoroughly.  

If you have any specific questions about the meeting, please contact HNA directly via email or by reaching out on social media.

 

The School Funding Bill and Why You Should Care

What is SB-1?

Senate Bill 1 is an attempt by Illinois legislators to fix the inequitable school funding system here in the state.  Illinois currently has the most inequitable public school funding system in the country.  Illinois comes in last place for the amount of state money contributed to individual school districts and since most individual district money comes from property taxes, Illinois has the largest gap between wealthy and poor districts in the nation.

In 2016, Governor Rauner convened a commission made up of legislators and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) superintendent and Illinois Secretary of Education.  This panel devised a formula that would equalize funding across school districts by taking into account the amount of money each district needs to adequately educate each student ("individual advocacy target") through increased state funds.  The state considers a district's capacity for local funding and what the state already gives; this is the baseline the state would use for calculating how much additional funding is needed.

"Those targets are calculated by taking into account a given district’s 'essential elements' – such as the costs for professional development, class size ratios, technology and about two dozen other items – and their cost of implementation based on demographic differences, along with staff salaries based on regional variation," says Matt Masterson of WTTW.  Under this bill, no school district would see a decrease in state funding.

What does this mean for Chicago

Since Chicago makes up about one-fifth of the state's school population, Chicago Public Schools would receive about 20% of the funding guaranteed by SB-1.  Many critics of the bill see this as a "bailout" for Chicago since the district would receive more money and an offset for legacy pension payments.  Others say the district would still be responsible for pension payments under SB-1 and the state funding would only affect per pupil spending, bringing Chicago on par with the rest of the state in this regard.

Paying for SB-1

This bill will only be funded if the Illinois legislature passes a budget, which it has failed to do three years in a row.  Currently, Illinois already spends about $11 billion on education annually and would need between $3 and $6 billion more to fund this bill.  Likely, Illinois would have to raise taxes in order to fully fund the legislation.

Rauner's Amendatory Veto

First, a note: only a few states allow governors to make amendatory vetos.  This means that a governor may veto a bill but send back changes to the chambers.  If the chambers pass those changes with a majority vote, the bill is passed; however, the chambers may choose to override the veto completely or the vote can fail, meaning the veto of the original bill stands.  

In late July, Rauner vetoed SB-1 with amendments: namely, $100 million for a "tuition tax credit program."  Under this law, $100 million in property taxes would be diverted into a fund to be used by students to attend private schools in Illinois.  Since property taxes are used to fund schools under the current system and SB-1, this deferment amounts to public school money being used to pay for students' private school tuition.  Right now, the legislation proposes that a family of four making up to $113,775 would qualify for a scholarship, which is 67% of Illinois families today.

This amendment to SB-1 is seen by critics and public education advocates as a school voucher program that would divert money normally given to public schools to private schools which do not receive the same oversight of programming by the state as their public counterparts.

A provision of the recently passed budget in Illinois stipulates that schools will not receive funding until all budget concerns are resolved, which means schools could be waiting for this veto fight to resolve.  Most schools in Illinois have started the year now and are waiting for funding to remain open for the school year.  You can read more about school vouchers and their impact on the state's children here.  

Why should you care?

Children in the US are guaranteed equality in public education.  That education should be fully-funded, equitable, and rigorous.  Things like school voucher programs undermine a child's access to free and equitable education by diverting money that should be going to public schools to private institutions that receive little or no government oversight.  HNA has long advocated for the funding of our neighborhood public schools in Chicago.  With proper funding, these institutions can thrive as community centers that provide all children with equitable, rigorous, and diverse educational opportunities.  

Even if you don't have children or those who attend public schools, your tax dollars (property and otherwise) fund these institutions.  As a taxpayer, you have a say in how this money is spent and you can advocate for fair and equitable public education by contacting your representatives and exercising your right to vote.  "[Rauner's proposed tuition tax credit program] would both undermine public schools around IL by incentivizing businesses and individuals to pay for scholarships to get a full tax write-off, and it would siphon off $100 [million] from the public good," says Raise Your Hand IL.  

From Raise Your Hand Action:

So what’s next? The Senate has already overriden Rauner's veto of SB1, but it’s unlikely they would have enough votes in the House. If the Senate overrides the amendatory veto, but the House doesn’t have enough votes, the bill dies. It’s also possible both sides will begin to negotiate and find some middle ground, but from what we’re following in the press, it’s not looking positive.

Take an action step, write an email to your own legislator, and then share our materials with your friends and relatives elsewhere in Illinois and ask them to write or call their legislators and the Governor (217-782-0244).

SB1 is #NotaBailout, and our state can and must do better. Thanks for joining in the fight to protect and support public schools in Illinois.

 

CPS Budget Cuts and Impact on Hermosa Schools

Though this news broke a few days ago, it is still important for our community to address the inequity of funding in our public schools.  HNA has long advocated for equal funding of neighborhood schools, the use of TIF money to fund schools, and a fervent opposition to the expansion of charter schools.  The most recent round of budget cuts and layoffs will negatively affect almost every school in Hermosa as well as several other schools in the City's most impoverished areas.

Kelvyn Park School

Kelvyn Park School

Currently, Kelvyn Park School stands to lose a little over 15% of its budget, or about $794,200.  This cut in the budget will result in 11 staff layoffs for the 2017-18 school year, seven teachers and four Extra Support Personnel (ESPs).  William P. Nixon Elementary, one of Hermosa's two neighborhood elementary schools, is receiving a $282,292 budget cut.  This is on top of substantial budget cuts in 2016, 2015, and 2014. This will result in another cut in staff positions and a reduction in art spending, after school spending, and reduced ability to invest in technology for our new Common Core curriculum.

In total, Hermosa schools will lose 41 staff members, 25 of whom are teachers.  Kelvyn Park School and Foreman High School are the hardest hit, with 14 total teacher layoffs (seven per school).  Even more unsettling is the fact that the largest budget cuts and layoffs will affect Chicago's poorest children.  Thomas Kelly High School is losing the most staff: 11 teachers and 10 ESPs, the most of any school in Chicago.  TKHS also happens to be in one of Chicago's poorer neighborhoods, Brighton Park.  Dunbar Vocational Career Academy in Bronzeville is losing eight teachers and two ESPs.  Schools in West Rogers Park, Little Village, and East Garfield Park will lose 30 staff members compared to one total staff loss (one ESP position) at the City's highest rated schools in the wealthiest neighborhoods (Walter Payton, Northside College Prep, and Lincoln Park High School).    

The budget cuts are primarily due to a change in Federal and State funding, for Title 1 (Federal funds for schools with high poverty) and for Federal Special Education (SPED) Funding. State funding (SGSA) for improvised schools also declines.  

According to a DNAInfo article, "While schools will get $200 more per student during the 2017-18 school year than they did for the 2016-17 school year, the overall CPS budget will shrink by about $43 million...."  Also, despite an increase in the special education student population at most schools, many are receiving less money for SPED than previous years.  Special Education modifications and accommodations are a federal mandate so that means more will be cut from core instruction.

The current CPS budget relies on a $250 million payment from the Illinois State government that was just vetoed by Governor Rauner.  CPS has not made any comment on how the hole from the state will be filled; instead, only days after releasing the 2017-18 budget, CPS also released a list of employee layoffs and how those will impact individual schools.  

It is important, now more than ever, for all Hermosa residents (and residents all over the city) to get involved with individuals and organizations that work to promote equitable and fully-funded public education for all students, regardless of their socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, or geographic location in Chicago.  You can reach out to organizations like Raise Your Hand IL, The Chicago Teachers Union, or Stand for Children (to name a few) and get involved in advocating for students in Chicago and Illinois.  You can also call, email, or write to ALL of your elected officials and demand that they support equitable public education for all students.  Lastly, ensure you are registered to vote so you can support candidates of your choice in all local and national elections.

HNA Affordable Housing Statement for 4K Diversey Partners LLC

Recently there was a story regarding a zoning amendment for The Fields development located at 4000-4180 West Diversey Ave. 

You can read that story here :

 https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20170711/avondale/the-fields-paul-fishbein-4k-diversey-partners-4000-w-diversey-avenue

HNA was mentioned in the story as it pertains to writing a letter to the Alderman. Here is that letter in its entirety here: 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B86BIFyJYGvsZHhfSVRTOFJzXzQ/view?usp=sharing

TIF Illumination recap

We had a really great conversation on TIFs and where the money is going in Hermosa earlier this month with The TIF Illumination Project.

There is over $10 million trapped in TIFs in Hermosa that could be going to improving our parks, schools and streets TODAY.

Over the past 30 years some $76 million has been spent on TIF related projects in or near Hermosa, including $26.5 million on the Brickyard Mall and over $6 million on building two Home Depots in, or near, Hermosa.

Educate yourself and then ask the question.... are your tax dollars being spent in an ideal way?

Below is the presentation deck and the podcast 

Presentation

Podcast

Education Workshop | April 29, 2017

Understanding Chicago Public Schools and its sheer size and numerous requirements can be a difficult task for any parent.  In recent years, CPS has closed schools, added testing requirements, created a common application for selective enrollment schools, and even implemented new graduation requirements for 8th and 12th graders.  Often, our neighborhood schools are underfunded and understaffed which means students don't have access to rigorous classes, extracurricular activities, or individualized attention or support inside the classroom.  All of this, taken together, can be daunting to understand especially if you have students in elementary classrooms.  The weight of standardized tests, grades, attendance, and school performance can seem unimportant to a parent of a first or second grader, but is much more relevant to parents of middle schoolers.   The goals of this workshop are to: help parents understand how CPS is structured; how schools in our neighborhood are rated and what those ratings mean; how standardized tests impact students at all grade levels; and how the high school application process works.

This Saturday, April 29, 2017, HNA is hosting an Education Workshop for parents of elementary-age children throughout Chicago.  Our hosts - board members Jenna Sigman and Alejandra Fleck - want to support parents of elementary-age students as they go through the CPS system from kindergarten to 12th grade and beyond.  We will introduce parents to the Illinois School Report Card and how to understand the information contained in their child's school report card.  Many of the statistics can seem abstract or confusing so we will shed light on their importance and relevance and how to read the reports to best serve your child's needs.  We will also discuss the CPS standardized tests and how they impact a student throughout their elementary and secondary education process.  These test scores are especially important for any student applying to selective enrollment, charter, magnet, or other application-based schools in the city of Chicago.  These test scores may become even more important as CPS seeks to require all 8th grade students to fill out the CPS common application before they receive their diploma.

This workshop is free and will be in English and Spanish and will offer participants an opportunity to interact with others and discuss topics together.  We want to arm you with the tools necessary to take charge of your child's education to ensure he/she is getting the most out of his/her CPS experience.  No RSVP is necessary so we hope to see you this Saturday!

Summary from our March 18th meeting

Thanks everyone who attended our meeting and our luncheon afterwards! Special thanks to Oak Park Regional Housing Center for talking about how to create inclusionary- and integrated-communities.

We will use this information over the coming months with community planning as well as with how to be a more welcoming organization.

After our meeting, which was held for the first time at Nixon Elementary in the library, some HNA attendees and board members went to El Azteca Poncitlan to debrief and talk about what we learned. Below is an attachment for the meeting notes and the two presentations given.