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Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois • Page 30

Chicago Tribunei
Chicago, Illinois
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--y-r-' -i i i i i i i i -r i i i i i i t-i i i in1 yiij.ii -p i i mnrm-n Section 2 Chicago Tribune, Tuesday, November 1994 Parks plan more spending, but no new taxes By Robert Becker Tribune Staff Writer Against the backdrop of another layoff, Chicago Park District officials unveiled their 1995 budget Monday, saying it will not require a property tax increase, while providing more funding for recreation programs and landscaping. Park District Supt Forrest Clay-pool said the proposed $301 million operating budget, an $8 million drop from 1994, doubles the amount of money spent on landscaping and includes an 11 percent increase in funds for recreation programs. The budget also includes $40. million for repairs and improvements next year, including work on the Aeroid House in Garfield Park Conservatory and renovation of the Humboldt Park stables to become home of the Latin American Museum of Art Claypool said these latest layoffs would come "from all over" the district and would "complete the reorganization process." That process couldn't end too soon for union officials. Raymond Sutkowski, president of Local 153 of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, called the latest staff cuts "a tragedy." "They think that Utopia is privatization," said Sutkowski, who will lose 16 people this round.

"The Park District is going in the wrong directioa" While the new round of layoffs attracted criticism, the preliminary assessment of the 1995 budget prompted kinder remarks. Observers said the budget sup-, ported district officials' assertions that more money was going for programs out in the field and less for administration. The $40 million is the first installment on a five-year, $205 million capital improvement program. Claypool characterized the budget as a "continuation" of last year's spending, noting that, for the second year in a row, the Park District will not seek additional property taxes. "We're trying to focus on our core mission, which is recreation and open space," Claypool said.

Claypool and other Park District officials also are focusing on the bottom line, cutting through attrition and layoffs more than a fourth of the district's work force during the last 15 months. Since Claypool became superintendent in July 1993, the number of district employees has shrunk to approximately 3,200 from 4,100, including the layoff of 200 workers announced Monday. quest by DuPage prosecutors that the boy's case be moved from juvenile to adult court The judge's ruling sets the stage for the DuPage County state's attorney's office to file murder charges against the youth in the June 17 slaying of Teresa Venegas of Addison. The 20-year-old mother was sitting on her front porch eating ice cream when she was struck by a bullet the result Dawne Simmons said. "This does a serious disservice to the many local school council members, parents, teachers, principals and business leaders who are working hard to make reform work." But the Heartland report maintains that hard work alone is not a measure of success in city schools, better student achievement is.

"There's no question that enthusiasm is high. There are good intentions aplenty," Finch said. "The real question is whether and how far these increased efforts actually have had a measurable payoff in relation to the educational priorities set by the school reform law reading, writing, mathematics and higher order thinking skills." Still, Simmons said, "Some of the Heartland Institute's information is just plain wrong." For instance, the report states "there is a widespread perception that Chicago public schools are becoming increasingly dangerous places." However, it then gives data on arrests on or near school property that indicates that violence has decreased. In the 1990-91 school year, the report said, there were 9,820 arrests; in 1992-93, 9,790 arrests; and in 1993-94, 8,600. The Heartland report found that the attendance figures for Illinois schools have remained relatively stable over time, averaging about 93 percent But the Chicago public school attendence rate over the five years has been "highly variable," rising to 89.2 percent in 1990-91, then falling to a historic low of 86 percent in 1991-92.

The rate rebounded to 89.1 percent in 1992-93, the report said. The researchers concluded that "it is too soon to tell whether this is a new up trend or merely a blip in the old down trend." "According to most of the indicators reported here, it is apparent that school reform has not yet improved the quality of public education in Chicago," the report said. "If we had an educational emergency before school reform, it appears that we still have one." Schools Continued From Page 1 failing systems. Meanwhile, public schools in Milwaukee are experimenting with a controversial voucher program, allowing students to use public-school money to attend private schools. "Chicago schools were and still are at the bottom.

Are we to wait another five years and allow another generation of children to pdss through before we look at other alternatives?" Finch asked. "I don't see how trying any of these new methods that other scHools are trying would hurt" 'Still, almost as soon as Finch's group released its dim findings on Monday, city school officials and reformers were bashing the report as a "pump piece" for the controversial voucher system, which the reformers say Heartland supports. School reformers charged that the report fails to take into account the gains students made in writing and math on the Illinois Goals Assessment Program test last year. The report covered 1988, the year the School Reform Act was passed by the General Assembly, through 1992-93. IjThe report is a "selective and biased evaluation," according to leaders of the reform group, Designs for Change.

They said the report arbitrarily ignored 11 reading, writing and math test results that showed improvements between 1990 and 1994. bills the report as an analysis of the progress of school reform over five years, but, Sfact, the report focuses primari-' on data from the first and second year of school reform," Designs for Change director Don Moore said in a seven-page rebuttal issued Monday. IjCity school officials were equally critical. i4In its rush to be another bearer of bad news about Chicago schools, the Heartland Institute ignores the progress made by Chicago public schools over the last five years," schools spokeswoman 14-year-old may face murder charge in of a gang confrontation nearby. Prosecutors said they expect to seek murder charges against the youth later this week.

The boy's name has remained confidential because he has not been formally charged as an adult DuPage County State's Atty. James Ryan and other prosecutors said they couldn't recall anyone as young as 14 being charged as an adult with murder. Howev Claypool said in 1995, $40 million has been dedicated to recreation programs, an 11 percent increase over 1994. He also said that administration costs had been cut by 17 percent over the same time. But Myer Blank, senior research assistant for the Civic Federation, said evaluating the quality of the programming purchased with $40 million poses a trickier questioa "The question is, as the Park District is decentralized, are we getting a bang for our buck?" Blank said.

In addition to more money for recreation programming, the district has allocated big increases for landscaping. Claypool said the district would spend more than $8.5 million, twice as much as last year, on landscape improvements, including planting 6,000 trees. adult court er, in 1974, 14-year-old Christopher Borg of Downers Grove was charged as an adult for the slaying of Downers Grove Police Officer Richard Barth. That ruling wasn't available Monday. The significance of Anderson's ruling is that the youth could face a far more severe sentence a minimum of 20 years if he is convicted of murder in adult court instead of in Juvenile Court YOU lOLML MOUiiUfl LENDER town.

By Andrew Martin Tribune Staff Writer A 14-year-old Addison youth may become one of the youngest people in DuPage County history to be charged with murder for his alleged role in a gang-related shooting in Addison, though he didn't pull the trigger. At a hearing Monday, Judge Robert Anderson granted a re Who says you have to best rate? It's right around 85 of the current market mortgage balance." Plus, you may be able NOW 5 7 test mm Our low APR for as Prime Not interest, you Unlike other immediately available from police or school officials. The arrests caused confusion and anger among the parents of those arrested. Some spent more than six hours trying to find their children, looking first at the school, then at two South Side police stations. Kenwood is at 5015 S.

Black-stone which is in the Chicago Police Department's Prairie District, and school officials told parents their children had been taken there. But the station is not big enough to process a large number of arrestees, so all those arrested were taken to the Wentworth District station, where police were not expecting them and were unprepared to process them quickly. "As far as I'm concerned, my child's rights are being violated, and mine are too," said Frances Wilkins, an equal opportunity officer with the Metropolitan Reclamation District Like most of the other parents at the Wentworth station, Wilkins took off time from work after she received a call from her son, Joshua. "I have a right as a parent, one, to see my child, and two, to find out what he's being charged with," said Wilkins. Joshua, 15, was cited for carrying a beeper.

GIRDLE SALE All Brands FEATURING Subtler Beepers Continued From Page 1 not right," said a tearful Lena Thomas, 16, a sophomore at the school. "They shouldn't suspend us, and they shouldn't bHng us to jaiL" IjSome parents said they plan to go to the school Tuesday morning to) protest to Beverly LaCoste, the principal. "LaCoste was unavailable for comment Monday. Students said they were ushered into the lunchroom at the start of the day and asked to pass through metal detectors as their lockers were being searched. For some the process took up to four hours.

"I was kind of happy that the weapons and the people were taken out of the school," said sophomore Dolory Hopkins, IS. "The cops were calm but the teachers were acting like there was a bomb about to go off." The school received the metal detectors last spring, and the local school council gave its approval for random searches at that time. School board officials said LaCoste decided over the weekend to execute the sweep. Details about where the guns and knives were found were not CHICAGOLANDS MOST COMPLETE LINGERIE STORE DO YOU KNOW WE CARRY SWIMSUITS ALL YEAR SLEEPWEAR ROBES LOUNGEWEAR LARGE SIZES STRAPLESS BRAS DUSTERS HOUSEDRESSES MASTECTOMY BRAS PROSTHESES 4THE LARGEST SELECTION OF GiRDLES IN THE SOUTH AND WESTERN SUBURBS SERVICE SATISFACTION lEiinpfiiupiin puuugiiweaif MR home equity quote in look all over town to find the the corner at Household Bank. on your Home Equity Line of Credit.

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