State reps skip legislative session, volunteer as CPS janitors
Sullivan High School in Rogers Park has a filthy basement.
North Side State Rep. Ann Marie Williams (D-North Center) and Kelly Cassidy (D-Rogers Park) opted to skip work in Springfield this week and, instead, take pictures of themselves cleaning it.
Williams and Cassidy are "boycotting" the special session called by Gov. Bruce Rauner, blaming him for opposing a school funding bill that will redistribute billions from suburban districts to Chicago Public Schools (CPS).
CPS is insolvent and has $17 billion in debt. Williams and Cassidy believe that suburban and downstate taxpayers should help dig the district out of its financial hole, even though at more than $17,000 per student, CPS spends more than most of their own schools.
Cassidy says it's time to stop being selfish.
"It’s all about the kids in need all over Illinois and it’s time to stop with this nasty messaging and pitting kids against each other. It’s outrageous,” Cassidy told WBBM-AM radio in Chicago.
Meanwhile, Sullivan H.S. has bigger problems than janitors who, perhaps, aren't doing their jobs
Only 31 of its 625 students-- five percent-- passed the statewide PARCC standardized test last year. Passing means you are "ready for the next level."
Of a typical 156-student class, 103 students at Sullivan H.S. will graduate in four years.
Just 15 Sullivan H.S. students each year are "college-ready," managing to score 21 on their ACT test, according to the Illinois State Board of Education.
CPS lists 67 employees at Sullivan H.S. earning $6,385,388, or an average of $95,304 each before their taxpayer-funded pension payment.
Sullivan's principal, Chad H. Adams, earned $179,550 last year.
Neither Williams nor Cassidy themselves attended Chicago Public Schools. Williams was born and raised in rural Iowa; Cassidy is from Bradenton, Florida, where she attended private, Catholic schools and Manatee H.S.
Cassidy, who lives a few blocks from Sullivan H.S., has opted not to send her children there.
They attend Francis W. Parker in Lincoln Park, the prestigious, private alma mater of actor Billy Zane and playwright David Mamet.