Budget battle at Brennemann

August 10, 2005

Brennemann Elementary School in Edgewater is an LSC hot spot.

Some LSC members have asked the School Board to remove the principal, and the principal reportedly has asked the board to dissolve the LSC, an action the board has not taken in two years.

Their dispute centers on the school budget. The LSC majority rejected a proposed budget last spring and has been fighting ever since to ensure that the budget reflects its priorities.

"[The principal] never put our changes in," says LSC Chair Veronica Butler, citing ongoing differences over professional development, non-teaching staff positions, class size and materials. "We've never had an approved budget or school improvement plan."

But Principal Steve Hara says he has little control over budget matters. "If there's something that they don't like, they can overrule the principal even if it doesn't make for sound educational practices," he says, citing the need for more school supplies and textbooks. "They can change anything they want." He also accuses the council majority of failing to fill vacancies on the LSC for fear the new members will support him.

CPS spokesperson Mike Vaughn says the board is working "to bring about a greater sense of cooperation [at Brennemann]. We have not yet made a decision regarding placing the school in educational crisis."