Jean-Claude Brizard, fresh on the job as Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Public Schools, is already thinking about efficiencies.
"In my four days on the job, just walking through the buildings, I already see places I can easily save money. Again, not large sums, but every dollar counts in these days to make sure that you're pushing as many dollars as you can to the classroom," he said after a school "listening tour" at Malcolm X College Wednesday.
Brizard said he wants a "full audit of money, the central office, people and practices."
While he doesn't yet know exactly how much funding the district will get from the state -- he's waiting on legislators in Springfield -- he said he knows there will be "difficult" cutting ahead.
Wednesday's meeting with parents and teachers focused on parental involvement in the school system. He said he's pushing for a "parent partnership agreement" so that parents are actively engaged in all parts of the education process. The language of the agreement is still being drafted, but he said he believes Chicago would be the first major city to do it.
About a dozen parents, all members of parent action councils, attended the session. One parent suggested that parents be required to visit their child's school several times a year. Another proposed "fun" time between parents and students at school to foster bonding.
The tour, which launched May 26 at the Guggenheim Elementary School in Englewood, is the beginning of an effort by Brizard to visit every school in the CPS system by the end of the summer.
Brizard began his position May 26 after volunteering without pay for a week in the CPS system. He signed a $250,000 contract that was approved by the Board of Education May 25.
Brizard came from Rochester, New York as a teacher and administrator before beginning his position in Chicago.