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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:08pm
Thu Dec 11

Strides Being Made In Improving CPS Arts Education, But Challenges Still Remain

The "state of the arts" in the Chicago Public Schools district has improved over the past two academic years, but there remains much work ahead to ensure all students have access to quality arts instruction, according to a recent report by Ingenuity Inc., a Chicago-based arts education advocacy organization.

For the report issued last week, Ingenuity examined the progress that's been made towards the goals and recommendations in the city's three-year CPS Arts Education Plan, which was approved by the Chicago Board of Education in November of 2012 and made arts a core subject.

Over the first two academic years under the plan, "growth was seen in almost all categories of arts instruction, including minutes of weekly instruction, staffing, arts integration and professional development, and number of arts partnerships," the report reads.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:18pm
Fri Dec 5

Aldermanic Candidate Questions TIF Use In Chicago's 11th Ward, Calls For Better Use Of Funds

Tax increment financing (TIF) districts located solely in Chicago's 11th Ward on the South Side had $69.5 million in unspent property tax revenue sitting in their collective bank accounts at the start of this year. 

That money would have otherwise been dispersed among the local units of government that rely on property tax revenue, including the school and park districts, were it not for the city's controversial TIF program, which is intended to spur economic development in "blighted" areas.

The Chicago-based CivicLab revealed that TIF finding and relevant information at a Thursday night meeting held at the First Lutheran Church of the Trinity, 643 W. 31st St., in Bridgeport.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
2:30pm
Wed Nov 19

Chicago City Council Passes Emanuel's 2015 Budget; Four Aldermen Object

The Chicago City Council voted 46-4 to approve Mayor Rahm Emanuel's 2015 budget. Progress Illinois provides highlights from the council debate on the $7.3 billion spending plan.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:51pm
Wed Oct 15

Emanuel Delivers 2015 Budget Address; Fioretti Slams Mayor For 'Election Year Fluff'

Progress Illinois takes a look at Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposed 2015 budget, which was unveiled on Wednesday. 

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
5:31pm
Wed Oct 8

Chicago Aldermen Approve IG Measure, Washington Park TIF; Elected School Board Referendum Gets Squeezed

Progress Illinois provides highlights from Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:44pm
Fri Sep 26

South Siders Question TIF Use In Chicago's 21st Ward

South Side residents were shocked to learn at a Thursday night community meeting that the six active tax increment financing (TIF) districts in Chicago's 21st Ward had more than $1.6 million sitting in their collective bank accounts at the end of 2013.

The Chicago-based CivicLab revealed that TIF finding and relevant information at a meeting held at the Carter G. Woodson Regional Library in Roseland.

The $1.6 million in unspent funds would have otherwise been dispersed among the local units of government that rely on property tax revenue, including the school and park districts, were it not for the city’s controversial TIF program, which is intended to spur economic development in “blighted” areas.

The non-profit CivicLab launched its TIF Illumination Project, which highlights how the city's TIF program works at the ward level, back in February 2013. The group has held 30 community TIF meetings thus far

Many South Siders at the meeting said they were unaware of the private projects that got TIF money in the 21st Ward, including a Home Depot and the Chatham Market shopping center that received a $32 million TIF subsidy. 

"I think a lot of people have been getting a raw deal," Leatha Patton, a 21st Ward resident of more than 42 years, told Progress Illinois after the event. "These are things that the alderman should make you aware of. We should know how it works, and who gets what."

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
10:54am
Tue Sep 23

Karen Lewis Meets With Voters: ‘I’m Qualified To Be Mayor’ (VIDEO)

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis met with residents of the McKinley Park neighborhood on the Southwest Side Monday night and discussed how she would run City Hall if she were elected to be Chicago’s next mayor.

Lewis touched on a myriad of subjects ranging from budgeting, tax increment financing (TIF) and housing to confronting violence in Chicago at the Monday night forum, held at the New Era Windows Cooperative, 2600 W. 35th St., as part of the ongoing “Conversations with Karen” series.

“What qualifies me to be the mayor, is that I care deeply about this city and I care deeply about the entirety of the city,” she said.

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