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Rahm Emanuel


Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Mon Sep 30, 2013

Albany Park Residents Want Local Aldermen To Oppose Northwest Side Charter School Expansion

Albany Park students and parents who gathered for an education meeting late last week want their local aldermen to publicly oppose the Chicago Public Schools' (CPS) plan to expand charter schools on the Northwest Side.

The more than 50 residents at the meeting, held at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, said they plan to visit the offices of Northwest Side Alds. Deb Mell (33rd), Rey Colon (35th) and Margaret Laurino (39th) this week to urge them to sign a pledge to support neighborhood school investments and speak out against new charters in the area.

CPS issued a request for proposals (RFP) in mid-August for new charters in a number of "priority communities", primarily on the Northwest and Southwest Sides, as a means to help alleviate neighborhood school overcrowding. The charters are slated to open in the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years. 

Those at the meeting said it's unacceptable that CPS released the RFP at a time when Albany Park neighborhood schools are grappling with more than $5 million in budget cuts.

"These budget cuts left us with huge high school fees, not enough teachers or books for our classes, and our neighborhood schools are struggling to give us [an] education we deserve, but still, the mayor wants to open new charter schools," said Jamie Adams, a Roosevelt High School sophomore and leader with Chicago Students Organizing to Save our Schools (CSOSS).

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Thu Sep 26, 2013

Former Ickes Residents Urge CHA To Provide Replacement Housing: 'We Just Want To Come Home'

Chicago Public Housing activists say it is unacceptable that the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) has once again broken its promise to deliver replacement housing units for former residents of the now demolished Harold Ickes Homes, which saw its last families move out in 2010.

The Ickes public housing buildings on the near South Side had more than 1,000 units before they were torn down between 2009 to 2010. CHA has yet to bring back 312 replacement units that it promised to construct, and it appears there are no concrete plans to build any of them in 2014, according to CHA's proposed 2014 Moving to Work (MTW) Annual Plan.

On Thursday, more than a dozen former Ickes residents and their supporters gathered at a vacant lot at State Street and Cermak Road, one of the former Ickes sites.

"It is unfortuante that every time that housing numbers were supposed to be promised, those numbers were reduced," said the Rev. Robert Jones of Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church. "The city talks about the economics, but yet money is found to put a tremendously large DePaul center not very far from here, and yet we still have this vacant field."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Wed Sep 25, 2013

Chicago Board Of Ed Approves CPS' Facilities Plan; Education Activists Hold First People's Board Meeting

Progress Illinois provides a recap of what happened at the Chicago Board of Education meeting, as well as the first "People's Board Meeting".

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Tue Sep 24, 2013

Chicago's Public Employees Want New Contract With Fair Wages, Privatization Safeguards

Chicago public employees picketed downtown Tuesday, calling on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to settle a new union contract with AFSCME Council 31 that includes decent wages that keep up with inflation.

A new contract must also include "common sense" rules meant to prevent bad privatization deals and protect public services and workers, according to the dozens of public employees who protested near City Hall.

The union’s previous contract with the city was set to expire July 1, 2012, but it was temporarily extended. Workers have been at the bargaining table with the city bartering over a new contract for more than a year and a half.

"Any company should want to pay their employees fair wages but the transparency with the privatization, it's really a huge issue, because what (the mayor) is basically trying to do is sell off the city of Chicago," said Nicole Herron, who's worked in the city's finance department for 18 years. "If he does that, we lose a huge part of the middle class and lower-class people who make up a bulk of the city."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Tue Sep 24, 2013

Chicago Education Activists To Hold First 'People's School Board Meeting' Wednesday

Community members upset with the "damaging" education policies endorsed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's appointed school board will hold their first "People's School Board Meeting" Wednesday, the same day as the Chicago Board of Education's monthly meeting.

Organizers say the goal is to intensify the pressure for an elected, representative school board in Chicago. The Chicago Board of Education is the only non-elected school board in Illinois, and state government must ultimately change the rules.

Going forward, the people's board meetings will be held in the evenings after each monthly Chicago Board of Education meeting. It will be a space where people impacted by the board's "failed education policies", like school closures and budget cuts, can be heard. The Chicago Board of Education voted back in May to close a record-breaking 50 neighborhood schools. And the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district is also grappling with a projected $1 billion budget deficit, which has resulted in classroom spending cuts for some schools.

"This board has repeatedly made policy decisions that have failed Chicago children with no accountability to the public," said Jeanette Taylor, the Local School Council (LSC) chair at Irvin C. Mollison Elementary. "We will not go to any more sham school closing hearings. We will not sit at any more bogus advisory councils."