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Rahm Emanuel

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Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
4:14pm
Fri Jul 19, 2013

CTU Blames CPS Budget Deficit, Layoffs On District's Failure To Raise Revenue (VIDEO)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and officials from the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) have not shown a good faith effort to pursue revenue as a means of offsetting the district’s staggering deficit, according to Jesse Sharkey, vice president of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU).

Sharkey’s comments came during a media event Friday, in the wake of more than 2,000 layoffs in the school system, bringing the total to roughly 3,000 when it comes to the number of teacher and support staff personnel that have been laid off this summer thus far.

“The school district has lots of options,” Sharkey said. “If the mayor took the same amount of energy and initiative to pursue revenue for the schools that he’s taken to pursue revenue when it comes to an infrastructure trust, or that he’s taken when it comes to a river walk, bicycle program, NATO conference, and other things ... There’s a number of ways they could find revenue.”

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:08pm
Fri Jul 19, 2013

Logan Square Residents Pledge To Keep The Heat On Chicago’s TIF Program

Activists at a Logan Square community meeting vowed to keep the attention on Chicago’s tax increment financing program (TIF) in light of harmful public school budget cuts and news of massive teacher layoffs Thursday night. 

Dozens of community members at the CivicLab’s Logan Square TIF meeting discussed ways to put more heat on city officials to declare a TIF surplus as a means to help plug the school district’s reported $1 billion budget deficit. The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), Raise Your Hand For Illinois Public Education, some elected officials and other local groups have been pushing the mayor to declare a surplus as a means to help financially stabilize the school district.  

“The city intentionally obscures how our property taxes are used to subsidize projects for private business. Our tax money is used to create private wealth,” said Marilena Marchetti, a Logan Square resident and CTU member. “Given the situation our school district is in, this makes no sense at all.”

PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
3:50pm
Thu Jul 18, 2013

Outraged Parents Seek Explanation For CPS Budget Cuts (VIDEO)

Officials from the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) had few answers Wednesday night for community residents outraged over devastating district-wide budget cuts that threaten to deprive students of much-needed teachers and resources next year. Progress Illinois was there for the heated meeting.

Quick Hit
by
1:36pm
Wed Jul 17, 2013

Op-Ed: Urban Agenda, 'Now Go Out and Make Me Do It' - Facade of Recovery Hides Broad Failures in Urban Areas

The following was written by Dick Simpson, former Chicago alderman and professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

American cities and metropolitan regions are in crisis. Suburbs as well as inner cities.

At Operation PUSH’s International Convention on July 7th, scholars, pubic officials, civil rights leaders, and citizens met to hammer out a new urban and metropolitan agenda to meet this crisis. There has not been a national urban agenda since the Carter administration three decades ago. The Office of Urban Affairs that President Obama opened when he went to the White House has been impotent.

Consider the magnitude of our urban problems. 500 hospitals have closed in the last two decades while three out of four urban emergency rooms are at or over capacity. Our health is at stake.

Not only is Chicago closing 50 public schools but in 2010 public school districts across the country closed 1,929 schools. Charter and private schools are growing instead. Meanwhile, college student loan debts exceed $1 trillion; the average graduating student owes $27,000. Our education system is failing.

There are more African-American adult males in prison, jail, or on parole than were enslaved in 1850 before the Civil War. Prisons have been privatized and we have a now prison-industrial complex housing too many of our residents.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:36pm
Fri Jul 12, 2013

Cook County Property Tax Bills To Provide More TIF Transparency, But More Changes Are Needed

Cook County property taxpayers in a Chicago or suburban tax increment financing (TIF) district will soon learn how much of their money is being diverted from local units of government and sent to a TIF program now that the data is being added to county tax bills.

Cook County Clerk David Orr released his 2012 TIF revenue report Thursday and announced that the second installment of the 2013 property tax bill will include the TIF information. The bills will be mailed during the summer of 2014.

Currently, Cook County tax bills for constituents living within a TIF district show zero dollars are being siphoned off into a TIF fund. But there were 435 active TIF districts in Chicago and suburban Cook County, which pulled in a collective $723 million during the 2012 tax year, according to Orr’s report.

Tom Tresser, co-founder of the CivicLab, is one of many Chicago TIF activists who have been calling for the information to be included on property tax bills. Tresser said the data is going to make “all the difference in the world” when it comes to TIF transparency.

“Your tax bill is lying to you when it says zero,” Tresser said. “It’s not zero.”

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
4:27pm
Thu Jul 11, 2013

Chicagoans Criticize CPS Budget Cuts, Plan Meeting With School Officials Next Week To Discuss Funding (VIDEO)

Officials from Chicago Public Schools (CPS) agreed to meet with community members at a Brighton Park Neighborhood Council (BPNC) public meeting next week, following a massive protest Thursday. Roughly 200 parents and students gathered outside CPS headquarters to push back against impending budget cuts that threaten to strip critical resources from the district.  

During the protest, the Thomas Kelly High School marching band’s drum line performed what may have been its final concert, according to Thursday's participants who say the school’s music program faces an uncertain future.

“How are they making things better,” asked Anita Caballero, board president of the BPNC, who participated in the demonstration. “All of the schools in the Chicago area are losing all of the things that make education work, they’re losing teachers; they’re losing counselors; they’re losing materials; and we can’t stand for it.”

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
2:58pm
Wed Jul 10, 2013

Group Unveils Plan To Tackle Privatization, Increase Government Transparency

The push back against privatization, or putting public services and assets in the hands of private entities, has become more organized. Last week, a public interest group released a legislative agenda to combat privatization, which they say too often contributes to the downward spiral of local economies and the growing wage gap in the U.S.

The newly-released “Taxpayer Empowerment Agenda” is a package of policy recommendations intended to assert taxpayer control over public resources. Unveiled by In The Public Interest (ITPI), a resource group focused on privatization and contracting, the agenda is being introduced to lawmakers across the country in the hopes of making government contracting processes more accountable and transparent.

“We wanted to introduce a set of proactive public protections aimed at defending our communities from the often detrimental effects of privatization,” said Shahrzad Habibi, research and policy director for ITPI.

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