five tax increment financing districts (TIF) located in the 39th Ward
on Chicago’s far Northwest Side had more than $24 million sitting in
their collective bank accounts at the start of 2013, according to city
data revealed by the CivicLab at a town hall meeting Tuesday evening.
money would have otherwise been dispersed among the local units of
government that rely on property tax revenue, including the Chicago
Public Schools (CPS) district, were it not for the city’s controversial
TIF program, which is intended to spur economic development in
Meanwhile, the 39th Ward’s four neighborhood
schools are seeing their budgets slashed by a collective total of $2.3 million this
school year due to the cash-strapped school district’s new per-student
funding system, an analysis by Raise Your Hand for Illinois Pubic
Education shows. The Chicago Board of Education is also set to vote
Wednesday on the district’s proposed $5.6 billion budget for the current academic year, which contains $68 million in classroom cuts, including
teacher layoffs, to help close CPS’ reported $1 billion budget hole.
Cardis, a 39th Ward resident, said he’s concerned about the financial
state of the school district and what CPS’ budget deficit may look like
in a few years when his two young children are ready to attend school.
disturbed that the money gets diverted from our institutions like the
parks and the schools through the TIF program,” he said at the meeting,
held at Hiram H. Belding Elementary School. “I think our priority in
Chicago should be our schools first and our children first.”