PI Original Ellyn Fortino Friday April 1st, 2016, 8:22pm

CTU, Allies Come Out In Force To Call For Increased School Funding (VIDEO)

Progress Illinois provides coverage of the massive rally and march staged Friday by the Chicago Teachers Union and its allies.

Thousands of Chicago Teachers Union members and their allies took to the city's downtown streets Friday evening to protest for increased school funding and against "unfair labor practices."

The union is specifically pushing for progressive revenues to help boost funding for schools and social services. 

After a day of actions held across Chicago by teachers and their supporters, a massive crowd descended upon the Thompson Center for a 4 p.m. rally.

There, CTU President Karen Lewis slammed Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, who earlier in the day called today's teacher walkout "shameful" because "children are the victims in this raw display of political power."

"We are outside the state of Illinois building. Why? Because the governor of this state has decided to hold everybody hostage," Lewis told the crowd. "He's a terrorist. And he calls me names.

"Rauner can't stop us," Lewis added. "And Rauner's not stopping any of us. He keeps saying crazy things like teachers can't hold the taxpayers hostage. Does he not know we're taxpayers too?"

After the hourlong rally, the crowd began to march through downtown, eventually ending up in Grant Park. People chanted "Recall Rauner!" and "Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Rahm Emanuel's got to go!"

Most people left the protest when marchers got to Grant Park. A few hundred people stayed behind and continued to march on the sidewalk along Lake Shore Drive. The group briefly went onto the drive before police forced them off.

Check out video from today's rally and march, including comments from Lewis: 

Several politicians attended CTU's rally, including Chicago Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th).

"In my community on the Northwest Side, here at the Thompson Center, there's been so much energy, so much solidarity, so much togetherness among Chicagoans from all backgrounds that are saying, 'It's time to fund our public schools. It's time to tax the rich,'" Ramirez-Rosa told Progress Illinois. "Rahm and Rauner are part of the problem, and we need a solution, and the solution is asking Ken Griffin, the billionaire pal of Bruce Rauner and Rahm Emanuel to pay his fair share."

Ramirez-Rosa is hoping the Emanuel administration will agree to free up additional tax increment financing (TIF) funds and allocate the money to the cash-strapped school district.

"A number of aldermen came together and said that we need to use every single dollar from the TIF fund that we can to support our public schools," Ramirez-Rosa said. "It's time for the mayor to act."

For its part, the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) maintains that today's one-day strike was illegal. It filed a complaint against CTU Friday with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board seeking a "permanent, preemptive injunction." The complaint is aimed at preventing future strikes like the one held today. 

Friday's one-day walkout came in the midst of contract negotiations between CTU and the school district. CTU members are unhappy with CPS' cancellation of "step and lane" raises and the possible loss of the 7 percent teacher pension pickup, a move teachers say amounts to a pay cut.

Among those at today's demonstration was Oscar Newman, a science and algebra teacher at Chicago Academy Elementary School, 3400 N. Austin Ave. He pushed back on the district's claims of the strike being illegal. 

"You can have a strike for unfair labor practices. We've been working without a contract for quite some time now, and so the lanes and steps that should have been received are not," he said. "I would also say, for all of the arguments about what will happen to the children, and this is a travesty, ... the same thing could have been said for March 25, when they had a furlough day, and the kids were OK ... I don't think that's a very effective argument."

Newman also had a message for the governor, who is trying to use the state budgeting process to win items on his pro-business, anti-union policy agenda. That agenda is at the center of the state's budget impasse, now entering its tenth month. The Illinois budget impasse has meant zero funding for higher education institutions and low-income college students who depend on the state's tuition assistance program.

"Education matters, and he needs to consider what his legacy will be as governor," Newman said. "Public education is really in trouble in our state. I'm saddened with what's happening to Chicago State University. When we inform our students that college is the future, and this is what they should be striving for, I hope a better future for them than what's happening now ... The brinksmanship can stop now with Governor Rauner."

Comments

If a family has its income reduced, it has to cut some spending.  Making choices about what to cut is difficult and expensive, especially if plans have been made counting on money to be available.

The state is no different.  Lots of plans were made about projects to fund and how to pay for it.  When "the market" went down a lot of state income was lost: less income earned by people meant less income tax paid by these people, less sales tax because they had less to spend.  
 
The solution is simple, and lies with the legislature.  Either taxes have to be raised or some spending needs to be cut.  Or taxes partially raised and spending partially reduced.   You can't blame this on the governor, he doesn't make the law.  Only the legislature does that.

Like a family, some decisions need to be made.  

Should we raise taxes?  How much? And how?  Would anybody who supported raising taxes get elected again?

Should we cut spending?  How much? And on what?  Would anybody who supported this spending decrease get elected again?

The legislature already did pass a budget - and it was about 4 BILLION more in spending than anticipated income!  The governor wisely vetoed it.  The Constitution of Illinois says the budget must be balanced.  

The Illinois State legislators like to spend money - it gets them votes.  The legislators don't want to cut spending - they will lose votes. The legislators could easily solve the budget problems - if they were willing to lose in the next election.

What is the main reason for the funding request (Flix Account)?

I cannot understand the reason for the Government to reduce or hold or stop the funding for schools. I have read the best essay writing service review on the matter and it seems that authorities are not even bothered. As the popular notion, we have funds to wage wars but not to let the future of our country have proper education. This is really shameful and sends wrong messges to the people.

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Why education workers must always face funding problems when it should be highly prioritized field for the state? I've already encountered such difficulties when I was working as a reviewer of essay writing websites on SpeedyPaper. Why teachers must suffer again and again? Government should deal with this mess as fast as possible!

CTU always does and good social work and they are famous for there promising nature. I have read some writing company reviews for this protest and I think it is valid for the sake of schools and social funding. Education should be given priority and even I support these people.

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This protest was a real show of strength from the CTU members. It made sure that the schools were provided with adequate funding and resources. Please also visit: Back Office Outsourcing.

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