Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is backing the recommendations made by a committee tasked with providing input on three of the mayor's second-term priorities, including boosting neighborhood economic development, expanding pre-k opportunities and strengthening the city's public engagement process.
"I am proud to accept these recommendations that reflect the priorities and aspirations of people throughout Chicago, from bringing jobs and economic growth to every neighborhood, to investing in the success of every child from their earliest years," Emanuel said in a statement Monday. "I want to thank every resident who made their voice heard during this process as well as the members of the transition committee who spent countless hours in service to our city. By continuing to collaborate and build on the progress being made we will make 'The City that Works' work better for everyone."
The mayor's "Second Term Priorities Committee" made a total of 18 recommendations, which include an expansion of transit-oriented development and having the city increase its presence in Chicago's communities.
Regarding early learning programs, the committee backs a streamlined pre-k administration process, which would involve "consolidating programs currently managed by both Chicago Public Schools and the Department of Family and Support Services into one agency or creating a coordination unit to oversee both," reads a news release from the mayor's office.
Expanding Pre-K Opportunities
In recent months, the Committee analyzed remaining barriers to expanding pre-K to reach all four year olds in need. To build on the successes of Mayor Emanuel's first term and expand pre-K opportunities for families throughout Chicago the Committee recommends:
* Streamlining the administration of pre-K in Chicago
* Creating a unified, flexible enrollment process and timeline between DFSS and CPS
* Targeting high-heed communities with proven enrollment strategies
* Developing a unified marketing strategy
* Developing a plan for providing full-day pre-K to every 4-year-old in need
Expanding Public Engagement
After consulting with dozens of faith, business, community, and youth leaders, the Committee developed recommendations for actively listening to residents in order to provide quality services, develop policies that address our city's biggest challenges and give people a voice in efforts to strengthen their communities. To achieve this, the Committee recommends:
* Better embedding public engagement into the city's programs and operations
* Institutionalizing the regular engagement of residents in developing new policies
* Increasing City Hall's presence in the neighborhoods
* Building a neighborhood ambassadors network across the city
* Strengthening the City's engagement with youth
Fostering Neighborhood Economic Growth
While the administration has made neighborhood economic growth a priority over the past four years, and Chicago has seen important progress, too many neighborhoods are still challenged in attracting and retaining residents and businesses. To drive further growth in neighborhoods across the city, the Committee recommends:
* Engaging Communities in Local Economic Planning
* Expanding Transit-Oriented Development
* Strengthening Assistance to Small Business
* Using Targeted Tax Incentives to Attract Businesses to Emerging Communities
* Ensuring that Tax Increment Financing Continues to Become More Transparent and is Used for Neighborhood Investment
* Re-imagining the City's Planned Manufacturing Districts to Support Modern Development
* Strengthening Coordination of Workforce Development Programs
* Increasing Mayor's Office Resources Devoted to Neighborhood Economic Growth