Coalition requests Daley reform TIFs so the annual $275 million plus diverted from school funding is used to meet 2011 budget

Date: 
06/02/2010

Raise Your Hand Coalition hand delivered a letter to Mayor Daley yesterday requesting a meeting to discuss funding for public school education in Chicago for this coming year and the future.

The Coalition, in the letter, cited Tax Increment Financing (TIFs) as "one of the most critical issues affecting school funding in Chicago."  A 2009 analysis by Progress Illinois showed that Chicago TIF districts are diverting more than $275 million in property taxes away from Chicago Public Schools (CPS) annually. "Chicago, CPS and the more than 400,000 public school students and their families cannot afford this diversion," they point out.

In March, CPS' Ron Huberman, CEO, stated that there will be a potential $1 billion budget deficit for FY 2011.  He called for parents and other stake holders to help persuade legislators to support CPS' needs. Parents responded.  They communicated with state lawmakers that the level of funding for education must be maintained. They held rallies, met with legislators and had a letter writing campaigns. More than 145,000 emails were sent to state elected officials thru NoTo37.org.

Pension reform legislation reduced the deficit by $400 million, and the legislature's expenditure plan covered at least $275 million and possibly up to $368 million.  In total, legislative action has reduced the projected deficit by between 68 and 77 percent.

Addressing the Mayor, the letter  goes on to state:

"The question is now, what will the City of Chicago and Chicago Public Schools do to cover the rest of the budget gap?  We've hear a log of rhetoric aimed at Springfield, but unfortunately there has not yet been much discussion of what can be done at the local level.  With only one month to go before the start of the new fiscal year, it's time to get serious exploring potential options..."

"As you know, public education is one of the most important quality of life issues for families in Chicago.  We have all seen too many families leave Chicago for the suburbs solely because of the lack of quality educational options in Chicago, and that trend will only increase if CPS has to make further budget cuts.  It is vital for our children, as well as for the future of Chicago, that we all stand up together to fix this problem.

Raise Your Hand is a growing coalition of Chicago public school parents and organizations associated with or advocating for public education.  Our members collaborate to influence state and local officials to provide appropriate, equitable and sustained funding for public education.  The coalition now includes parents representing more than 250 schools."

It was sign by the Raise Your Hand Coalition Steering Committee:

Jeanne Atkinson, Friends of Lincoln, Lincoln School
Jonathan Goldman, LSC Chair, Drummond Montessori
Wendy Katten, Friends of Burley, Burley School
Sonia Kwon, Friends of Coonley, Coonley School
Linda Lesondak, Friends of Coonley, LSC, Coonley School
Cliff Meece, LSC, Inter-American Magnet School
Patricia O'Keefe, Friends of Alcott, Alcott School
Christina Schneider, Friends of Franklin, Franklin Fine Arts SchoolAmy Smolensky, Friends of Burley, Burley School
Aaron Spevacek, Nettlehorst School
Jill Wohl, Inter-American Magnet School

For more information: Progress Illinois: Mayor Daley; Teachers Fight; Sun-Times; Civic Federation; Our Urban Times: Update; Responds to State Budget

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