By: Ashmar Mandou
Concerned parents and community leaders joined elected officials for a press conference on Tuesday morning inside City Hall to ask City Council and Mayor Rahm Emanuel support the TIF Surplus Ordinance to keep Chicago Public Schools open past June 1st. TIF funds can provide CPS schools with an estimated annual revenue potential of $100 million and an added transparency to the process. Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35) talked about the Corporate Head Tax, which he introduced on Wednesday, with an estimated annual revenue potential of $94 million. Following the press conference, community leaders attended the Finance Committee to urge Aldermen to move TIF money to the schools.
The funds are necessary, according to education activist ‘because CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has declared to parents in a February letter that CPS will close their schools on June 1st unless additional funding comes from Springfield.’ CPS parents are concerned with the lack of support from Springfield and urged City Council to find local revenue. “CPS parents know that closing the schools on June 1st will result in more violence and less support for their children’s education. This is unacceptable in the face of hundreds of millions of dollars in TIF funds going to millionaires in downtown,” explained Marcos Ceniceros, organizer from the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council. Parents and community leaders from the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council (BPNC), Action Now Institute, Chicago Teachers Union, Hope Center, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Northside Action for Justice, Pilsen Alliance, Parents 4 Teachers, Raise Your Hand, Teachers for Social Justice, and Latino Caucus Chair Alderman George Cardenas (12) attended the press conference.