The Emanuel administration projects that the city is facing a $297.3 million budget deficit for 2015. That estimate does not include the $550 million contribution the city has to make to its woefully underfunded police and fire pension funds.
Local Ald. Will Burns (4th) held the meeting to gather community feedback about the future of Dyett, which the Chicago Board of Education voted to phaseout back in 2012 due to poor academic performance. Dyett is slated to close completely in 2015 after its last senior class graduates.
A community-driven blueprint to offer a global leadership and green technology curriculum at Dyett, along with other programs involving agricultural sciences and cultural awareness, dominated the discussion at the meeting, held at King College Prep High School. The academic plan, developed by community members and academics over several years, is backed by the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School, a group spearheaded by the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO).
"Whatever happens at Dyett, it's got to be a high-quality, open-enrollment high school, and so the whole point is to have a process by which we get ideas for what that should be," Burns told Progress Illinois at the meeting, attended by more than 100 people. "I know that KOCO and the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett is very organized and very vocal, but there are other voices in the community, and I want to make sure that they have a way to be heard."
A task force appointed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has suggested bumping the city's minimum wage gradually to $13 an hour by 2018. Progress Illinois provides highlights from Tuesday's press conference about the commission's plan.
Chicago Public Schools officials released their 2015 budget proposal this holiday week, unveiling the eyebrow-raising plan late Wednesday.
The budget overview, which states that pensions "continue to be the single largest driver in CPS's structural deficit," details a plan to fill its more than $876 million budget deficit by expanding the length of time in which it collects property taxes — a tactic that can only be used once and essentially dips into funds that would be made available for its 2016 budget.
"Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would promote economic stability among Chicago workers, economic vitality in their neighborhoods and economic growth throughout this city," said Connie Razza, director of strategic research at the center, which works both locally and nationally to build "the strength and capacity of democratic organizations to envision and advance a pro-worker, pro-immigrant, racial and economic justice agenda."
The new report comes ahead of Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting, during which aldermen with the Progressive Reform Caucus plan to introduce an ordinance for a citywide hourly minimum wage of $15 an hour. The ordinance was developed with members of Raise Chicago, a coalition of community and labor groups advocating for a higher hourly wage floor in the city. Chicago's current minimum wage is $8.25 an hour, the same as the base hourly wage in Illinois and $1 more than the federal level.
Just one percent of Chicago voters support hiking city property taxes as a means to shore up Chicago's underfunded pension funds. That's according to a new poll, which also asked voters to weigh in about the upcoming mayoral election.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is not pleased with GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner's robocalls to Chicago property owners about pending state legislation designed to shore up two of the city's underfunded pension systems.