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Belmont Cragin

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Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
12:25pm
Wed Feb 18

Chicago's 36th Ward Candidates Discuss Education, Campaign Priorities (VIDEO)

A week before Chicago's municipal election, three of four aldermanic candidates in the 36th Ward participated in a public forum Tuesday night in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood.

Those vying for the Northwest Side ward seat, left vacant by Ald. Nick Sposato (36th) who is running in the 38th ward due to the city's ward remap, include business owner Christopher Vittorio, reference librarian Alonso Zaragoza, and Omar Aquino, a former employee of U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D, IL-8). Business owner Gilbert Villegas is also running for the seat, but did not attend Tuesday's event.

Roughly 50 residents of the 36th Ward, which includes portions of the Belmont Cragin, Portage Park, Montclare, Galewood, Dunning and Hermosa neighborhoods, attended the debate hosted by the Communities United organization.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
12:48pm
Thu Jan 15

Chicago's 31st Ward Aldermanic Candidates Debate About Progressive Values, Campaign Funding

Aldermanic candidates for the 31st Ward, including incumbent Ald. Ray Suarez (31st), debated Wednesday night and discussed their platforms for next month's municipal election.

Those challenging Suarez, who was first elected alderman of the Northwest Side ward in 1991, include lawyer and professor Sean Starr, former reporter Milagros Santiago and Irma Cornier, a community outreach coordinator at NewLife 316.

More than 50 residents of the ward, which includes portions of the Belmont Cragin, Portage Park, Hermosa and Logan Square neighborhoods, attended the debate hosted by the Belmont-Cragin United community organization.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:07pm
Mon Sep 8, 2014

Chicago-Area Foreclosures Hit Pre-Recession Levels, But The Housing Crisis Is Far From Over

Chicago's six-county region recorded 13,916 new foreclosure filings in the first half of 2014, a nearly 38 percent drop from a year ago and the lowest level reached since 2007, according to a report by the Woodstock Institute. Local housing activists working to help struggling homeowners offer their take on the new data as well as policies meant to stymie the ongoing negative effects of foreclosures.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:38pm
Thu Apr 10, 2014

Education Activists Call CPS Per-Student Funding Increase 'A Wash'; Fight Against Turnarounds Continues

The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district announced Wednesday that it will increase funding for school budgets next year by $70 million. But education experts and activists stopped short of calling it a big boost for schools.

"It's really not an increase. It's less of a decrease," said Eric 'Rico' Gutstein, faculty associate with the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Collaborative for Equity and Justice in Education.

CPS plans to reduce central office spending and use a one-time accounting adjustment so it can allocate the extra $70 million, which will be used to increase its base per-student funding amount by $250.

It looks like a good chunk of the extra per-pupil funds sent to schools would help to offset inflation and contractually-required pay bumps for teachers, CPS spokesman Joel Hood told the Chicago Sun-Times. Next year, the Chicago Teachers Union is owed a 2 percent teacher pay hike, which will reportedly come out to be no less than $50 million.

West Side education activist Dwayne Truss with the Raise Your Hand education coalition called the per-student funding increase "just a wash."

"You're not gaining much from last year other than being able to just hold on to what you already have," he said. 

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:58pm
Wed Mar 12, 2014

Election Preview: A Look At The 39th District State Representative Race

With less than a week until the March primary election, eyes are peeled on the 39th District state representative race that pits politically-connected incumbent State Rep. Maria "Toni" Berrios (D-Chicago) against community organizer and former Huffington Post reporter Will Guzzardi. Progress Illinois takes a look at the contest, which has been called possibly the "most important state legislative race in Illinois in the primary."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
7:37pm
Mon Jan 27, 2014

Action Now Protests Against 'By The Hand Club' Over Plans For New Austin Charter School

About 20 Action Now members and education organizers protested outside the By The Hand Club For Kids' location on the West Side last week to push back against the non-profit's involvement with plans for a new charter school in Chicago's Austin neighborhood. 

The charter school operator Chicago Education Partnership (CEP) won conditional approval by the city's board of education to open a new Austin elementary campus in 2015. The effort to open the new charter is a partnership between CEP and By The Hand, which operates a "Christ-centered" after school program in Austin at 415 N. Laramie Ave.

CEP's design team includes By The Hand leaders, explained Dwayne Truss, an Austin resident with the Raise Your Hand education coalition. And By The Hand's Executive Director Donnita Travis is CEP's board chairperson.

"She's leading both of the organizations," said Action Now spokeswoman Aileen Kelleher. "I would say there's a conflict of interest there."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:24pm
Fri Jan 17, 2014

Chicagoans Speak Out Against Charter School Expansion At Community Forum

   If the Chicago Board of Education allows 21 new charter campuses to open on the Northwest and Southwest Sides, neighborhood schools in the targeted areas and the district as a whole would be negatively impacted, education activists stressed at a community forum in Brighton Park Tuesday night.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:54pm
Wed Jan 15, 2014

Chicago City Council Roundup: E-Cigs, Affordable Housing & Charter Expansion

Progress Illinois recaps some of the happenings at Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:16pm
Tue Jan 14, 2014

Education Activists Discuss Next Steps Against Charter School Expansion In Chicago

    West Side community members and education activists are not backing down from their fight against charter school expansion in Chicago.

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