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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:16pm
Wed May 21, 2014

CTU Blasts CPS For 'Unfulfilled' Promises On School Closings

One year after the Chicago Board of Education voted to close 50 "underutilized" public schools, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) says the district has not delivered on various promises to invest in the designated "welcoming schools" that took in displaced students.

“Shuttering our schools was touted as a hard and difficult choice by the mayor and the board, but this was the easy, draconian choice,” CTU President Karen Lewis said in a statement. “Parents, teachers, and the public demanded resources and supports for these education communities. Sadly, by making promises that remain unfulfilled, these schools and the students they serve have been dealt yet another blow — from failed policy to broken promises.”

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:21pm
Sat Sep 7, 2013

Ald. Hairston To Help Bring New Alternative High School To South Shore

Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) says she will work with community stakeholders and the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to bring a new alternative high school to the South Shore neighborhood now that plans have fizzled for the building of a Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academy campus in her ward, which she opposed.

On Friday, a representative from Bridgescape, a national alternative high school operator, said it would open its second Chicago campus next month in Roseland, instead of the previously proposed South Shore site at 7037 S. Stony Island Ave.

Hairston strongly opposed the planned Bridgescape site in her community, saying South Shore residents wanted to see more businesses come to Stony Island Avenue, not a school. The proposed site was also across the street from the Children's Developmental Institute. An alternative high school, with students who may be "experiencing some difficulties",  wouldn't be a "good fit" near a day care, the alderman told DNAinfo Chicago earlier this week.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:03pm
Mon Jul 8, 2013

Community Activists Turn Attention To Chicago’s TIF Program In Light Of CPS Budget Cuts

As local public schools begin to grapple with devastating budget cuts, community activists from across the city continue to put the spotlight on Chicago’s tax increment financing (TIF) program.

Since its inception in 1986, the city’s TIF program has raked in about $5 billion in property tax dollars. Of that money, $2.7 billion was diverted from the school district.

In return, Chicago’s TIF program looks to spur economic development in blighted areas by providing subsidies to companies for projects, such as housing complexes or a shopping center. TIF money has also been used for school building construction projects.

But at a recent TIF town hall meeting, Rogers Park residents criticized the program, saying it has done little to generate economic development in the 49th Ward and other struggling communities across the city.

“We need to end the TIF program,” said 49th Ward resident Don Olson at the CivicLab’s TIF forum held at Loyola Park last week.