Logan Square parents, teachers and students rallied Tuesday morning to speak out against the deep spending cuts affecting local public schools. The group also demanded that tax increment financing (TIF) funds be used to restore school budgets.
Those who attended the rally, held at the Illinois Centennial Monument in Logan Square, said releasing TIF surplus dollars would be an immediate way to boost school budgets while city and school officials work toward identifying long-term fiscal solutions for the district.
Leaders with the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, which organized the rally, said 10 of the group's partner public schools face a combined $4.7 million in budget cuts for the upcoming school year.
Back in 2012, the Chicago Board of Education voted to phase out Dyett due to poor academic performance. The school, located in the Washington Park community, closed in June after its final senior class of just 13 students graduated.
For nearly two years, the coalition has been advocating for its community-driven plan to turn Dyett into a "global leadership and green technology" open-enrollment high school. Members of the coalition, spearheaded by the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, were also on the frontlines protesting the initial decision to phase out Dyett.
Last week, the Illinois Senate passed legislation that would reform school discipline policies. Progress Illinois takes a look at the pending bill, now under consideration in the Illinois House, and the problems it aims to address.
The oversight system of charter schools in Illinois contains "fundamental flaws" that need to be revamped in order to prevent fraud, argues a report by Action Now and the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD).
The report -- which pointed to the scandal involving insider deals at the charter school operator United Neighborhood Organization (UNO) as a more recent example of the need for stronger oversight -- noted that over $13 million in charter school fraud, waste or abuse has been uncovered in Illinois since the legislature passed a 1996 law allowing charters to open in the state.
As a result of the state's "lack of transparency and necessary oversight," there are likely more instances in which funds were inappropriately used in the Illinois charter system than has been reported, the researchers claim. According to their estimate, charter school fraud in Illinois tallied up to nearly $28 million in the last year alone.
The following was written by Brenna Conway, the Illinois Director for the Roosevelt Institute -- Campus Network.
On the campaign trail, Governor Bruce Rauner shared very little about how he would tackle Illinois' extreme budget crisis. His messaging told us there was a plan, that the focus would be improving the business climate of our state and resolving our overwhelming pension problem, but not how we'd achieve these goals. As we finish up his first month on the job we now have a glimpse into both that plan and his style as a chief executive. The question is, are these things that young people in Illinois can support?
It's clear that the governor has a laser-like focus on our state's fiscal problems, and with a "credible debt projection of over $9 billion for fiscal year 2016," such a focus is vitally important to getting us back on track. But his tactics thus far do not reflect they way that young people in Illinois are hoping to solve our state's problems.