Although a tax increment financing (TIF) surplus resolution has stalled in the Chicago City Council, one alderman says the fight to redirect such funds to the cash-crunched school system continues.
Ald. John Arena (45th), with the council’s Progressive Reform Caucus, spoke about the TIF surplus resolution during a Tuesday evening education forum on Chicago’s Northwest Side. Chicago Jobs with Justice hosted the event at Irving Park Baptist Church, 4401 W. Irving Park Road.
Just hours earlier, Budget Committee Chairwoman Ald. Carrie Austin (34th) used a procedural move to delay consideration of the TIF surplus ordinance — which is backed by 34 aldermen — by sending it to the Finance Committee.
“It’s not done,” Arena said of the TIF resolution, introduced by progressive Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th). Progressive Reform Caucus members are working with “some other folks to try to modify the resolution” in an effort to “get a [TIF] sweep done within the next month or two,” Arena told the crowd.
Chicago aldermen and community groups are pressing for city council action on a resolution in support of directing tax increment financing (TIF) surplus funds to the cash-strapped Chicago Public Schools.
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students have made their way back to class today, marking the first day of school since the Chicago Board of Education voted to shutter 50 neighborhood schools in May. Forty-eight of those schools were closed in June.
Today is also the first day the expanded Safe Passage program has gone into effect, which is meant to help students safely travel to and from school as thousands of children trek to unfamiliar schools this year as a result of the closings. Many of the welcoming schools are located farther away from students’ homes than their previous school, leading critics of the closings to say the move puts children at an increased risk of falling prey to gang violence or predators. Just one day before school began, a 28 year-old man was shot along a Safe Passage route and a 14 year-old boy was shot and killed less than a block away from Melody Stem School, a West Side welcoming school. Nonetheless, CPS insists the hundreds of workers in the Safe Passage program will provide students with the necessary security and supervision needed to keep them safe.