Friday, October 15, 2010

Karen Lewis Demands TIF Money for Class Size Reduction

President Lewis Demands TIF Money Used for Small Class Sizes

Mayor Daley Submits Budget and Announces Release of Some TIF Surplus Funds
October 13, 2010

Today Mayor Richard Daley submitted his 2010-11Budget Request to the Chicago City Council and announced he was releasing $180 million in tax increment financing (TIF) surplus funds from 25 TIF districts.  If the City Council approves his budget as proposed, the Chicago Public Schools should receive an additional $90 million in the next fiscal year.

“This is an historic opportunity to finally do what is right for the children of Chicago Public Schools.  The entirety of the TIF surplus should be spent on returning all illegally fired teachers to our schools, reduce class sizes, increase school-based social services providers our children so desperately need, and restore student programs such as foreign language, after-school programs and sports,” said Karen Lewis, President of the Chicago Teachers Union.  “Couple this $90 million with the $106 million received from the Federal government earlier this school year, class sizes, which in many schools are busting at the seams, can be lowered, giving all students and teachers a real chance to work in a class environment that supports meaningful learning.   CPS needs to put their money where the children are and on what is supported by solid educational research.  Small class sizes improve learning.  Keep classes under 28, end split level classes where two grades are combined into one, and to help students who need individualized attention the most, hire back teacher’s aides so these students can succeed.”
“Finally, after years of having TIFs rob Chicago’s school system of $250 million each and every year, the Mayor has taken two out of the seven steps needed to right this decades-long wrong,” said Joseph McDermott, Municipal Outreach Coordinator, alluding to the fact that the TIF surplus has been estimated at $700 million, and yet Mayor Daley proposes releasing under $200 million.  “Those lining up to vie for the mayor’s position here in Chicago should expect teachers, parents and students to demand that schools and all social services be excluded from TIFs in the future.  That will be a campaign promise we will demand … and track.” 

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