Raise Your Hand joined parents from across the city and several aldermen for a Wednesday press conference to once again present local revenue proposals to ensure school stays open past June 1st, in the absence of our paralyzed state coming up with funding for CPS. Mary Hughes, CPS parent and Raise Your Hand board member spoke at the press conference. Her statement is after the jump:
Hi. My name is Mary Hughes and I am a parent representative on the LSC’s of Cassell Elementary and Chicago High School for Agricultural Science, Director of 19th Ward Parents for Special Education and a Board Member for Raise Your Hand.
The State of Illinois has the 5th largest economy in the U.S. and our beautiful City of Chicago has world class theater, restaurants, architecture, shopping…. We see the evidence of wealth, investment, economic development and abundance all around us downtown, but Mayor Emanuel and his appointed Chicago Public Schools CEO and Board are treating the children of Chicago as though we are in a third-world country by failing to provide adequate education funding and by systematically gouging away at school staffing, supports and programming over and over and over again, year after year, leaving our schools starving and further eroding educational opportunities for our children.
Raise Your Hand and other organizations have been pushing the State of Illinois to fix its education funding formula for years. Just last week, a city-wide LSC coalition sent a letter signed by 384 LSC members, representing 131 Chicago Public Schools, to Governor Rauner asking him to provide equal and equitable funding for Chicago Public Schools at the State level. Closer to home, we have repeatedly provided the Mayor and his appointees with common sense solutions to increase school funding at the City level. It is absurd that we have, again, faced mid-year cuts, seizing of promised funds, teacher layoffs, spending freezes and disruption at the school level because Mayor Emanuel and his appointees have failed to create a plan B in the face of political stonewalling by the governor. Chicago Public Schools must NOT close 3 weeks early. To do so is, at the very least, chaotic for families who will have to scramble to arrange for 3 additional weeks of care and supervision for their school-aged children and, at the very worst, deadly for those children who may, out of necessity, be left to their own devices in a City that is experiencing gun violence almost daily. Mayor Emanuel and his appointees must take responsibility and find the funds to keep our children in school, safe and learning because that is what the Mayor of a World Class City like Chicago is supposed to do.