This Week in Ed 8.29.19: Let’s pack the courtroom for #TIFreform when the kids are back at school!

In April, we and Grassroots Collaborative filed a lawsuit against the city over their administration of TIFs, specifically the Lincoln Yards MegaTIF. Here's an article from the day of the filing. Our lawsuit is a piece to the TIF reform puzzle. Of course, the city has filed a motion to dismiss our case. Our lawyers (Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law and national Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights) will be arguing against the dismissal on Wednesday, September 11, at 9am, downtown, Circuit Court at Daley Plaza, 50 W Washington. We would love to pack the courtroom that morning! If you can join us, please fill out this Google form. Facebook event page here. So many of you have joined us in TIF reform advocacy and actions throughout the years- you won't want to miss this one! 

This week, the Chicago Tribune came out with a whopper of a story that explains the rush to vote on this TIF. Their investigation is extraordinary because it reveals the extreme lengths that the City went to in forcing through this TIF district. Lincoln Yards did not qualify for TIF funding at the time that it was passed. The City rushed to approve the TIF before it was publicly known that Lincoln Yards wouldn’t qualify. But the City found a way around that by using Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) numbers that were old (2013-2017) instead of more current numbers (2014-2018). The assessed land value numbers for 2018 were available on the assessor’s website by late 2018 – but the EAVs were not “certified” until after the TIF vote. City Council passed the Lincoln Yards TIF just before it would have been clear to everyone and publicly known that it was ineligible. This TIF should be stopped now before we waste $1.3 billion on an area that doesn’t need it. We need to fix the TIF process so it does what it was intended to do: help the communities that need it most. Join us in court on September 11. Sign up and details here.

The Trib article is a must read: Lincoln Yards’ race for subsidy; Delay could have kept megadevelopment from $1.3B in taxpayer money Another must read from The Chicago Reporter: ‘Step back and reassess’ rushed Lincoln Yards TIF, groups say in lawsuit


Save the date: Raise a Glass for Raise Your Hand 2019!

Tuesday, October 22, 5:30-8:30PM, Lagunitas Brewing. More details are coming soon!

If you are interested in supporting the Raise a Glass annual fundraiser, you can: 

➡️ Be part of the Planning Committee 

➡️ Be part of the Host Committee 

➡️ Be a Sponsor

➡️ Buy a digital advertisement spot

Email if you are interested in any of the above! 



CPS FY2020 budget hearings and the monthly BOE meeting

The CPS FY2020 budget was released earlier in August. The CPS budget web page is here. The CPS web page for the FY2020 capital plan is here. Find some press analysis of the budget here

We spoke at a few budget hearings. You can find our statements from both the operating budget hearing and the capital budget hearings here- we also included press coverage of the hearings.

We spoke at the monthly unelected CPS BOE meeting this week. You can find our statement plus press coverage of the meeting here. The CPS FY2020 operating and capital budgets passed unanimously. The $33M contract for school police (or School Resource Officers; SROs) passed 5-1 (Todd-Breland voted against; Revuluri was absent.)


Two CPS BOE surveys 

The new Lightfoot appointed CPS Board of Education wants feedback on the Board Meeting registration process. The newly formed Whole Child Committee if also looking for feedback. Please consider taking both.


Special Education news

Our friends at Access Living released a disability rights analysis of the CPS FY 2020 budget. You can find it here. They found no budget to remedy documented special ed violations, and the accessibility improvement spending plan adheres to district standards that don’t necessarily address access to academic programs. It’s worth a read.

Also worth a read and published in Psychology Today: When the Teacher Insists, “He’s Just Not Motivated”. And ICYMI… Chalkbeat Chicago: I was the nurse for five Chicago schools last year. The district desperately needs more of us.

On July 24, 2019, CPS announced its first step toward informing parents and guardians of students with IEPs of the “Student Specific Corrective Action” process that will take place at annual IEP meetings during the 2019–20 school year. Per CPS, more detailed information will be available in September 2019. Links to overview of CPS Student Specific Corrective Action are here in English and in Spanish.

CPS failed thousands of children with special education needs. If your child did not get any of the necessary services stated below, contact us: Check back for parent special education Know Your Rights/How to File State Complaint workshops, coming in October 2019. We’ve also created a web page with the flyer- please share with your parent networks



ICYMI… Schools starts Tuesday for CPS students! 

Here's the 2019-20 CPS School Year Calendar: English; Spanish

We hope your school year is amazing!


CTU and SEIU Local 73... strike watch

We encourage you to pay attention to the news in the coming weeks about the negotiations between the Chicago Teachers Union and the Chicago Public Schools. SEIU Local 73 members have already authorized a strike. This is the union that represents SECAs, bus aides, board custodians, security officers, and parent workers. Each of these unions will be hosting informative pickets at schools in the coming weeks. We encourage you to speak to your teachers and school staff. 

Below is some recent press coverage:

WBEZ: The Countdown To A Possible Chicago Teachers Strike: The PR War

WBEZ: Chicago Teachers Union Rejects Contract Terms; Sets Stage For Strike On Sept. 26

Chalkbeat Chicago: Chicago teachers union rejects neutral fact-finder’s report, setting countdown to strike

The two articles below are updated periodically: 

WBEZ: A Chicago Teachers Strike Is Looming: Explore The Issues

Chalkbeat Chicago: #TrackingtheContract: Union builds support for teachers as possible strike looms


WBEZ series of stories on CPS teacher vacancies and sub shortages

Here’s a series of reports that are a must read or listen…

Hundreds Of Chicago Schools Go Without Teachers And Subs — Mostly In Schools Serving Black Students

Does Your CPS School Have Trouble Finding Teachers And Subs?

CPS Faces Massive Teacher Shortage With First Day Of School Just Weeks Away

WTTW: CPS Teacher Shortage Hits Black and Special Needs Students Hardest


RYH Action is now Illinois Families for Public Schools

ICYMI… we sent out an announcement via email on August 9- you can read it here. A great big congratulations to IL Families for Public Schools! From an IL-FPS Facebook post

Governor Pritzker signed dozens of bills Friday, including two of our own initiatives, HB3606, the student data privacy bill, and HB254, the class size goals bill.

The governor also signed SB1226, a bill that will abolish the IL State Charter Commission, on Friday; this is something we've been working on with a coalition of orgs for many years!

Two important special ed bills, HB3302 and HB3586, that we worked on as part of the coalition that pushed for an inquiry into CPS' special ed policies also became law on Friday.

You can read more about the student data privacy bill here

Chalkbeat Chicago: Illinois abolishes charter schools commission, eliminating state appeals body for charters

And, THANK YOU, to all of you who made phone calls, filled out witness slips, visited elected officials, traveled to Springfield, and educated others- fantastic work!!!



Block Club Chicago: Hyde Park Students Want Chicago To Ban Styrofoam — And With Some Help From A Former Governor, City Hall Is Listening Ray ES #cpsuccess!

Chalkbeat Chicago: How visits to schools abroad enriched this Chicago teacher’s work in social and emotional learning Mather HS #cpsuccess!

Chalkbeat Chicago: From murals to museums, how one South Side principal is reimagining summer school Randolph ES #cpsuccess!


In other news

WBEZ: School District Reimagines Education System To Start At Birth

WBEZ: Black Parents In Naperville Aim to Build Community, Close Achievement Gap

Sun-Times: Illinois schools to spotlight LGBTQ contributions under new law: ‘The right kind of mandate’

WBEZ: Chicago Kids Use Social Media To Meetup Downtown, But Police Are Watching 

Sun-Times: St. Ignatius denies ‘land grab’ after alderman questions deal to use CPS land


Worth a read

Pro Publica Illinois: Parents Gave Up Custody of Their Children to Help Them Get Financial Aid. Now, Some Are Abandoning That Idea.

WGLT: Why Some Parents, Healthcare Experts Worry Active Shooter Drills In Schools Do More Harm Than Good

Chalkbeat Chicago: I was the nurse for five Chicago schools last year. The district desperately needs more of us.


Upcoming events

Pack the Courtroom! ¡Llenemos el tribunal!

Wed, Sept 11, 9am

Cook County Circuit Court, 50 W Washington

If you can join us, please fill out this Google form.

Facebook event page here


⟹ Raise a Glass for Raise Your Hand 2019! Our annual fundraiser… SAVE THE DATE!

Tues Oct 22, 5:30 - 8:30pm

Lagunitas Brewing Company, 2607 W. 17th Street

More details coming soon! 


* A correction/clarification was made to the 2nd paragraph to reflect the difference between "assessed land value" and EAVs. 

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