Amidst massive CPS layoffs, city still helping fund DePaul arena
This past May, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and DePaul University announced a proposal for a 10,000 seat, $173 million arena near convention center McCormick Place, along the lakefront of downtown Chicago. Six days later the Board of Education voted to close 50 public schools because of a $1 billion deficit and underutilization issues.
Late last week over 2,000 Chicago Public School teachers and staff were laid off. The Mayor blamed “pension obligations” for the layoffs saying, “Everyone has always said if we don’t fix the pension situation, it’s going to come back at some expense.”
Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis insists the budget problem is not about pension costs, but rather, a lack of revenue.
“We need to go to Springfield to get rid of this regressive flat tax. We need a progressive income tax and that’s why Illinois looks so bad,” said Lewis.
I am a product of the Chicago Public Schools having attended William E. Dever Elementary and Lane Tech High School. It saddens me that the Mayor and Board of Education do not seem to value CPS teachers or students.
I am also a proud alumna of DePaul University. However, I do not agree with the city helping to fund an arena for DePaul (a private university) to use for athletic events. The mayor and city won’t spend money to save public schools, but have no problem spending millions of dollars of tax increment financing district funds to purchase land for an arena? An arena is more important than educating our city’s children? I don’t understand this.
My question to the Mayor is, where are your priorities? Why are CPS teachers and students not higher on your list? As nine-year-old CPS student Asean Johnson says in the video below, Chicago students are having their educational opportunities taken away.
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Twitter: @_Camelia & @talkrealdebate