Roosevelt students and supporters tell Ald. Mell, "Empty the TIFs, fund our school."
We're proud to stand with our community's young people in the fight for a good education.
So when student organizers at Roosevelt High School asked for our help after the alderman's office declined to meet with them to discuss school funding concerns, 33rd Ward Working Families members grabbed their coats and headed out to provide support.
A team of over 20 high school juniors and seniors, parents, and community supporters attended the alderman's ward night to ask for an action plan to restore the school's funding and to propose that TIF funds be used to help Roosevelt overcome successive and punitive budget cuts.
Following a testy exchange in which Ald. Mell denied the ability to resolve the problem and suggested the students were to blame for the cuts through inadequate test scores, she and her office ultimately gave the students what they had asked for two months ago—a sit-down meeting to hear what they had to say.
We are pleased to help them win this first step but know that they, and the rest of us, will need to be creative and persistent in finding a solution to Roosevelt's problem.
As one of Ald. Mell's colleagues, who is using TIF funds to support neighborhood schools, argues:
"We're all in this together" and that means parents, seniors, renters, and business owners all benefit when schools do well: increased property values, a well-educated community, stabilized tax base, increased demand for rental housing, increased traffic in business districts, etc. As a result, a city ward becomes a community.
Our ward deserves no less.