Robbing Peter to Pay DePaul

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made national news recently byclosing 50 public schools in one fell swoop. What didn’t get as much national attention was the pivot: Days before the actual school closure vote, Emanuel announced plans to build a 10,000-12,000 seat stadium for DePaul University’s Blue Demons on the lakefront, with about $55 million in tax-increment financing (TIF) funds—in other words, taxpayer money.

The closure of these schools is the tip of the iceberg. In the surviving schools, language, art, gym and science classes are being slashed, curriculums are being truncated, entire class periods are disappearing—and the accompanying teachers and staff are being laid off.

This, says Emanuel, is all necessary to do two things: better utilize resources to give Chicago kids the best education e-vah, and to deal with the ever expanding deficit at the Chicago Public Schools, now projected to hit $1 billion in 2014.

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