Sometimes symbolism matters.
We hope that’s the case with the laudable example of two Chicago aldermen who have volunteered to give up money earmarked for their own wards to help fill the Chicago Public Schools’s mammoth budget hole. The dollars aren’t much; that’s why this is mostly symbolism. But the aldermen are showing political courage, setting a standard for their colleagues and sending a message:
Any solution to the school funding crisis will take shared pain — from taxpayers, teachers and Springfield.
Aldermen are supposed to bring home the bacon. To do otherwise is almost an unnatural act.
But Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) says he’ll give up $16.5 million in TIF projects for the Sulzer Regional Library and two parks in his ward. And Ald. Proco Joe Morena (1st) has offered to scrap plans for a $1 million baseball field for Robert Clemente High School. Instead, the money would go to help bail out the city’s schools, which are facing teacher layoffs and classroom cuts.
These guys have their priorities right. And together with Ald. Patrick O’Connor (40th) and Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd), they have introduced a resolution calling on all aldermen to identify surplus TIF projects.
Now let’s see who else steps up.
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