Quality neighborhood public schools are central to the success of the 47th ward. And we cannot become a city where every resident has the opportunity to reach their potential without strong and full-funded neighborhood schools throughout Chicago as part of a pre-k to college educational system. That’s why strengthening our neighborhood schools will be my top priority.
My wife and I moved to the 47th ward because of the high quality schools in the neighborhood. As a former member of the local school council for Coonley Elementary, I was part of the decision making process for an outstanding neighborhood school.
If elected alderman, I will build upon Alderman Pawar’s strong track record of investing in neighborhood public schools – especially our neighborhood high schools – throughout the 47th ward to ensure that our families have quality choices for their children. I will fight for fair funding for schools across the city. And I will support making the Board of Education more accountable by amending State law to establish an elected school board.
As alderman, I will:
Invest in improving our neighborhood high schools. One of my top priorities will be to advocate for additional investments in Amundsen and Lake View to maintain the momentum these schools have had in improving these past few years. This would include:
- Following through on the expansion of Amundsen’s International Baccalaureate program to become wall to wall
- Strengthening the Lake View High School partnerships with Northwestern University and Microsoft to continue enhancing the curriculum
- Advocating for CPS to fund GrowCommunity’s efforts to encourage 47th ward residents to enroll their children in neighborhood schools
Fight to fully fund our neighborhood schools. Our schools need more investment to reduce class sizes and ensure that every child has access to science, arts, music, and school libraries staffed by librarians. As alderman, I will:
- Work with the next mayor, City Council, and Chicago members of the Illinois General Assembly to push the state of Illinois to fully fund the new education funding formula every year. Under SB 1947, the state is to invest an additional $350 million in school funding annually over ten years. Roughly one-fifth of these funds will go to the Chicago Public Schools.
- Call upon CPS to develop a new local fairness formula to for new funding that comes in through the state to ensure that these dollars go to the schools that need them the most.
Support an elected Board of Education. The Board of Education must be more accountable to the Chicago taxpayers. I will support amending State law to establish an elected school board.
Work with parents, teachers, and principals on a five-year plan to strengthen academics at our high schools and elementary schools that identifies needed programmatic and capital investments by school.
Advocate for expanding early education. As a City Hall staffer, I worked to expand full-day pre-kindergarten. As alderman and a parent of two young children, I will support additional state and local investment in early education for children from birth to five. Additionally, I will support the development of new child care options, expansion of CPS tuition-based, and addition of free pre-K classrooms in the 47th ward
Call for a moratorium on school closures. The past decade has made clear that closing schools hurts communities without saving money or improving educational outcomes. The moratorium on school closures must continue into the next mayor’s administration and the Board of Education must develop a new policy for low enrollment schools that is focused first on providing additional support and developing community-driven solutions.
Advocate for Free Community College. I am proud to have played a leading role in developing the City Colleges of Chicago Star Scholarship, which offers free associates degrees to students who graduate from CPS with a 3.0 GPA. I will advocate to expand access to the program in the years to come until we as a city are able to offer free community college classes to Chicago residents.