Striking Teachers March To Lincoln Yards Development Site, Asking TIF Money Be Used For Schools

Bernie Tafoya
October 29, 2019 - 1:26 pm
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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Striking teachers by the thousands marched Tuesday morning from three different North Side locations to the site of a planned real estate development, a visual learning aide that one teacher union organizer said shows Mayor Lightfoot where there's more money for schools.

Teachers started by gathering at three sites near Lincoln Yards and converged on the site on Wabansia just east of Elston Avenue.

Lincoln Yards is a planned retail and residential development just west of Lincoln Park, north of North Avenue and west of the Chicago River. It's a project that’s supposed to receive nearly a billion and a half dollars in tax help from the city.



Union organizer Jhoanna Maldonado said some of that TIF money should be going to schools.

"You guys like the treasure map today? We found the money, Lori. The money is here. We need Lincoln Yards to put pressure on giving some of that money back or figuring out how to help Lori do her job," she said.

One of the dozens of signs carried by striking teachers said: If Only My students were named Lincoln Yards. Invest in our students.



Rally speakers such as parent Andrea Tolzmann railed against it the tax break.

"This TIF will divert tax revenue for 23 years and that’s our money that won’t go to our schools or other vital services and you know what? That deal got put in writing," Tolzmann said.

The Chicago Teachers Union top leadership missed the march and rally. They were called back into negotiations.

Huu Nguyen, a parent volunteer with Raise Your Hand for Public Education in Illinois, said children miss their teachers, their friends and learning.

"Connect the corporate dots and we’ll see exactly where there’s money for everything else in this city, including this soccer field. Everything else, except for our schools and the poor and working class," Nguyen said.

A couple of students also spoke at the rally in support of teachers. Dee Camacho, a student at Lindblom High School said, "We are the future. We should use the TIF money to fund this contract. We won’t settle for the bare minimum. The only one with a playground should be students."