Our schools are the beating heart of our community and they need an Alderman personally invested in supporting their success. We have wonderful parent organizations in our Ward who need a partner in City Council committed to supporting them. Together, we can create a pre-k through 12 model that makes families feel comfortable and excited to raise their children in the City.
My wife and I are both products of public education and believe deeply in supporting our neighborhood schools, and especially our public schools. We’re committed to our local public school for our own family and already volunteering to help our schools raise money and thrive. I deeply believe that one of an Alderman’s key roles is as the standard-bearer for our local schools, and that if we work together, we can build a trustworthy and dependable pre-K through 12 pipeline in our neighborhood.
Within my first 100 days, I will bring together our local teachers and principals, Local School Councils, and “Friends of” school groups in a 43rd Ward school council to better understand and advocate for the priorities of our schools. Many of the schools in the 43rd Ward are nearing or at capacity, and I’ll use my policy experience to work with parents, principals, and teachers to strategically plan for future needs so we’re not forced into difficult last-minute choices.
I will also focus on expanding programmatic offerings in the region. While the 43rd Ward is home to some of the best schools in the city, we must do more to ensure our students have access to the arts, athletics, and a wide array of other programs. To prove how personally invested in our schools I am, I will donate part of my salary to our schools every year. Our schools, and our kids, must always be a top priority.
And finally, we can’t be proud of Chicago’s schools unless they are serving all students. I’ll make sure improvements are getting across the city to the South and West sides too, making sure every Chicagoan can get a good education. Not only is it the right thing to do and good for our economy, but providing opportunity must also be an integral part of our comprehensive strategy to fight crime. I will commit to the following actions within my first 100 days and my first year:
First 100 Days
- Reconnecting the Alderman’s Office with the Schools and Parent Communities. Working with the Local School Councils, “Friends of” Groups, and Principals, we will create a School Advisory Committee that works with the Alderman to surface the most important issues in our schools and plan ahead for how we can work with the CPS bureaucracy to get what we need for our community.
- Promote Our Local Schools to Parents Considering the Suburbs. We have wonderful local schools, but too often parents hear rumors about CPS that simply aren’t true. I’ll work with our local schools to create materials to talk up how great our schools are to new parents. I’ll be the chief Salesperson myself and talk about why my young family has made the decision that Chicago public schools are the right choice for us.
- Introduce an Ordinance Supporting a Hybrid School Board. I believe the Chicago School Board should have 1-3 elected representatives in addition to those appointed by the Mayor. No good governmental system is run by only one actor without any corresponding check or balance and this needs to change. I believe this hybrid model strikes the right balance between an independent perspective and voice while still avoiding diffused responsibility often inherent in large committees. At the same time, CPS depends on significant funding from Springfield. We need to ensure the Mayor remains accountable for our schools, so all future Mayor’s are willing to fight hard for funding for Chicago’s kids in Springfield. If we write the Mayor out of the equation, we’re severely diminishing CPS’ strength in Springfield and putting future State further at-risk.
- Donate Part of My Aldermanic Salary to the Schools Every Year. I’ll put my money where my mouth is and donate part of my Aldermanic salary every year to the schools.
- Issue a Yearly Report on Our Local Schools Identifying Key Issues (e.g. Capacity) Far In Advance and Proposing Solutions. Every year I’ll report back to you on the state of our local schools and what’s coming in the next 3-5 years. This way the community can mobilize around big issues in advance and we can work towards sustainable long-range plans for school success.
- Launch a Partnership with DePaul and Other Local Universities. DePaul and other local universities have tremendous resources to leverage for our local schools Let’s work together to sign an agreement where Depaul and others will help our schools with some of these assets when they’re not being used (e.g. using DePaul’s wonderful Theatre school stage for high school and middle school plays when it’s open) or where it could benefit everyone involved (e.g. teacher training rotations to support CPS teachers in large classrooms).
- Deliver Opportunities for Arts & Sports Through Community Support and Donations. Many CPS sports and arts programs face significant funding constraints. However, many private schools and universities frequently upgrade very good equipment that they don’t have a use for. Let’s form a pipeline of donations to make sure all our kids get the benefit of musical instruments and sports equipment instead of it winding up on the trash heap.