On March 19th, Action Now members joined the Chicago Teachers Union and other community organizations to protest the city’s allocation of TIF funds to corporations instead of public schools.The march began at Jenner Elementary school where teachers, students, elected officials and community members spoke about the effect of the budget shortfall on public schools. Class sizes are increasing, there have been mass teacher layoffs, many schools don’t even have toilet paper in their bathrooms. Over 100 public schools don’t have a library staffed with a librarian. Chicago Public Schools are in dire need of funding, yet the Mayor and City Council continue to give over $250 million a year of the people’s property tax dollars (in the form of TIF funds) to corporations and politically connected developers.
After the speeches, the group marched to Grossinger Toyota, which received over $8 million dollars of TIF money to ask them to give it back to public schools! Around 250 marchers entered Grossinger Toyota and filled up the entire showroom while chanting, carrying signs and a huge “past due” car note that demanded that TIF funds be returned to public schools. While exiting the building, two protesters were arrested even though they were only guilty of exercising their constitutional right of freedom of assembly.