Jan 7, 2013
Three hundred teachers, parents, students and community activists paid a surprise visit to Chicago’s Gold Coast Hyatt Hotel on Veterans’ Day.
The protest was regarding the transfer of five million dollars in TIF funds to build a new hotel in Hyde Park, near the University of Chicago. Half of Chicago’s property tax income is diverted from the public schools and other services into TIF or Tax Increment Financing funds, which are then given to developers. These millions are being taken out of schools starved for money, and given over to support business ventures like the Hyatt’s.
To put the icing on the cake, Penny Pritzker, who sits on Chicago’s school board, is a billionaire heiress who owes her fortune to the Hyatt Hotel chain. Pritzker is responsible for the Chicago Public Schools’ budget. After the TIF millions are sucked away to groups like the Hyatt, Pritzker and her cronies on the board have the nerve to tell residents that the schools are in a severe budget deficit, and, as a result, they desperately need to close schools.
When the crowd arrived at the hotel, about half of them poured into one of the hotel’s lobbies and held a public “lesson” on how the TIF funds rip the schools off.
The head of the school board later berated a union official at the Board meeting, saying the teachers union “was not civil.” Apparently, it’s not polite to yell “thief” at those who rob us while claiming to work in the interests of our students!