- AP Photo/M. Spencer Green
- Chicago Board of Education President David Vitale, center, listens to opponents of proposed school closures at a packed board meeting Wednesday, May 22.
At the risk of sounding naive, I was hoping that at least one of Mayor Emanuel’s school board appointees might take a break from voting to close 50 schools and mention the $55 million the mayor wants to spend on his near-south-side hotel and basketball arena.
As you know, the board voted yesterday to close those schools on the grounds that the system’s too broke to keep them open.
And yet the school system’s not so broke it can’t afford to contribute about $28 million of the $55 million in property tax dollars that Mayor Rahm wants to spend on the hotel and DePaul basketball arena.
It’s even worse. The hotel/b-ball arena project will wind up costing the schools money. Because by buying the land, Mayor Emanuel will make it tax exempt, and the schools will no longer be able to tax it.
So they’ll have to raise the taxes on everyone else’s property to compensate. Lucky us!
In short, the mayor’s proposing to spend $55 million on a project that will cost the schools money and raise our property taxes.
As I may have explained once before—right here.
And will undoubtedly explain again. In the hopes, faint though they are, that someone in a position of power will gather up the courage to tell the mayor, “Uh, you know, boss, maybe it’s not a good idea to spend $55 million in property taxes on a venture that will lose money for the schools.”