CTU against a 'parking meter type deal' on pre-K expansion

Chicago Teachers Union issued a press release on November 3, 2014 criticizing the plans for a privatization scheme to expand pre-K education in Chicago. Here is the CTU press release:

Mon., Nov. 3, 2014

City Council Finance Committee to consider Parking Meter Style Privatization Scheme to Expand Pre-K Education

When: Monday, November 3rd at 10:00 am

Where: In City Council Chambers in the Finance Committee

CHICAGO - Mayor Rahm Emanuels latest plan to fund primarily half-day slots for a few hundred select children only, known as Social Impact Bonds, will be discussed and voted on in todays City Councils Finance Committee at 10 a.m. The bonds promise Goldman Sachs, Northern Trust and the Pritzker Family Foundation $30 million in return for a $17 million investment in pre-K over the life of the 4 year program.

A growing coalition of parents, labor unions and municipal bond experts, has decried the scheme as the latest form of "parking meter privatization."

These bonds let banks profit off our kids by monetizing their successes in school and then collecting public dollars that should be reinvested into education, said CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey. These are the same firms, like Goldman Sachs, which have siphoned public dollars through predatory financial deals like toxic interest rate swaps that have cost the city and school district $800 million. We need to protect our youngest most vulnerable children from these rapacious interests.

By the citys current estimate, the payouts of the Social Impact Bond will have the City of Chicago on the hook for more than $4 million by 2017, and the Chicago Board of Education will owe over $21 million to investors over the course of the next 15 years (until 2030). Instead of privatizing early childhood education and guaranteeing banks a rate of profit, the Bright Futures Coalition will testify at Mondays Committee hearing that Emanuel should fight to provide pre-k for the 150,000 students in Chicago that need free, full day universal schooling. He can do raise the necessary revenue through progressive revenue measures such as a LaSalle Street Tax or financial transactions tax, by reclaiming the hundreds of millions that have been lost due to predatory interest rate swaps, an employer head tax and redistribution of tax increment financing (TIF) dollars.

"Its a shame that the mayor uses our children to help banks make a profit and take money away from our children, said Edilia Correa, parent leader of Belmont-Cragins Communities United for Quality Education. We need real solutions to ensure that all communities can have access to quality, full-time Pre-K programs, and the city should be taxing the banks to help our schools instead of giving them a blank check. ###


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