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Lincoln Avenue Community Meetings
As we enter the last holiday weekend of the school year, lawmakers in Springfield are poised to either address our school funding crisis or adjourn for the summer leaving Chicago's public school students in the lurch.
Before you begin your weekend plans, I hope you'll take a moment to voice your support to change the grossly unfair way our state funds public education. Simply put, Chicago Public School students make up 20% of the States enrollment and Chicagoans pay 20% of the state's income tax, yet our students receive only 15% of the state's total funding.  That missing 5% equals almost $500 million dollars this year.
On top of that, in June Chicago must pay almost $700M in teacher pension contributions this year. In 2013, state lawmakers mandated Chicago must meet its pension obligations in full while failing to provide any funding to help shoulder this obligation, as it does for every other school district in Illinois.  Let's be clear - your income and other State taxes help pay $2266 in pension payment per student outside of Chicago - but only $31 per student in Chicago .  Only Chicago is double taxed - to fund its own pensions and to fund pensions in other school districts.
We need a state school funding solution that does not unfairly burden Chicago taxpayers and, in particular, the property owners in our Ward.
CPS faces a $935 million dollar budget deficit that will result in harsh programming and staff cuts.  In the 43rd Ward, we give generously to our schools. But the funding inequities exceed the ability of individual parents. And, more importantly, fundraising should be for enrichment, not basic needs.
You may be reading in the papers that the Illinois House passed a budget that would provide CPS with an additional $400-500 million.  While that is, as Mayor Emanuel has just stated, a "welcome first step," Governor Rauner has said he will veto it.
There is a reasonable solution at hand.  An overhaul of the state school funding formula has passed the Illinois Senate to change Illinois' funding formula so districts with high concentrations of low- income children would receive a greater amount of money. The bill would fairly contribute to CPS pensions.  
CPS CEO Forrest Claypool and hundreds of parents, administrators, and teachers are in Springfield today pressing for change. I hope you will take a minute to stand up for our public schools by reaching out to your legislators.  Click here to email or tweet your legislators and Governor Rauner.  Email the governor here.  Tell them - don't veto the budget and pass fair school funding for all of our children.

Community Presentation for Proposed Redevelopment at 2448 / 2462 N Lincoln Avenue

Please join my office and the Wrightwood Neighbors Association (WNA) to review a proposal by Blitzlake Developers to redevelop the parcels at 2448 North Lincoln Avenue and 2462 North Lincoln Avenue (former Hi-Tops site). The applicant seeks to construct two four-story buildings, with approximately 22 residential units and 5,000 square feet of ground level retail on the 2448 North Lincoln Avenue parcel, and 9 residential units and approximately 1,200 square feet of ground level retail for the 2462 North Lincoln Avenue parcel.

My office will be present at this meeting to monitor the discussion, take notes, and record your feedback.

WHAT: Redevelopment Proposal of 2448 / 2462 N Lincoln Avenue

WHO: Hosted by Alderman Michele Smith and Wrightwood Neighbors Association

WHEN: Wednesday, June 1 st at 6:00 PM

WHERE: Stanley Manne Children's Research Institute 
  (Formerly known as Lurie  Children's Research Center)               
  2430 North Halsted Street
               First Floor Conference Room (Wolfson Room )

Help Improve Lincoln Avenue

Please join my office, the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce, Wrightwood Neighbors Association (WNA), and Lincoln Central Association (LCA)  and attend a community open house to give your feedback on improving Lincoln Avenue  in Lincoln Park. Anyone who lives near, works around, or visits this area is encouraged to attend. 

This is the first of two public events that will help inform the Lincoln Avenue Corridor Plan. Attendees will share their opinions about the conditions of many aspects of the corridor through conversations and interactive exhibits. Topics to be addressed include: sidewalk and public way conditions, transportation, business mix, and the state of the buildings in the area. Feedback will be incorporated into a report which will be released late this summer.

The event is free, open to the public.  Click here for more information. 

WHAT: Lincoln Avenue Corridor Plan Open House Community Meeting #1

WHO: Hosted by Alderman Michele Smith, Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce, Wrightwood Neighbors Association, and Lincoln Central Association (LCA)

WHEN: Wednesday, June 1st from  7:00-9:00  PM

WHERE: Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln

Chicago Sculpture Exhibit Installation

You may be noticing new pieces of public art popping up around the neighborhood. These sculptures are part of the Chicago Sculpture Exhibit, a non-profit founded by former Alderman Vi Daley.  Stop by  Fire Station Park, Today  at 12:45 PM to see the installation of a sculpture by  J ohn Adduci, an internationally recognized artist from Old Town.  The CSE is celebrating 15 years of bringing public art to the neighborhoods, so stop by today to say thanks!
Operation Help - A - Hero

The 43rd Ward and Operation Help-A- Hero will be collecting basic household items and toiletries throughout the month of June in an effort to help the hundreds of Chicagoland veterans who are homeless. All donations will be delivered to the United State's Department of Veteran's Affairs, who will distribute materials to qualifying veterans  in need of assist ance. Please drop off donations at the Ward office, 2523 N. Halsted.

Office Closed Memorial Day

In observance of Memorial Day, our office will  close Friday, May 27th at 3 PM and reopen on Tuesday, May 31st at 9 AM .

City Hall, City of Chicago governmental offices and Chicago Public Libraries will be  closed on May 30th to comply with the City of Chicago mandatory  holiday schedule .
If you have a need for city services, please call 311 for non-emergency requests, or dial 9-1-1 if you require immediate assistance .

Have a great Memorial Day weekend, 
Michele Signature

Michele Smith
Alderman, 43rd Ward