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Englewood Schools to Get New Gym, Arts Teachers Thanks to TIF Money

By Wendell Hutson | July 24, 2014 7:27am | Updated on July 24, 2014 7:38am
 Lindblom Math & Science Academy High School in Englewood will get two new physical education teachers for the 2014-15 school year.
Lindblom Math & Science Academy High School in Englewood will get two new physical education teachers for the 2014-15 school year.
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DNAinfo/Wendell Hutson

ENGLEWOOD — Several Englewood schools are beneficiaries of $21.5 million tax increment financing that will be used to hire 84 physical education and arts teachers at 115 elementary and 62 high schools across the city.

When the new school year begins next month for Chicago Public Schools, William Harper High School will receive one full-time physical education and one arts teacher; Lindblom High School will get two physical education teachers, John Hope College Prep will get one physical education teacher and Paul Robeson High School will get one part-time arts teacher.

At the elementary schools, Benjamin Mays will get one arts teacher, Nicholson Technology Academy will get one part-time arts teacher and Hinton School of Social Justice will get one arts teacher.

The TIF money is part of the school district's $5.7 billion budget. But the money will only subsidize new teacher salaries for the next two years. After that the schools must incorporate the salaries into their annual budgets.

According to CPS officials, the TIF money would cover 75 percent of salaries for the new teachers hired this year and 50 percent next school year. By the third year all salaries would be part of the school's budget.

Not all schools received the same number of teachers, which CPS officials said was due to student population and whether schools already had an arts or physical education teacher. But a school with a part-time physical education or arts teacher might have also received a full-time teacher or vice versa.

Larger schools like Lane Tech College Prep on the North Side received four new physical education teachers in part because of its enrollment of 4,134 students.

In order to receive the TIF money, schools had to apply for the funds, CPS spokesman Joel Hood said.

Walter Gresham Elementary School, 8524 S. Green St., did not apply even though the Auburn Gresham school does not have an arts teacher. The Chicago School Board voted in April to make Gresham a turnaround school beginning this fall and turn over management of the school to the nonprofit Academy of Urban School Leadership. When a school is turned around the entire staff, from the principal to the cafeteria workers, must reapply for their jobs.

Priority was given to schools that did not have any physical education or arts teachers, and according to CPS officials, 36 schools that did not have an arts teacher last school year will have one this year.

CPS officials said the TIF surplus funds were designed to ensure that all schools had access to both arts and physical education teachers in order to meet the requirements of the new physical education policy and the CPS Arts Education Plan, which mandates two hours a week of instruction for elementary schools.

Hood added that preference was also given to schools with strong “Year One” action plans that maximized student participation in physical education with a focus on 11th and 12th grades.

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