“Today, with this bill, Illinois is open for business,” said state Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Olympia Fields), the chief Senate sponsor.of the $173 million DePaul basketball arena bill.With the failure last night, to pass a bill that would have given Chicago Public Schools another pension holiday, the IL State Legislature ended it Spring Session failing to do anything to provide either the state or Chicago with any new revenue to solve its ongoing pension crisis. But it had no problem finding $173 million to help pay for Rahm Emanuel's latest boondoggle, (that's what Sports Illustrated is calling it) a new 10,000-seat basketball arena for DePaul, the nation's largest private Catholic university.
According to Crain's, Rahm is counting on the sale of 22 luxury suites in the arena at $45,000 each per year and 300 club seats to account for near $500,000 in operating income. But there's little hope of filling the new arena with city basketball fans. DePaul's program abandoned Chicago back in 1980. This year's team roster included not one player recruited from Chicago's public schools.
CTU V.P. Jesse Sharkey calls the boondoggle yet another reason why we need an elected school board in Chicago and an end to mayoral control of the schools:
The mayor has demonstrated a lack of leadership and his appointed Board of Education has done a miserable job governing the district. They have closed 50 elementary schools without a plan and now they will have to deal with a looming budget issue. But rather than finding additional revenue, the mayor pushed through spending for the DePaul basketball arena, millions for Navy Pier development, and extended TIFs that were set to expire. Now more than ever we must demand an end to mayoral control and push for an elected representative school board. -- Fred Klonsky's blogAmen!