Chicago Public Schools Legislation on Facility ReformFebruary 23, 2018

 House Bill 0572- Chicago Public Schools Facility Reform

 House Bill 0572 Amends the Chicago School District Article of the School Code to improve Facility planning and actions.

Adds to the definition of “school action” to include new school openings incorporating Charter Schools and Turnarounds. This ensures that school communities have advanced notice of any school actions similar to the December 1st deadline for other CPS schools, allowing for families that may be impacted know before school admission deadlines pass.  

Requires the 10-year educational facility master plan to include specific plans for special education programs, early childhood education programs, career and technical education programs, and any other programs that are space sensitive to avoid space irregularities. This ensures long term planning should incorporate as much data and information to support schools in the best planning for academic success.

Requires public input with a capital improvement hearing that shall discuss the district’s annual capital budget to increase community engagement and transparency around Capital spending for the district that includes information on what capital dollars are being used and which projects and the need for those projects with a timeline to address critical facility and programmatic capital needs of every district building.

Adds to the requirements of a school transition plan when school actions do take place for the district to track students and evaluate where resources should go based on students’ performance after school actions.

A communications and community involvement plan for each community that includes engagement of students, school-based personnel, parents, and key stakeholders throughout the community for more community input in the long term planning for school communities avoiding facility decisions that can negatively impact students.

Any school building disposition should include advanced planning to prevent vacant schools through advanced planning of potential school vacancies.

Work with school communities experiencing under enrollment that includes joint use for space, attendance boundaries to maximize enrollment of additional students, cease plans that will impact enrollment when not necessary.

West Humboldt Park Parent NetworkJanuary 31, 2018

Parenr Network 2.8Upcoming West Humboldt Park Parent Network meeting.

Local School Council Summit Saturday, February 10th

LSC SummitNext Saturday join parents, community memebrs, and teachers for the Citywide Local School Council Summit. Learn about becoming an LSC member, learn ways you can be the best LSC member you can be!

Blocks Together Bi-Annual ReportDecember 28, 2017

Dear allies and members,

Here is a small summary of some the work we have been up to here at Blocks Together! Thanks to all of the members that have moved this work forward and to our allies for all their support. Please consider donating an end of the year donation to Blocks Together to continue our work in 2018. You can donate using the paypal button on the website. Thanks so much!

Blocks Together Bi Annual Report

Poor Peoples CampaignMay 23, 2017

Press Alert

Chicago Westside Tent Revival
Kicks Off Chicago Chapter of the Poor Peoples Campaign


Chicago, IL. May 27, 2017: Individuals, communities and faith-based organizations throughout the City have formed the New Poor Peoples Campaign Chicago in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King’s last campaign. In December of 1967 King announced the plan to bring together Poor People from across the country for a new March on Washington, demanding economic justice. The Tent Revival will be the Official Launch of Poor People’s Campaign Chicago as part of the National New Poor People’s Campaign.

Lead convening group, Blocks Together’s Co-Executive Director Carolina Gaete shared the purpose behind the event,

“The issues impacting our communities show the need for a collective response to demand a real economic development agenda and changes to how our government treats the poor. Our goal is to start a dialogue around the needs of our communities and create an agenda with those impacted to create a new economic agenda.”

“There are millions of poor people in this country with very little or even nothing to lose. If they can be helped to take action together, they will do so with freedom and power that will be a new and unsettling force in our complacent national life,” Dr. Martin Luther King.

The Tent Revival being held, Saturday, May 27th, will begin at 1:00 p.m. with a ceremony followed by workshops and panels concluding with an interfaith service beginning at 5:00 p.m.   The event will be at Blocks Together, 3711 West Chicago, Il. 60651, Chicago, Illinois 60651.

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Democratizing Tax Increment Financing Funds Through Participatory BudgetingDecember 30, 2016

If you missed our TIF Toolkit Launch, no worries, you can download the report here:

Democratizing Tax Increment Financing Funds Through Participatory Budgeting Report

Looking for more information please email us at to find out how you can be more involved in Blocks Togther’s Economic Justice Campaign.

November 22, 2016

Blocks Together’s TIF Toolkit Launch Event will be Saturday, December 3rd at Breakthrough Ministries located at 3219 W. Carroll, from 11am to 3pm. To register for the event follow the link below, space is limited.

Image result for participatory budgeting with the TIF in chicago

May 6, 2016

Join Blocks Together for a conversation with Dr. David Stovall, author of Born out of the Struggle on the 15th Anniversary of the Little Village Hunger Strike.
Rooted in the initial struggle of community members who staged a successful hunger strike to secure a high school in their Chicago neighborhood, David Omotoso Stovall s “Born Out of Struggle” focuses on his first-hand participation in the process to help design the school. Offering important lessons about how to remain accountable to communities while designing a curriculum with a social justice agenda. Click on the link to register for the event. link

Elected Representative School Board LegislationFebruary 20, 2016

What is HB 4268 ?

Currently, the Chicago Board of Education (the Board) consists of 7 members who are appointed by the Mayor of the City of Chicago, without the consent or approval of the City Council. The members serve 4 year terms.

    • The Mayor also appoints the Chief Executive Officer and determines his or her compensation.  In the 2015 municipal elections, voters in 37 Chicago wards were asked if they favored an elected board over an appointed board.
    • The results were staggering, yet not surprising: 89 percent of voters favored an elected board.


  • House Bill 4268 provides that:On March 15, 2016, the terms of all currently appointed members of the Board will expire and abolish.
    • 13 new members are to then be elected.  
      • Four electoral regions: Southeast Side, Southwest Side, West/Central Region, and the North Region. Each region must be represented by 3 members, except the North region which will have 4 members. Each region must have 2 parent members and 1 community member. 
      • Eligibility requirements: must be at least 18 years old; parent or legal guardian of a child enrolled in the public school region; and be a resident of the region. Eligible persons must obtain a petition with at least 250 signatures in order to be placed on the ballot.


      • 7 members will serve 4-year terms and 6 members will serve 2-year terms, in order to create staggered terms.
  • These board members would better represent our children and our communities than an unaccountable, unelected board.
  • These elected board members would have strong ties to the communities, chosen democratically by the very communities they would serve.
  • Then, if voters – parents and members of the community – feel board members are not doing an adequate job or are failing our students, they can be replaced. The board will be more accountable.

If you still need more information about whether Chicago needs an elected school board please take a look at these resources:


GEM ERSB Fact Sheet



Community Group Responds to Mayor’s New Economic Development InitiativeFebruary 19, 2016

Mayor Rahm Emmanuel recently announced a plan to increase economic development through the “Neighborhood Opportunity Bonus”  initiative. While this approach is innovative, there must be measures put in place to ensure these funds are used properly and made to be used for change that does not led to gentrification and further isolation of many of Chicago’s residents.

The Neighborhood Opportunity Bonus initiative must have; direct benefit to current residents and homeowners of the targeted communities where the funds will be dispersed; additional accountability for potential development that is created based on these funds such as community benefit agreements that ensure local hiring, local business and contractor support, and community collaboration; and lastly transparency around funds and the distribution of those funds.

Blocks Together, a community organization in West Humboldt Park, has been working for the last seven years to ensure local Tax Increment Financing dollars in low income communities have direct benefit, accountability, and transparency.  This has been done through annual meetings with residents and the City of Chicago Department of Planning to report expenses and projects being funded to the larger community, advocating for needed projects in the community where TIF can finance such as a new library in the community and a housing purchase support program. In 2014, BT facilitated the first participatory budget process where the community decided projects for $2 million of TIF funds. Through this we know the City can do better in creating more community participation and direct benefit with public dollars.

BT has been proposing additional measures with current and future economic development funds that prevent displacement, and the politics that impact how funds can support the needs of communities in the City such as; using the participatory budgeting model with these new funds, requiring advisory councils that have power to veto and improve upon potential development, and create mechanisms where residents can follow the money without complicated data sets and numbers. BT has seen how people can come together and create solutions for community driven economic development, and where the City needs to change its approach in engaging with community residents to provide community controlled development, and move away from the status quo of top down decision making. We hope this new initiative moves the City in the right direction in real reform and innovation in resource distribution.

Blocks Together News

Or Email us at to sign up.

Blocks Together Calendar

West Humboldt Park Parent Network

Parenr Network 2.8Upcoming West Humboldt Park Parent Network meeting.

Local School Council Summit Saturday, February 10th

LSC SummitNext Saturday join parents, community memebrs, and teachers for the Citywide Local School Council Summit. Learn about becoming an LSC member, learn ways you can be the best LSC member you can be!

Ple register at

012616_Soto_Elected School Board

Meeting for re-purposing for vacant Laura Ward

Residents of West Humboldt Park are welcome to attend a meeting around the re-purposing of the vacant Laura Ward Elementary School.
When: Tuesday, July 14, 2015 6:00pm – 8:00pm Where: Nia Family Center 744 N. Monticello Ave. Chicago, IL 60624

BT members began working on the re-purposing of the vacant school early 2014, many issues arose such as immediate safety concerns. Never the less the re-purposing of the school is important. Read a recent articlewith BT Co-Director Cecile Carroll, and Alderman Walter Burnett around the issues facing the community and the re-purposing of Laura Ward.

Next CEFTF meeting

Saturday, July 11th will the next Chicago Educational Facilities Task force at :

SATURDAY, JULY 11th, 2015 

10 A.M. – 12 NOON

(Sign-in/Registration to begin at 9:30 A.M.)

Hope Presbyterian Church

1354 West 61st Street

Chicago, IL

The purpose of this Meeting is to gather public input and take testimony on the following topics:

–  Chicago Public Schools’ 10-Year Educational Facilities Master Plan (EFMP)




Concerned parents, educators, students, community members, elected officials, and other stakeholders are urged to provide testimony on these topics atSaturday’s meeting.

Written testimony on these topics may be submitted to the CEFTF via email to this address:

As always, the members of the CEFTF welcome and value your input.

Blocks Together’s Community Forum on Teachers Contract

Blocks Together is sponsoring a community forum regarding the current negotiations between the Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools. In 2012 the CTU and CPS negotiations failed and the historic 2012 teachers strike happened. Come ask questions about the contract negotiations, share your concerns and offer input on your own school and community and how both sides can better serve our children during these negotiations. RSVP by emailing

When: Wednesday, June 10, 6-8pm

Where: Kelly Hall YMCA 824 N Hamlin Ave, Chicago


Blocks Together LSC Training

This Saturday January 24th and next Saturday January 31st Blocks Together will be sponsoring Local School Council training at BT’s office 3455 West North Avenue. The training will start promptly at 9am and end at 5pm both days. To RSVP email or call Cecile Carroll 773-276-2194. Chicago trip planner

TIF Project Expos

The Peoples Budget consist of residents living in the Chicago/Central Park TIF deciding how $2 million dollars from the TIF will be used. Project may fall under one of the 4  categories :

Affordable Housing, Job Training, Public Works and Small Business

If you live within the Chicago/Central Park TIF come out to the Project Expo’s and learn about projects designed by Community Residents from the Chicago/ Central Park TIF .

Projects Elected by community residents will receive funding from the Chicago Central Park TIF.

November 7th,  14th               3:00– 6:00 p.m.               Graffiti Zone  3722 W Chicago Ave.

November 8th , 14th              12:00– 2:30 p.m.              Daley Library   733 N Kedzie

November 11th , 14th               6:00– 8:00  p.m.              Daley Library    733 N. Kedzie




Date change for BT”s People’s Dinner Fundraiser

Blocks Together’s People’s Dinner Fundraiser date has changed. It will be Sunday, November 23rd 6-9pm at La Finca, 6237 S. Archer Road in Summit, Illinois. Tickets are $25.00 and includes food and drinks. There will be a cash bar. You can purchase your tickets online at the Blocks Together webpage,,  to purchase your ticket or you buy tickets at Blocks Together through our paypal button.  

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