Written by: Adriana A. Sotelo
On Wednesday, May 17, 2017, I had the opportunity to travel to Springfield, IL, with teachers and other students to protest for more funding for our after-school programs in Chicago Public Schools (CPS). The majority of CPS schools have had to cut some programs due to lack of funding. Thanks to the generosity of Chance the Rapper, who donated funds to several CPS schools earlier this year, some Chicago Public Schools brought back music programs. But, we—students—can’t depend on private donations, programs must be properly funded by our state government. It is hard to believe that a private citizen, who is not an elected official, can give up some of his money to help out Chicago Public Schools, but our governor can’t do the same with state money.
Elected officials should be helping to fund Chicago Public Schools, especially inner city schools like Clemente. After-school programs are a vital part of many of our lives; these programs keep us in a safe place after school instead of in the streets. As a senior at Roberto Clemente, I do not appreciate the fact that our state government doesn’t want to keep us safe after school hours; I would like for the next class of seniors to enjoy their activities and not have them canceled due to lack of funding. I became furious when I found out that some school districts here in Illinois are getting 3 times more funding than us. Are we worth less than other students in the state? That’s one of the reasons we were chanting, “Change the formula” at the rally.
I don’t think the state government even knows that the majority of parents work and pay taxes, and it is not fair that just because one lives in the “hood,”the governor (Rauner) thinks we do not deserve a well-funded education. Newsflash, we all deserve a better education. I am glad Roberto Clemente High School gave me the opportunity to go to Springfield to speak my mind along with other students from the city who care for their education. I hope having rallies like this is enough for the elected officials to realize that we need the money and want to continue with our education. Fight for equal funding!