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Education Tue Mar 30 2010

Daley Opposes Lifting of Residency Requirement for Teachers

I think the Mayor may have a point about the state legislature's recent action to lift a requirement that Chicago Public Schools teachers live in the city:

"If you say government employees don't have to live here, I guess maybe elected officials don't have to live here, too. You could start a trend. I don't have to live in the ward. I don't have to live in the city. I can work on a contract. I firmly believe that is the essence of keeping neighborhoods strong."

Of course, agreeing with the policy means the city needs to take bolder steps to insure there is affordable housing in Chicago; Chicago has been shedding affordable housing units, bifurcating the city into the upper middle class and the poor. But given the sheer number of city employees, and the fact that city housing will always be more expensive than housing in many bordering suburbs, lifting the residency requirement will result in another exodus of middle class residents--and valuable tax dollars.

I'm not convinced of this position, though--is there an argument to be made that the residency requirement is overly onerous or unfair?

The bill was sponsored by Senator Heather Steans of the north lakefront. Below is the roll call vote.

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Dennis Fritz / March 30, 2010 6:50 AM

As seldom as I agree with Daley about anything, I do agree city employees should be required to live in the city. As things stand now, the neighbhorhoods with the largest populations of city workers--Norwood Park, Edgebrook, et al--are the the city's western edge. They are also among the most "suburban" neighborhoods in town. Lifting the residency requirement would entice many, if not most, of these folks into the 'burbs. The result would be a significant loss of revenue for the City of Chicago. These workers would be collecting their salaries directly from Chicago taxpayers, but they'd be spending it elsewhere. The money Chicago taxpayers pay for city services would largely be used to subsidize suburban townships. That is a big enough problem already.

Ramsin / March 30, 2010 1:09 PM

I agree--while I generally don't like to see these kinds of restrictions placed on workers, we can't just have the sprawl communities outside of Chicago continuing to take advantage of the city's density and markets to make a living, without contributing otherwise to the city's financial well being. If this ends up becoming law, it may be time to start considering a city income tax?

LDW / April 3, 2010 7:43 AM

I agree with both of you.

LDS / September 2, 2010 3:32 PM

I believe we should have a choice. To find a safe affordable nice (yet modest) home with a yard to play in is difficult enough. We found that - but the schools are terrible. So, the salary does not cover sending them to a decent private school. How fair is that? Someone who puts their life on the line for the citizens of Chicago is giving enough by doing their job well- why should our children have less education? Why can't we live in the burbs (if we choose to) and work in the city? Alot of the services we use and shopping revenues of the workers living on the "edge" of the city are already given to the suburbs. Our area doesn't have the appropriate retail anyway.

LDS / September 2, 2010 3:33 PM

And I forgot to ask of the first two posters- do either of you work for the city?

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