As a sector, we took another step this month in our journey toward ensuring an arts education for every student in Chicago. CPS announced that an additional 84 arts instructors will be hired for a three-year term beginning in the 2014-15 school year.

Surplus TIF funds are being used to support 75% of each teaching position in the first year, and 50% of each position in the second year. Interested schools must commit to covering the rest of the cost in the first two years and fully funding the position through their own budgets in the third year. Half of the approximately $22 million in surplus TIF is designated for 84 arts positions, with the other half of the funding going toward physical education positions.

Ingenuity played a key role in the decision-making process by providing the District and the Mayor’s office with our collected data, and verifying and providing counsel on the data and logic used. This role is an expression of our continued public/private partnership with CPS and City Hall—one that you have supported as arts providers and funders.

Additionally this month, members of Ingenuity’s staff attended January’s Chicago Board of Education meeting to support the Department of Arts Education and director Mario Rossero as he presented the one-year update on the CPS Arts Education Plan. Mario walked through the Plan, highlighting accomplishments and future goals. He was joined by arts liaisons from Darwin and Armstrong Elementary Schools who shared their perspective of how the Plan has lent credence to their work, and increased interest in the arts by faculty and families.

President of the Board David Vitale placed our work in significant light by taking the time to congratulate Mario on the progress made, acknowledging the work yet to come, and highlighting two facets of the Plan which he felt were of the utmost importance to seeing it to fruition; Ingenuity and its partners, and the Creative Schools Fund.

As we all work toward equity and quality arts instruction for all of our students, we caution that this is not a moment to pause but a moment to propel our sector forward.  We have a long way to go, and look forward to continuing our work with you to get there.

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