Paralyzed from waist down by drunk driver crash, Mayor’s hand-picked board terminates funding for clerk position that few schools can afford because of funding hunger games.
- 7A Tuesday, May 25: socially distanced press conference with parents, educators, Byrne Elementary, intersection of 53rd St. and Oak Park Ave. (near Archer), Chicago.
CHICAGO—Chicago Public Schools is on deck to receive an additional $1.8 billion in COVID relief funds, bringing the total in federal support for the pandemic to $2.79 billion — the largest federal aid package in CPS history. But Mayor Lightfoot’s hand-picked school board apparently can’t seem to find funds to save the job of veteran bilingual school clerk Judy Mahoney, who was displaced from her old school because it cannot accommodate her wheelchair.
Educators and parents from Byrne and Whittier Elementary will hold a socially distanced, masked press conference on Tuesday at 7:00 a.m. at Byrne Elementary, at the intersection of 53rd St. and Oak Park Ave., (near Archer Ave.) to demand that CPS continue to fund Judy’s position at Byrne.
Veteran bilingual school clerk Judy Mahoney worked for more than two decades at Whittier Elementary, until an uninsured drunk driver hit her car in 2017, paralyzing her from the waist down. She fought hard to return to her job — only to be denied because, decades after the Americans With Disabilities Act was passed, Whittier still lacks wheelchair access, as do schools across the city. The mayor’s CPS team placed Judy instead at Byrne Elementary, which is wheelchair accessible and where Judy’s hard work and can-do spirit has won over the Byrne school community.
But CPS has now slashed funding for Judy’s position — even though her school community needs her but cannot afford the position, displacing her for a second time after she’s served students and staff for almost 30 years.
Had Whittier been accessible, Judy would not now be confronting unemployment simply for having the misfortune of being the victim of a catastrophic auto accident. Had CPS funded Byrne and hundreds of other schools based on what they need — and not based on Rahm Emanuel’s racist ‘student-based budgeting’ scheme — CPS would be funding instead of slashing Judy’s position. Had CPS invested in real accessibility for every student, family member and worker at our schools, Judy would not be facing unemployment.
Judy’s colleagues are calling on CPS to start remedying these inequities by reversing their push to drive Judy out, and instead fully fund her position so she can continue to serve her school community.