CTBA Staff

Ralph Martire

Executive Director

Ralph Martire is executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. In February, 2011, he was appointed to serve on the U.S. Department of Education Equity and Excellence Commission. He is a distinguished lecturer on public policy for Roosevelt University and has taught fiscal policy seminars for various universities and the International Fulbright Scholar Program.

Ralph has received numerous awards for his work on education policy reform, including the 2007 Champion of Freedom Award, presented by the Rainbow PUSH Coalition to individuals whose professional work embodies Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, commitment to equal educational opportunities, and the Ben C. Hubbard Leadership Award given by Illinois State University to individuals who have greatly benefited education in Illinois. He also received the Adlai Stevenson Award for Public Service presented by the American Society for Public Administration to honor one individual with a connection to the Chicago area that has made outstanding contributions to government and public administration over an extended period of time. He was elected to serve on the School Board of River Forest District 90, where he still serves. Ralph is also a regular columnist on education, fiscal and economic policy for the State Journal Register and Daily Herald

Ralph graduated from Indiana University Phi Beta Kappa, with a B.A. in History and received his J.D. from the University of Michigan.

He is married to Mary Kay Martire and they have two children, a son Nicholas, and a daughter Valerie. He coaches Little League baseball, boys basketball, and girls soccer.

Tracy A. Schonberger

Administrative Director

Tracy Schonberger is the Administrative Director at the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, with over fifteen years of administration and management experience.  Tracy has been on staff at CTBA since its inception in 1999 and manages the overall daily office operations, including office management, technology, human resources, and contract management. Prior to joining CTBA, she was a legal secretary during which time she worked with Ralph Martire. Tracy’s time in the legal sector provided her with tremendous organizational and computer skills that has equipped her with the expertise necessary to meet the time sensitive nature of CTBA's work.

Robert (Bobby) Otter

Budget Director

Robert (Bobby) Otter assumed the role of Budget Director in September of 2014. As Budget Director, Bobby’s areas of expertise include, but are not limited to, state and local budgets, tax policy, and fiscal analysis, with a concentration in education policy and funding research. Before joining CTBA, Bobby worked in the Office of Communications at Chicago Public Schools, handling research and policy for the department on topics ranging from the annual budget, school actions, labor negotiations, longer school days, assessments, metrics, and other major education policy initiatives rolled out by the District. Prior to that role, Bobby worked in the Office of Academic Enhancement at CPS. Bobby also worked on the Policy Committee for Toni Preckwinkle's successful 2010 campaign for Cook County Board President and has interned with the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and Senator Dick Durbin.  

Bobby holds a Master's in Public Policy from the Harris School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago, a B.A. in History from the Catholic University of America, and attended St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago.

Daniel Kay Hertz

Senior Policy Analyst

Daniel Kay Hertz joined CTBA in July 2015 as a Senior Policy Analyst. Daniel's work will include, but not be limited to, housing, budget, tax and fiscal policy issues at both the state and national levels. He will also contribute to CTBA’s social media platform.  Prior to joining CTBA, Daniel worked as a Senior Fellow with City Observatory, a virtual urban policy think tank. In that capacity and as a freelancer, he has written about urban issues at outlets like The Atlantic, the Washington Post, Planning, Chicago Magazine, and the Chicago Reader.

Daniel graduated with a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Chicago Harris School in 2015, and a BA in Government from Harvard University in 2010.

Danielle N. Stanley

Research Associate

Danielle Stanley joined the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability as a Research Associate in July 2015. Danielle's work focuses primarily on combating structural racism, and also includes general budget and tax policy research. Prior to joining to CTBA, Danielle was Legislative Assistant to Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge). Danielle also worked for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation as a liaison, in addition to analyzing policies and legislation.  Danielle’s other positions include the James H. Dunn Fellow-Legislative Affairs, Graduate Assistant for Department of Educational Leadership at University of Illinois at Springfield, and internships with both U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and Secretary of State Jesse White.

Danielle serves on the following Boards:  Springfield Race Unity Committee, Co-Chair for Restorative Justice Sub-committee, Organizing for Action-Springfield, and Executive Board Member for Springfield Black Chamber of Commerce.

Danielle received a Master’s in Public Administration and a Double B.A. in Legal Studies & Political Science from the University of Illinois at Springfield, and an A.A. from Lincoln College in Lincoln, IL.