CTBA Staff

Ralph Martire

CTBA Executive Director and Arthur Rubloff Endowed Professor of Public Policy at Roosevelt University

Ralph Martire is executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability (“CTBA”), a bipartisan 501(c)(3) think tank committed to ensuring that state, federal and local workforce, education, fiscal, economic and budget policies are fair and just, and promote opportunity for all, regardless of race, ethnicity or income class. He is also the Rubloff Professor of Public Policy at Roosevelt University. During his time at CTBA, Ralph has helped obtain numerous legislative successes (including passage of the Evidence Based Model of Education Funding in FY2018, a state Earned Income Tax Credit, creation of a bipartisan legislative task force to integrate workforce and economic development policies, passage of the 2011 Temporary Tax Increases, corporate accountability legislation that, among other things, requires public reporting of economic development benefits created through receipt of tax breaks and other subsidies, decoupling Illinois tax policy from both the federal bonus depreciation rules and the federal repeal of the estate tax).

In 2018, Ralph was appointed to serve on the legislatively established “Professional Review Panel,” charged with monitoring the implementation of Illinois’ new evidence-based school funding formula. He was also appointed to the Transition Team of Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker.  In 2011-2013, Ralph served as a full voting commissioner on the Congressionally-established “Equity and Excellence in Education Commission,” which was housed in the Federal Department of Education’s Civil Rights Division. In addition to his professorship at Roosevelt University, he has taught fiscal policy seminars and education finance courses for various universities and the International Fulbright Scholar Program.

Ralph has received numerous awards for his work on education policy reform, including: being named River Forest’s Co-Villager of the Year by the Wednesday Journal for his work promoting equity in District 90, where he serves as school board president; 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. Ralph is also a regular columnist on education, fiscal and economic policy for the State Journal Register, the Daily Herald, and The News Gazette.

He received his B.A. in History with highest honors from Indiana University, and his J.D. from the University of Michigan.

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.

Sydney Smith

Development Director

Sydney Smith is the Development Director at the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, joining the team in September 2017. Sydney’s work includes managing foundation and corporation relationships, individual giving, and special events for CTBA. She also oversees all donor communication and supports CTBA's marketing strategies. 

Prior to joining CTBA, Sydney worked in development at the Chicago Urban League, as well as Casa Central. She also managed development and communications at the Frances Willard House Museums & Archives.

She is a member of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN), the Association of Fundraising Professions (AFP), and the Chicago Women in Philanthropy (CWIP). Sydney holds a Bachelors of English from the University of Iowa, and is currently a member of the Advisory Board of the Chicago Film Archives.

Drazzel Feliu

Research Director

Drazzel Feliu is the Research Director at the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability.  Drazzel's areas of expertise include housing and general tax policy. He specializes in statistical evaluation and geospatial analysis. Prior to starting in June 2019, Drazzel served as a research intern at CTBA. He previously worked as a research assistant at the University of Chicago - Harris School and as a support operator at Ogilvy & Mather. Prior to that, he worked as a business analyst at Sterling Information Systems. Drazzel graduated with a Masters in Public Policy with a certificate in municipal finance from the University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy in 2019 and a BA in Economics from Fordham University in 2013. 

 

Allison Flanagan

Research Associate

Allison joined CTBA in September as a Research Associate with a specialization in Education Policy. In June 2019, she graduated with a Masters in Public Policy as well as a certificate in Policy Analysis from the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy. During Allison’s time at Harris, she researched both the economic effects of school closings within Chicago neighborhoods and an equitable Community College Funding Formula in Illinois. She worked for both the Neighborhood Schools Program (UChicago) and was an undergraduate Teaching Assistant for the UEI’s To&Through Project Director. 

Prior to her time at Harris, Allison spent 5 years teaching elementary education in Illinois, most recently in the suburb of Berwyn. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education with a minor in Linguistics from Michigan State University. GO GREEN!