CHICAGO (CBS) — After a property tax rebate program last year, the city of Chicago was left with nearly $17-million in excess funding.

A group of community organizations and aldermen called Wednesday morning on the city to use that money the right way: to prevent violence. WBBM’s Andy Dahn reports.

Alderman Raymond Lopez said the funds can be used to make a real impact.

“Last year, my colleagues and I set aside $20 million to give our communities relief from property taxes,” Lopez said. “It’s time to give that money to relieve our communities of the violence that impacts them everyday.”

While Lopez called for the expansion of summer and winter job programs for at risk youth, parent Anita Cavalaro said more funding for education can save lives.

“We need teachers in our schools to keep these young children in our schools, instead of being out in the streets and killing innocent people,” Cavalaro said. “That’s why we need the money.”

And while some have suggested using the funding for sidewalk repairs and bicycle lanes downtown, others called on city leaders to think again.

“Do the right thing and help our kids by giving them hope for what they can become,” said Action Now Board Member Alvesta Sanders.