Monday, April 8, 2013

Chicago to Close 54 Schools to address $1B Deficit by Jason Keyser


Chicago public school officials said they plan to close 54 schools because many are half-empty and the move will help solve a $1 billion shortfall. But many parents and teachers say the plan will disproportionately affect minority children.

CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools officials ended months of speculation when they released the list of 54 schools the city plans to close, but the pushback against Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his schools chief is likely just starting to ramp up.
As word of the schools on the long-awaited closings list trickled out Thursday, parents, teachers and community members — some furious, some in tears — vowed to fight the closings. One group took a bus of people to protest in front of the homes of school board members, and some parents spoke of a lawsuit. The Chicago Teachers Union already had scheduled a mass protest march through downtown for next week.
"We are the City of Big Shoulders and so we intend to put up a fight," union President Karen Lewis said. "We don't know if we can win, but if you don't fight, you will never win at all."

Emanuel and schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett say the closures are necessary because too many Chicago Public School buildings are half-empty, with 403,000 students in a system that has seats for more than 500,000. But opponents say the closures will further erode troubled neighborhoods and endanger students who may have to cross gang boundaries to attend school. The schools slated for closure are all elementary schools and are overwhelmingly black and in low-income neighborhoods.


About 30,000 students will be affected by the plan, with about half that number moving into new schools.

CPS officials say money being spent to keep underused schools open could be better used to educate students elsewhere as the district deals with a $1 billion budget deficit. The district says it will invest money to improve schools that are welcoming new students. The funds will be used to add better technology, air conditioning, tutoring services, increased security and other services. CPS says it also will ensure every school has a library and that students no longer are learning in dilapidated buildings.

To read more, click on the following link:

http://news.msn.com/us/chicago-to-close-54-schools-to-address-dollar1b-deficit

 

No comments: