Posts tagged ‘cps commission’

New Commission Suggestions on School Closings

The-Commission

Per a press release that just came out:

First and foremost among the report’s new recommendations is that closing an underutilized school should be considered only if its students can transfer safely to a better-performing school. That important recommendation is among five added to the nine that were submitted in an interim report.

Working off that premise, the Commission determined that CPS has the capacity to consolidate approximately 80 schools including closures and other school actions such as turnarounds and co-locations. That means there are 80 higher-performing schools that can accommodate relocated students. (Page 17 of the report details how the Commission arrived at this number. View the full report at www.schoolutilization.com.

“The Commission heard repeatedly at public meetings how previous school closures meant students did not get the same level of educational quality.  “Our children are not being served if any school action jeopardizes their potential for learning or their safety.” said Commission Chairman Frank Clark.

Distance is also a key factor, and the report urges CPS to work with the Chicago Transit Authority on potential bus route alterations, as well as consider providing direct transportation for relocated students.

The Commission’s interim report submitted in January focused on what its members believed CPS should not do. Among the initial recommendations was that high schools and Level 1 (high-performing schools) should be taken off the table, actions CPS Chief Bennett announced earlier this year.

The additional recommendations detailed in the final report are:

  • Close schools only where students can transfer safely to higher-performing schools
  • Look beyond the utilization data to examine all relevant factors, including work done by communities, and the needs of students with disabilities
  • Complete the actions in one year or over two years
  • Spend the money to do it right
  • Create community-based committees to develop plans for vacated buildings

The report culminates four months of work by the Commission, an independent body comprised of eight members. In Phase I, the Commission, held 10 public hearings and data-gathering meetings across the city, listening and engaging stakeholders from the communities affected. Four public data-gathering sessions were held with researchers, academicians, CPS staff and the Chicago Teachers Union.

In Phase II, the Commission held meetings with Local School Councils and Community Action Councils. In addition, the public was able to engage in the process via the Commission’s Web site, www.schoolutilization.com.

“There is no doubt in my mind that consolidation is a necessary step, and the Commission took seriously the task of tackling that difficult issue—not as decision-makers, but as facilitators,” said Clark.

March 6, 2013 at 6:29 pm 220 comments


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