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Fewer Schools Headed For Closure, Source Says

As few as 15 or as many as 50 schools could be closed, the Chicago Tribune reports. Chicago Public Schools also released its 2013-2014 school calendar.

Chicago Public Schools will close fewer schools than originally anticipated, according to an unnamed source from a Wednesday Chicago Tribune story.

The Commission on School Utilization—charged with researching school closures—told CPS officials that shutting down a large number of schools would “create too much upheaval,” The Tribune reported.

Early projections showed more than 100 schools on the chopping block. The committee has now said fewer than 50 schools could be closed. That number could also shrink to 15.

CPS can't handle the logistics of closing a large amount of schools, considering teacher assignments, special education and student schedules, the source said.

The announcement comes five days after CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett released a statement saying high schools and high-performing Level 1 schools would be exempt from closure discussions.

Three out of 32 schools in the Ravenswood-Ridge Network could be closed, according to an internal document obtained by the Chicago Tribune in December. That network includes Bell, Chappell, Coonley, McPherson, Ravenswood, Waters, Budlong, Audubon and Blaine, among others on the North Side.

The commission will host two more community meetings in each network. One will focus on the metrics of that network’s schools, with the second listing the committee’s recommendation of school closings.

Despite what the commission suggests, the decision ultimately lies with Byrd-Bennett.  

The proposal for school closings stems from a drop in the CPS student population over the past decade. The schools are serving 403,000 students with the capacity for 511,000, according to a CPS release.  

The 2013-2014 CPS calendar is attached to the article on the right, and below are changes, sent in a letter by Byrd-Bennett:

  • ·First Day of School: 51 percent of parents and students and 80 percent of teachers preferred a calendar that started sometime in August. All students will now begin school before Labor Day on August 26, 2013.
  • Three-Day Thanksgiving Holiday: In SY 13-14, schools will be closed for three days during the week of Thanksgiving starting Wednesday, November 27, 2013.
  • Removal of Half Days: 62 percent of parents and students and 61 percent of teachers preferred that professional development occur on full days of non-student attendance instead of half days.
  • First and Last Days of School: The first day of school for all students will be August 26, 2013 and the last day of school will be June 10, 2014.
  • Holidays: Schools will be closed to observe Labor Day, September 2, 2013, Columbus Day, October 14, 2013, Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2013, Thanksgiving, November 27-29, 2013, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 20, 2014, Lincoln’s Birthday, February 12, 2014 and Memorial Day, May 26, 2014.
  • Winter Break: December 23, 2013 to January 3, 2014.
  • Spring Break: Schools will be closed for Spring Break from April 14 to April 18, 2014.

Read Previous:

  • North Siders to CPS: 'Don't Close Our Schools'
  • CPS to Answer School Closure Questions in February
  • Local School Closing Plans Detailed in CPS Document 
gerald spencer January 25, 2013 at 01:43 AM
Will they close any of the for-profit schools? Like the one run by the Boka restaurant chain?
Sarah Flagg January 25, 2013 at 03:37 AM
Hey Gerald! I'm not sure, but Ill look into it and get back to you! -Sarah

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