April 22, 2013
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) continues its community engagement efforts this week with scheduled public hearings on each of the 54 underutilized schools and programs proposed for consolidation and other actions recommended by CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. Starting April 16, public hearings are being held for each proposed recommendation during which CPS staff will present brief testimony followed by public comment. An independent hearing officer presides over each public hearing.
“Parents in every community want and deserve better for their children’s education,” said CEO Byrd-Bennett. “They must be partners in this work, which is why the input of parents and school communities played a direct role in preparing the recommendations I proposed in March. Their input in this dialogue is vital, and I urge them to continue with their participation.”
Community meetings have been held by CPS and the Commission on School Utilization as part of a rigorous, four-month community engagement process CEO Byrd-Bennett launched in January to inform her consolidation recommendations. Prior to releasing school utilization recommendations in March, CEO Byrd-Bennett received feedback from over 20,000 community members and parents at nearly 30 public meetings. This feedback coupled with the recommendations from the Independent Commission on School Utilization helped to create the criteria for consolidation or co-location that has removed a total of 276 schools from consideration for closure.
To date, CPS has held more than 150 community meetings and 33 public hearings around this work, which has given parents and community members the ability to provide feedback throughout the process. Answers to frequently asked questions raised throughout community meetings can be found on CPS’ website at: /qualityschools.
Each public hearing will be held for two hours in the evening Monday through Friday with a majority of the time dedicated to public comment. CPS encourages community members and parents to provide input on safety plans for each consolidation, investments in welcoming schools and additional comments on CPS’ proposed school utilization plan. Meetings will be held at CPS Central Office at 125 South Clark Street. A full schedule of community meetings is attached and available online at /qualityschools/Pages/myvoice.aspx.
Chicago Public Schools serves 403,000 students in 681 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.