April 3, 2013
Today Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett announced that the third phase of community engagement around the District’s utilization crisis will begin this Saturday, April 6, focusing on her recommendation to consolidate underutilized and under-resourced schools. CPS will hold two community meetings for each school, providing parents and community members the ability to ask questions, provide feedback to the District, and receive more information.
“As a lifelong educator, I am committed to ensuring that every child in every neighborhood of Chicago has access to a high quality education and I know that in the end consolidation will provide our children with a better education,” said CEO Byrd-Bennett. “The changes we are making will allow us to focus our resources on our children and their education, and I look forward to parents and community members continuing to play a significant role in moving our work forward.”
This winter, CEO Byrd-Bennett launched a rigorous, three-month community engagement process to inform her consolidation recommendations. She received feedback from over 20,000 community members who attended nearly 30 public meetings, in addition to recommendations from the independent Commission on School Utilization, which helped create criteria that has removed a total of 276 schools from consideration for closure. Each school proposed for closure or co-location will have two community meetings that will take place from April 6 through April 15, and a public hearing for each proposed closure and co-location will be held from April 16 to May 2.
“It is our responsibility to ensure that every child has a quality education that allows them to succeed, regardless of where they live and CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett’s plan allows Chicago to focus on safely getting every child into a better performing school,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This decision was difficult and it was not taken lightly, but it is a necessary one that has been put off for more than a decade. Parents and community members have been part of the decision-making from the very beginning and Byrd-Bennett and her team will continue to listen and incorporate their feedback as we move forward.”
Each community meeting will be held for two or three hours on Saturday mornings and afternoons, as well as in the evenings during the week. A full schedule of community meetings is attached and available online at /qualityschools/.
Chicago Public Schools serves 403,000 students in 681 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.