Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home

Chicago Public School closings cost taxpayers, hurt students: legislative task force

Ohanian Comment: The tremendous cost--in dollars--of closing all those Chicago schools comes as no surprise to readers of Substance, where George Schmidt and crew have cited detailed chapter and verse of the massive school closings. Substance also zeroed in on the human cost, something ignored by mainstream media.

Note who gets quoted in this Sun-Times piece. And who doesn't.

Also note that in addition to closing schools, Chicago administrators axed librarians. Thirty-one of the 50 schools that received children from closed schools do not have a professionally staffed school library. Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett claims this is because of a lack of qualified people to fill librarian jobs. "It's not that we don't want to have librarians in libraries ... but the pool is diminished," Byrd-Bennett claimed. This sounds like an iteration of the theme of lack of qualified teachers.

by Becky Schlikerman

A scathing report released Tuesday questions how Chicago Public Schools handled the massive school closings last year.

The report, released by the Illinois General Assembly's Chicago Educational Facilities Task Force, claims, among its findings, that the closings cost taxpayers over $263 million; that CPS did not plan the closings appropriately, negatively impacting families and students; and that the district has not analyzed or further planned its actions.

The report also questions why CPS closed dozens of schools, claiming they were underutilized, while approving 33 new charter schools with more than 20,000 slots in recent years.

"It will always make you wonder, where did that money come from to do that project when we were just told the narrative that we have all the detrimental budget issues," said Cecile Carroll-Demello, a member of the task force.

But CPS spokesman Joel Hood called the report "highly inaccurate." He pointed to a letter that the district's representative on the task force wrote to the group.

Michael Rendina, CPS' former chief of public policy who now works at City Hall, wrote that the report uses some data that̢۪s out of context and was written without his input. "As a member of the Task Force and each of its subcommittees, CPS is gravely concerned that such an important document would be created and presented for a vote without first consulting and receiving input from all Task Force members, especially the member that is the most knowledgeable about the subject."

— Becky Schlikerman
Chicago Sun-Times





This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.