Parents voice concerns over proposed CPS closings

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Across the city Saturday, a scant number of concerned parents and community members scattered across 10 meetings, for CPS officials to hear their concerns over proposed school closings.

At Austin High School, just a handful chose to come, even fewer chose to speak.

Catherine Jones, an Austin neighborhood resident said she feels “very bad for the parents, I wish they would speak up. I’m still here, I have no grandchildren, I’m just a community resident and my heart is hurting for all the children.”

At nearby May Academy, Dwayne Truss is asked “why should we go to the CPS community meetings in which the mayor says it doesn’t make any difference.”

Several parents and students gathered in protest against the public meetings saying the plan to consolidate schools is already a done deal.  Their objections… would not be taken into account.

“We’re going to be here and continue to discuss the facts and continue to push against this blatant racist proposal. Yes I said racist because you have these white males in an ivory tower making these decisions,” Truss said.

That’s a charge CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett took personally Wednesday saying “that is an affront to me as a woman of color and it is an affront to every parent in our community who demands a better education for their children.”

The plan would close 53 schools across the city.  CPS says it would save $43 million a year in operating costs and $560 million in capital costs over the next decade.

Parents at Saturday’s counter-meeting say it’s not Byrd-Bennett behind the cuts– it’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Truss says “Barbara Byrd-Bennett does not run anything.  She’s just a figure head who’s carrying this out and obviously, my wife said, she’s very good at closing schools and that’s about the only achievement we can see on her record.”

In a statement today, CPS thanked the nearly 400 people who spoke Saturday and said:

“Too many children in CPS today are trapped in underutilized, under-resourced schools and aren’t getting the quality education they deserve”

“The board is not always honest. The mayor is not always honest”

Regardless, parents say the mayor is walking a fine line in this latest move.

Austin resident Cata Truss said “if this happens I don’t care if bozo the clown against Rahm Emanuel– I will be out with every fiber in me campaigning against him.”

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  • 318mopar

    People, you have to think before you vote, don't just vote the party line or vote the candidate because the media tells you too or the union tells you who to vote for, think, use your own mind. Vote smarter next time.

    • Enrique

      The unions empty out the halfway houses and welfare lines by offering $20 a head. There are plenty of potential votes in the urban areas.

  • Fed up

    Once again, it's the most CPS parents have done for their children all year. Guess it's easier to match and protest a few days a year and blame somebody else, then to keep on their kids every day and make they're going to school and doing their homework.

  • jimmy

    Why hasn't anybody mentioned where all the money from the Ilinois lotteries is going? There are more games and greater revenues generated from these games then ever before. This money is supposed to fund schools. Does anybody know how much money was raked in last year from the lottery? Are we sitting on another huge Ilinois scandal?

    • kirby1414

      Jimmy – This is a great question – and I have contacted nearly all of the TV stations – including WGN and CLTV , asking that very question. I either don't get an answer, or they say they cannot do that story.
      Sounds VERY fishy to me – and I'll bet to you too, huh? And I think you're right about the scandal…I sure do wish we could find out where the $$$ is and how much!

    • kirby1414

      Jimmy – – You got me to thinking – I just e-mailed Pam Zekman at CBS – -told her what we were thinking – about the Lottery $$ – – asked her if it was worth a story/investigation.
      We'll see what happens – it's worth a try~

    • jeffk1980

      That story's been done. Just because you didn't happen to see it doesn't mean it didn't happen. Besides, do a search for yourself. Wait, I'll do it for you conspiracy theorists.
      The lottery generates only 7% of the state's share of funding, which comes in at just 33% of the total cost of public education in the state.
      The only scandal that we have is that more people can't critically think.

  • jimmy

    Does it sound fishy? Your saying major Chicago stations DON'T want to do a story or reply to something that concerns our childrens education? Lets do this. At every meeting with CPS officials, whoever has a microphone in thier face just keep asking the same question, "where is the lottery money". Repeat it all the time and every time until we get some answers on this.