Local News

Several CPS schools closings challenged

First came the hearings on CPS school closings across the city this Spring. Now, the reports just released by the independent hearing officers in which some officers say CPS erred in slating certain schools for closing next year.

Among them, Calhoun North on the West Side.  The report says Calhoun should stay open in part because of safety concerns of students walking to another school.

Parents like Cleo Pope are welcoming those findings.

“Based on test scores I think that this school has done well,” said Pope. “I would say the school board should it the reports in big consideration and the history of the school.”

In all, CPS acknowledges there are 10 school closings being questioned by the officers. Overton, Buckingham, Manierre, Mayo, Calhoun, Williams Elementary, Williams Middle, King, Jackson and Morgan.

But CPS disputes the findings of four others being reported by the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times: The closing of Delano and Near North schools and the delay of closing Stockton and Stewart schools until after the next academic year.

Most cite safety concerns calling CPS’s Safe Passage program in those areas “broad and vague,” going so far as to say “pertinent additional factors were not considered by the CEO.”

CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said in a statement, in part, she is “grateful for the work and dedication hearing officers have brought to this process.”

But the school board’s attorney went further saying the “hearing officer exceeded the scope of her authority…in at least one school’s report.”

Longtime critic of the closings 2nd Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti said the entire process of closings should be called into question.

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