Story Summary

CPS officials close dozens of schools, lay off thousands

The board of education voted to shut down dozens of Chicago Public Schools. It’s the largest closure in U.S. history.

The board  voted to close 49 elementary schools and one high school program.

CPS also laid off more than 2,000 employees.

The district is facing a $1 billion budget deficit this year.


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This story has 10 updates

A scuffle erupted at a Chicago school board meeting where a vote will be taken on whether or not to close roughtly 50 schools.

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis speaks before the the Chicago Board of Education takes a final vote Wednesday on whether to close dozens of the city’s schools. (WGN-TV)

A new report says four Chicago Public Schools are being pulled off the proposed closings list.

The Sun-Times says schools Chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett will withdraw her recommendations to shut down the following elementary schools:

  • Marcus Garvey and Mahalia Jackson on the South Side
  • Leif Ericson on the West Side
  • George Manierre on the Near North Aide

Byrd-Bennett is also expected to postpone the closing of Miriam G. Canter until next year, and let Clara Barton Elementary School improve itself instead of turning it around.

The news comes as the Board of Education prepares to vote on the closures Wednesday. Critics are fighting the proposal until the end.

The school board will now vote Wednesday whether to close 50 schools.

At about 9 a.m. Wednesday morning, people protesting the closures gathered in front of Board of Education headquarters

Latest updates from Nancy Loo:

A local educational research group took a closer look at the original CPS proposal and issued a highly critical report.

The group called “Create” is now questioning the effectiveness and motivation of the proposed closings, turnarounds and other changes.

The group is made up of 100 local researchers, advocates and CPS parents.

They say the numbers just don’t add up when it comes to the savings, educational benefits and impact on certain neighborhoods.

The CPS plan to close 54 elementary schools has been called “necessary” by CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett and “racist” by Teachers Union president, Karen Lewis.

“We see a disproportionate effect on African-American kids,” says CPS parent and researcher Josh Radinsky.

Using CPS numbers, Create says of the 16,000 students facing closure of their schools 87% are African-American, 9% are Latino and less than 1% are white.

CPS recommendations calling for 54 schools to close, 11 to combine and six schools to be put in turnaround would impact about 30,000 students.

The research group says that number is higher and 45,000 students would be making some type of transition under the CPS proposal.

The research group says the plan would also hurt special needs students.

Underutilization and a $1 billion budget shortfall are the reasons given for the drastic plan.

The research group analyzed the original CPS plan without the likely changes we are hearing about Wednesday.

Radinsky says his group met with CPS and urged them to postpone any school changes for at least a year.

WGN contacted CPS for a reaction to the report and have not received a response.

On the eve of the vote of CPS closures, Old Town’s Manierre Elementary, on the closing list from the start, may get a new life.  The Sun-Times reports the school will be taken off the closure list by CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett Wednesday.

The Chicago school board votes tomorrow on the critical issue of closing certain public schools.

Today, demonstrators opposing the closures held two rallies in the city.

In East Humboldt Park, Alderman Joe Moreno joined a number of teachers and parents from Von Humboldt, Duprey and Lafayette schools.  All three schools are targeted by CPS for closure.
Moreno says the school and community groups have worked on a plan to combine two of these campuses into one.  It’s a plan they say fits into CPS’s vision to improve neighborhood schools.  But they have yet to get an answer from CPS.
The school board is expected to vote on each schools fate individually at its meeting tomorrow.  CTU president Karen Lewis is expected to speak at the meeting.

schoolsSources tell the Tribune that fewer than five of the 54 CPS schools slated to be closed in the Fall will be spared and kept open.    The Board of Education is scheduled hold a final vote Wednesday on the proposed closings.   Despite weeks of public hearings, rallies, protests and marches, the board is expected to sign off on almost all of the closures.

The Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis vows not to give up and promises to keep up the fight.

Monday, 23 people were arrested during a protest at City Hall.   They went to City Hall to deliver thousands of signed petitions supporting a moratorium on the closures to Mayor Emanuel.   Several protestors sat in front of  the elevators and refused to leave. The were arrested and removed from City Hall.   CTU says the protesters were given citations and released.

Monday’s rally wrapped up a three-day long march on Chicago’s South and West sides.

More than 20 people protesting school closings across the city were arrested today at city hall.

The demonstrators were arrested after sitting and blocking elevators on the main floor.

They were protesting the city’s plan to close 53 elementary schools.

The teachers’ union organized today’s protest and their officials report many of the people cuffed and taken away were teachers, parents and community activists.

A three-day march aimed at saving dozens of Chicago public schools wraps up with a rally in Daley Plaza Monday afternoon.

Teachers, students and parents have been walking across the city since Saturday to call attention to the proposed closings of 54 chicago schools.

Opponents say the cuts will endanger children who have to walk through dangerous neighborhoods to get to their new schools.

CPS says the closings are needed to cut a projected $1 billion budget deficit.

The board votes Wednesday on the school cuts.

CTU President Karen Lewis joins WGN Morning News to touch on protests and school closures

Teachers, students and parents will gather outside City Hall Monday –wrapping their three-day protest of school closures.

The demonstration organized by the Chicago Teachers Union is a stand against plans to close more than 50 Chicago Public Schools.

Over the weekend, marchers visited areas that will be impacted by the closings.

Parents are concerned their children will have to walk longer distances or go through dangerous areas to get to their new schools.

The school board votes on the closure plan on Wednesday.

CTU President Karen Lewis joined WGN Morning News Monday morning to touch on the protests and school closures.