CHICAGO -- In a year where access to them can open up a whole new world, the library door for all students at one Chicago Public School is closed for business.
Low enrollment, as defined by CPS, forced the school to cut staff including its librarian at Pritzker Elementary in Wicker Park.
This fall, parents wanted to man the checkout process just so 700 plus students could use the library and its books.
But the Chicago Teacher's Union wouldn't hear of it. They filed a grievance suggesting parent volunteers could eventually eliminate the library position permanently. They go on to say sadly, repeated budget cuts by the board of education present the "new normal" and "unless further funding for CPS is secured, having already cut all non-essential staff and programs, schools like Pritzker will now have to start identifying which essential services they can eliminate or reduce in the future."
The average base amount per child at Pritzker is roughly $4000 in 4th-8th grades and $4300 for PreK-3rd. It is still not enough to keep Pritzker within its budget. So when enrollment came up short this fall by roughly 50 students, something had to go. In this case the Pritzker administration along with the local school council at Pritzker decided that something was a someone: The school librarian.
When asked for comment CPS said in a statement:
As CPS works to stabilize and improve its finances , schools are faced with hard choices