CPS announces more hearings over closures, consolidations

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Chicago Public Schools announced Friday it will hold a second round of public meetings on the controversial subject of school closures and consolidations.

CPS will hold at least 28 meetings across the city beginning January 28th. At these hearings, parents will have the chance to speak their minds about the fate of schools. An independent facilitator will moderate these meetings. Exact dates, times and locations of these hearings will be announced in the coming days. Parents will be informed of these meetings through robo-calls, letters, email, CPS’ website, and at individual schools.

Once C.E.O. Barbara Byrd-Bennett has completed her review of the Commission on School Utilization’s recommendations, CPS will release a list of schools that could be shut-down as part of its efforts to so-called “right-size” the District.

A special CPS commission issued a preliminary report that recommends against consolidating high schools due to gang concerns. Byrd-Bennett wants to reassure parents she won’t put kids in harm’s way.

“I understand how they saw me, and how frightening this can be. We are trying however to get through this process as quickly, as honestly, and as openly as possible so that we can hear the concerns and the thoughts of every level of our community and we intend to be careful and thoughtful about the decisions. They will not be made haphazardly,” said Byrd-Bennett.

CPS is looking to possibly close and consolidate schools to fix a $1 billion deficit.

Chicago Teachers’ Union president Karen Lewis expressed skepticism the budget is in that bad of shape.

This story was published by WGN News Writer C. Hayes.