Illinois lawmakers give Chicago more time to decide school closings

Nov. 30, 2012
Deadline for deciding 2013 school closings moves to March 31 instead of Dec. 1

From DNAinfo.com Chicago: Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed a bill giving Chicago Public Schools an extra four months to decide on school closures in the city. The list of school closures for the 2013-2014 school year was supposed to be released by Dec. 1, but new district CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett pushed for an extension.

From The Chicago Sun-Times: Illinois lawmakers have approved legislation that gives Chicago Public Schools more time to decide on a school-closing list for 2013. The nation’s third-largest school system had faced a Dec. 1 deadline to determine which schools would close in 2013, but legislators agreed to extend the deadline to March 31. The district has many underutilized schools, and some have speculated that as many as 100 campuses could be closed. District officials have promised that after the 2013 closings are carried out, they would not close any more schools for five years.

Statement from Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett after the legislature's vote: “It is essential that we have the necessary time to work with the community to identify the steps we need to take in the coming months to right-size our district and better invest our limited resources, which are currently being spread too thin. More time means we can work in true partnership with our school communities and listen to their concerns and ideas. Difficult decisions will still need to be made, but we will be able to make them with the community, not dictate them to the community.”

Earlier...from The Chicago Sun-Times: After the Chicago school system decides which schools to close or consolidate in 2013, Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett wants to put a moratorium on closings for five years. Byrd-Bennett's plan would require state lawmakers to push back the deadline for announcing the 2013 closings. The deadline now is Dec. 1; Byrd-Bennett would like it moved to March 31.

MORE...News release on proposed moratorium from Chicago Public Schools.

ALSO: The Chicago Teachers Union opposes the school system's plan to move forward with closings in 2013. "The union believes a moratorium must begin this year and no school should face destruction while the Chicago Public Schools admits to a flawed and unclear process," the union says in a news release.

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