Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration may have given more consideration to school closings than it has publicly acknowledged, according to an internal Chicago Public Schools document obtained by the The Chicago Tribune.
The document, dated Sept. 10, weighs in on how many elementary and high schools to close and how to handle public reaction to the closings, The Tribune reported. It analyzes the costs and benefits of specific scenarios—one section, for example, breaks down the closing or consolidation of 95 schools, although none are listed by name.
The Tribune article states that the schools in question were primarily in minority communities on the city's South and West sides. However one graphic suggests closing three in the North Side's Lake View network.
That includes Bell, Chappell, Coonley, McPherson, Ravenswood, Waters, Agassiz, G. Armstrong, Audubon, Blaine, Boone, Brennemann, Budlong, Burley, Clinton, Courtenay, Decatur, Disney, Field, Gale, Goudy, Greeley, Hamilton, Hawthorne, Hayt, Inter-American, Jahn, Jamieson, Jordan, Kilmer, McCutcheon, Nettelhorst, New Field, Peirce, Rogers, Stewart, Stockton, Stone, Swift, Trumbull and West Ridge elementary schools.
A CPS spokeswoman told the Tribune, "this plan was proposed by past leadership at CPS and is not supported by CEO [Barbara] Byrd-Bennett."
CPS recently appointed an independent Commission on School Utilization to hold public hearings in order to gather information and public feedback about under-utilized schools and advise the school board on its consolidation efforts.
Both the commission and the district have repeatedly stated that there is currently no list of schools to be closed and that no decisions will be made until the commission has completed its community engagement process and given the district its recommendations.
North Side residents gathered at Horner Park earlier this month for one of the commission's public hearings. Parents, educators and students themselves spoke up at the hearing, voicing opposition to the city's plans to expand charter schools and urging the commission not to close their neighborhood public schools.
The commission completed its initial round of public hearings on Dec. 17. According to the commission's website, it will give its final recommendations to CPS in early March, and the district will produce a list of potential schools to be closed no later than March 31. Members of the public who were unable to make it to the hearings can still submit feedback online.
Ward 47 Ald. Ameya Pawar was one of 32 aldermen to sign a resolution calling for hearings on CPS school closing plans. The aldermen asked for a detailed list of schools to be closed along with the researched used to determine the schools chosen for consolidation.
For a more detailed examination of the CPS document, read the full Tribune story.