CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett has agreed to take the city’s high schools and highest-performing schools out of consideration for closure, as recommended by a school closing panel she formed, but she won’t rule out closing schools with more than 600 students.
Following a series of public meetings, the school closing commission issued a preliminary report last week recommending CPS not close any of its high schools, or any of the schools rated “Level 1” for high performance. Byrd-Bennett agreed with that recommendation in her formal response on Friday.
She reserved the right, however, to close one or two high schools or high-performing schools if the buildings are in such bad physical condition that they pose a danger to students and staff.
“The safety and security of our students must be a top priority in this process, in addition to ensuring that we keep our high-performing schools available as an option for every family in our District,” she said in a statement. “By taking high schools and Level 1 schools off the table, we best maintain our ability to meet these priorities.”
The panel also recommend keeping open any school with more than 600 students, but Byrd-Bennett announced Friday she would consider those schools on a case-by-case basis.
Byrd-Bennett plans to conduct more public meetings on potential school closings to hear from parents and members of the community, starting Jan. 28.
She also planned to provide a preliminary list of schools to recommend for closure by Feb. 13.
A final list of recommended closings will be presented to the Board of Education in March.