Reporting Craig Dellimore
CHICAGO (CBS) – Cook County Board Preident Toni Preckwinkle said Thursday she is troubled that the Chicago Public Schools reportedly plan to close about 50 schools this year.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports CPS has yet to make official its final list of schools it plans to close or consolidate at the end of the school year.
CPS officials have begun informing schools that are targeted for closure, and sources said the district will announce a full list of about 50 schools, as early as Thursday afternoon.
Preckwinkle, a former teacher, said schools are anchors for their communities, much in the same way as faith-based institutions, and help provide an identity and resources for the neighborhood.
“When a community loses a school, it can often be a devastating event, and it’s very disturbing to me that the news seems to be that a significant number of our elementary schools will be closing,” she said.
She acknowledged the district’s argument that students will be moving from schools with poor performance to better institutions, but she said she believes it’s better to fix schools where the children live.
“I don’t know the finances of the Board of Education, but I think it’s very tough to argue that kids will be better educated outside their community; especially since – for some of them – they’ve had a succession of closings,”
CPS has said it must close schools with low enrollment levels to help close a projected $1 billion budget deficit. It has until March 31 to issue a final list of schools it plans to close or consolidate at the end of the school year. That list would be subject to approval by the Chicago Board of Education, with a final vote likely in late May.