Reporting Bob Roberts
CHICAGO (CBS) — A Cook County judge Wednesday rejected an attempt by parents, backed by the teachers union, to reverse the closing of 10 of the 50 schools being shuttered by the Chicago Board of Education.
Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett issued a statement in which she said Judge Thomas Allen’s ruling affirms her belief that “every child in every neighborhood in Chicago deserves access to a high quality education that prepares them to succeed in life.”
She said that for too long, that has not been the case and that resources have been lacking.
Teachers Union President Karen Lewis issued a statement in which she called the ruling unfortunate and said it allows a “radical experiment” to continue on a “great number” of public school students.
“If the law isn’t clear, CPS will find that loophole and exploit it — to the detriment of the children and families it should be trying to protect,” she said.
The union and parents contend that the board broke the rules” by ignoring the recommendations of independent hearing officers who opposed the closings after taking testimony on each of the schools.
Judge Allen ruled that the hearing officers’ recommendations were not binding.
The schools named in connection with the suit included the Buckingham Special Education Center, Calhoun North, Delano Elementary, King Elementary, Mayo Elementary, Morgan Elementary, Overton Elementary, Stewart Elementary, Stockton Elementary, Williams Elementary and Williams Preparatory Academy Middle School.The suit is one of three filed by or with the assistance of the union in the days following the Board of Education’s May vote.
Two other suits are pending in U.S. District Court; Judge John Z. Lee is expected to rule in those suits next month.