Mayor Tight-Lipped About New Englewood High School, Possible Closings

CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel was trying to steer clear of any public discussion about the possibility of closing several high schools in the Englewood area, amid plans for a new $75 million high school in the neighborhood.

The mayor has discussed plans to build the school, but CPS has not revealed details of the project, including a specific location. Opening the new facility would likely mean consolidating some existing under-enrolled high schools in Englewood.

Asked about that Wednesday, Emanuel was fairly tight-lipped.

“First of all, we went through a consolidation. As you know, we put in place a moratorium. Second is, if you’re trying to talk specifically about the discussion’s we’re having, we’re involved in the community process right now in Englewood, and I’m not going to prejudge that discussion,” he said.

In 2013, CPS placed a five-year moratorium on school closings, after the Emanuel administration closed nearly 50 public schools it said had insufficient enrollment.

Still, at an event at Malcolm X College to announce a new graduation requirement for students, CPS chief education officer Janice Jackson said there are 15 current high schools with fewer than 200 students each, and seven of them are in or near Englewood. So it’s likely there is something for the community to talk about.

It’s also likely Englewood residents will remember the political firestorm that occurred when Emanuel closed 49 schools in his first term, prompting the existing moratorium.

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