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.READ MORE: Employee At FOUND Hotel In River North Accused Of Stabbing Man, Going Into Rage, Leaving Guests In Terror
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.”READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Weekend Warmup
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.MORE NEWS: Hundreds Of Cars Roll Through Downtown For Second Night To Celebrate Mexican Independence Day
A final list of recommended closings will be presented to the Board of Education in March.