While schools haven't often been the subject of choice as late, I wanted to share this editorial that argues why some CPS schools must close. Perhaps some of you out there may have your thoughts on this subject.
By Dec. 1, Chicago Public Schools officials must deliver to state lawmakers a list of schools slated to close at the end of this school year. The district will release its criteria for making those decisions this week.Read the whole thing before you comment.
As many as 120 Chicago schools are likely to be on the chopping block because the district faces a $1 billion budget gap next year. And the following year.
This is a critical moment for CPS and its new CEO, Barbara Byrd-Bennett. Make no mistake: This will be painful. But scores of schools must be closed.
There are more than 100,000 empty seats in schools because CPS badly mismanaged its real estate portfolio over the past decade. Overall district enrollment has declined by 34,000 students since 2003. CPS built new schools to relieve overcrowding in some communities but failed to close enough of the older, emptier ones, often caving to community pressure.
Reality check: Keeping half-used buildings open is a huge financial drain the system can't afford.
CPS says it can save about $800,000 a year in operating costs by closing a school and reassigning kids to schools that have extra space. It also avoids the cost of capital improvements, and could generate some revenue through property sales.
Those closings alone won't eliminate this huge budget gap. But CPS simply can't operate more schools — heat more buildings, patch more roofs — than its students need.
Hat-tip District 299 blog!