Friday, October 5, 2012

Aldermen push for details on feared school closings - Chicago Sun-Times

In this article Ald. Sawyer is quoted about school closings:
Thirty-two aldermen from across the city are demanding that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s handpicked school team come clean about what they fear is a secret plan to close more than 100 under-utilized Chicago Public Schools to pay for the newly-ratified teachers’ contract.

“CPS administration and, to a certain extent, the mayor’s office are playing hide the ball. That’s not acceptable,” Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) said.

“We are the people who get blamed. If I’m gonna take the heat, I want to know what’s going on. Not letting us know what’s going on shows a blatant disrespect for us as elected officials.”
What's the deal?
Emanuel’s repeated refusal to spell out how he plans to bankroll the four-year, $295 million teachers contract has fueled speculation that schools closings that have slowed to a trickle in recent years would turn into a flood.

School closings could trigger thousands of teacher layoffs and drive up class size. The issue was front-and-center during contract talks, prompting the Chicago Teachers Union to demand a recall policy that gives laid-off teachers a second chance.

On Wednesday, CTU President Karen Lewis predicted that one of the next big battles for the union would be over school closings.

“I’ve still got my boxing gloves on,” she said.

By Dec. 1, CPS officials must release the list of schools targeted for academic or enrollment closures or shakeups. To save money, CPS officials have said they need to eliminate under-used schools, and have estimated that, after initial costs, a shuttered building could generate $500,000 to $800,000 a year in savings.
More trouble brewing?

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