CPS suggests school closure moratorium -- for fall 2013

November 26, 2012 3:48:13 PM PST
Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett suggested a five-year moratorium on school closures that would start next fall.

Byrd-Bennett said she wants to "right-size" the classrooms that have open spots before then; more than 100,000 open seats are reported across the district in underutilized CPS schools. To add students to those classrooms, other schools would be closed -- all before the moratorium could go into effect.

At issue- the closing of those schools has been a source of contention with the Chicago Teachers Union and parents. And, with a fall 2013 moratorium, some schools could close before then.

CPS has yet to disclose the number of schools it plans to close.

"Once we have a number, I will make a recommendation to the board. Stop the bleeding. Stop the trauma. And move forward," Byrd-Bennett said.

To move forward with the possible moratorium, Illinois lawmakers would have to extend the deadline for announcing school actions from December 1 to March 31.

"First they delay the deadline, then they want to have a moratorium. Those are admissions that this is a failed policy," said Chicago Teachers Union's Jesse Sharkey.

"I have to remain optimistic that we will get the extension," said Byrd-Bennett. "That's number one. Number two, as we declare a moratorium for five years, we mean it."


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