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Legislators calling for moratorium on Chicago closings and turnarounds after CPS thumbs nose at the law

Illinois State Representative Cynthia Soto introduced a bill in Springfield to put a halt to the Chicago Board of Educations plans to close public schools and turn them over to private operators to be turned-around.

Soto's latest legislation is an answer to part of the annual “hit list” announcement of the Chicago Board of Education and the proposal before the Board to again expand the city's failing charter schools. This school year, the Board has announced that it is planning to close down and/or “turn around” 20 neighborhood public schools. Ten of those schools will be subjected to so-called "turnaround" if the announced plans of the mayor and the Board go through.

Illinois House Bill 4487 is the reaction to wide spread iregularities, coercion, rent-a-protestors and manipulation of data to hand public school buildings and students over to private coontractors some of whom have contributed to Mayor Emanuel's political campaign.

The full text of the bill is below.

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=4487&GAID=11&DocTypeID=HB&LegId=64142&SessionID=84&GA=97

97TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY

State of Illinois

2011 and 2012

HB4487

Introduced 1/31/2012 , by Rep. Cynthia Soto - Robert W. Pritchard - Derrick Smith - Maria Antonia Berrios - Mary E. Flowers

105 ILCS 5/34-18.43a new

Amends the Chicago School District Article of the School Code. Provides that there shall be a moratorium on school closings, consolidations, and phase-outs in the school district in the 2012-2013 school year. Provides that any of these actions that are subsequently appropriate must be carried out no sooner than the end of the 2013-2014 school year, subject to any new set of requirements adopted by the General Assembly. During this moratorium period, requires the district to establish polices that address and remedy the academic performance of schools in which Illinois Standards Achievement Test scores reflect students performing at or below 75%. Requires these policies to establish clear criteria or processes for establishing criteria for making school facility decisions and include clear criteria for setting priorities with respect to school openings, school closings, school consolidations, school turnarounds, school phase-outs, school construction, school repairs, school modernizations, school boundary changes, and other related school facility decisions, including the encouragement of multiple community uses for school space. Effective immediately.

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AN ACT concerning education.

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Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,

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represented in the General Assembly:

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Section 5. The School Code is amended by adding Section

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34-18.43a as follows:

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(105 ILCS 5/34-18.43a new)

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Sec. 34-18.43a. Moratorium on school closings,

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consolidations, and phase-outs.

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(a) The General Assembly recognizes all of the following:

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(1) The Illinois Constitution indicates that a

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"fundamental goal of the People of the State is the

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educational development of all persons to the limits of

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their capacities".

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(2) Quality educational facilities are essential for

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fostering the maximum educational development of all

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persons through their educational experience from

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prekindergarten through high school.

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(3) The public school is a major institution in

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communities that offers resources and opportunities for

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many stakeholders, including not only families with

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children who seek and deserve a quality education, but also

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the entire community that seeks educational improvement.

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(4) The equitable and efficient use of available

HB4487 - 2 - LRB097 17600 NHT 62807 b

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facilities-related resources among different schools,

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among racial, ethnic, income, and disability groups, and

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among various types of schools is essential to maximize the

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development of quality educational facilities for all

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children, youth, and adults.

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(5) The closing or opening of schools, as well as

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school repairs, school additions, school phase-outs,

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school consolidations, and school boundary changes, often

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have profound impacts on education in a community. These

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decisions should be carried out only according to clear

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system-wide criteria and with the genuine involvement of

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local school councils, parents, educators, and the

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community in decision making.

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(6) The General Assembly has previously stated that it

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intended to make the individual school in the school

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district the essential unit for educational governance and

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improvement and to place the primary responsibility for

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school governance and improvement in the hands of parents,

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teachers, and community residents at each school. A

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facility policy must be consistent with these principles.

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(7) The school district has failed to address the needs

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of schools placed on academic probation and failed to

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adhere to the requirements of this Code and established

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policies regarding the closure, consolidation, and

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phase-out of its schools.

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(b) Because of the finality of school closings,

HB4487 - 3 - LRB097 17600 NHT 62807 b

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consolidations, and phase-outs and their wide-reaching

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effects, there shall be a moratorium on these actions in the

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school district in the 2012-2013 school year, and any of these

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actions that are subsequently appropriate must be carried out

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no sooner than the end of the 2013-2014 school year, subject to

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any new set of requirements adopted by the General Assembly.

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During this moratorium period, the district shall establish

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polices that address and remedy the academic performance of

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schools in which Illinois Standards Achievement Test scores

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reflect students performing at or below 75%. These policies

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must establish clear criteria or processes for establishing

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criteria for making school facility decisions and include clear

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criteria for setting priorities with respect to school

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openings, school closings, school consolidations, school

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turnarounds, school phase-outs, school construction, school

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repairs, school modernizations, school boundary changes, and

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other related school facility decisions, including the

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encouragement of multiple community uses for school space.

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Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon

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becoming law.



Comments:

February 6, 2012 at 8:09 PM

By: Maria Guerrero

HB4487

I'm a little concerned about the wording of HB4487 , and that turnarounds might not be included in the moratorium because they are not mentioned in that opening sentence. They are mentioned in the text, in regards to future actions.

Do you think turnarounds are included in the moratorium call ?

February 6, 2012 at 10:23 PM

By: john kugler

Turnarounds are facilities actions... Please see Golar video

Rep golar made it clear in her testimony during Tilden turnaround hearing that task force and legislation would work to stop all school actions, considering turnarounds to be facilities actions. Please watch the video in the Golas story from last weekend.

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