Hit List pared down to 'only' 129 schools, says Barbara Byrd-Bennett... Latest 'Hit List' is almost exclusively composed of African American schools in poor communities
Chicago Public Schools officials, in carefully manipulate press briefings with selected TV reporters, released on February 13, 2013 what they called a pared down version of the 2013 list of schools to be considered for closing. The list is referred to by critics as the "2013 Hit List" of schools to be closed for alleged "underutilization." The announcement was made by a press release that was provided to Substance after some confusion on the part of CPS. The press release was later provided to the public on the CPS website (www.cps.edu).
In making her announcement, Byrd Bennett repeated the claim, widely challenged by CTU and independent and CTU researchers, that CPS is facing a "billion dollar deficit" and that the so-called "underutilization crisis" can save the system a large amount of money.
CPS officials made it clear that the new list is the last before Byrd-Bennett releases her final closing recommendations to be voted on by the Board of Education. By a change in state law that she requested, the CEO must release her final list of recommendations before March 31. She repeated on February 13 her statement that she does not know at this time how many schools will be on the final list.
A second round of community hearings began on the evening of February 13, a few hours after Byrd Bennett's announcements, in a church in the Austin community. The hearing was for the "Garfield Humboldt Network," which includes the Austin and Lawndale communities. The list released on February 13, shows that Austin has seven schools still on the list and North Lawndale, which is in the same network, has nine. The communities that stand to be hardest hit are the same neighborhoods that have experienced many previous closings and transformations, including charter openings (in public school buildings) and "turnarounds".
CPS has refused to hold a press conference on serious matters since Byrd Bennett became CEO in October 2012. The February 13, 2013 "presser" involved individual briefings for selected reporters, who were "invited" to the offices of the CEO at 125 S. Clark St. for appointments. Substance was not informed of the press events, but demanded to participate and, after some discussion, was provided with the information here by Barbara Byrd-Bennett and CPS communications officials.
THE OFFICIAL CPS PRESS RELEASE FOLLOWS HERE: Based On Community Feedback, CPS Releases Detailed Criteria to Help Guide Decisions on District’s Utilization Crisis Second Round of Phase II Community Meetings Begin Today, Parents and Community Members Urged to Attend
February 13, 2013
After reviewing feedback from community members collected by the independent Commission on School Utilization and recent Chicago Public Schools (CPS) community meetings, CPS Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Barbara Byrd-Bennett today released a detailed set of planning criteria to help address the District’s facilities and budget crisis.
The District faces a $1 billion deficit in the coming fiscal year, while nearly half of CPS’ schools are underutilized, stretching resources thin and limiting the District’s ability to provide every student with a well-rounded and high-quality education. This set of criteria will help guide the process of identifying underutilized schools that will be combined with high-performing schools in order to free up resources to improve education across the District.
“As a former teacher and principal, I know that our limited education resources are spread much too thin,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “By combining schools that lack sufficient numbers of students, we can redirect our limited resources to give all of our children the quality education they need and deserve to succeed.”
Of the 330 underutilized schools in CPS, 201 schools have been removed from consideration for closure after receiving community feedback collected by the Commission as well as by CPS over the last two weeks from more than 8,500 parents and community members who participated in one of 15 meetings held in each of its School Networks. While 129 schools remain under consideration, this is only a preliminary list and more schools are expected to be removed over the next several weeks as CPS continues to gather feedback from communities.
Additionally, the safety and security of students continues to be CEO Byrd-Bennett’s top priority. “I will not close any school where I don’t have confidence that children will have a safe and smooth transition at welcoming schools next fall,” she said. Byrd-Bennett promised to continue to engage parents, principals, faith and community leaders, the Chicago Police Department and her safety and security team before making any decisions on which underutilized schools may need to be closed.
Today’s release of this criteria comes in advance of a second round of community meetings that begin tonight to continue gathering feedback and guidance on how to most effectively address the District’s utilization crisis.
Currently, the District has space for over 511,000 students, but only 403,000 are enrolled. Nearly 140 schools are more than half empty. CEO Byrd-Bennett believes that CPS’s limited resources must be used wisely so the District can fully invest in all students and ensure that all schools can benefit from new technologies, playgrounds, libraries, music and art, counselors, nurses and air conditioning. She added that those investments are not possible if CPS continues to maintain half empty schools and crumbling buildings.
Last month, in response to the Commission on School Utilization’s interim report, CPS announced it would not consider high schools and high-performing Level 1 schools. Today, based on additional community feedback and additional commission recommendations from their interim report, CPS will remove from potential closure those schools meeting the following criteria
High performing, Level 1 schools
Schools in the process of adding grades that are expected to reach efficient utilization based on enrollment trends
Schools with greater than 600 students enrolled on 20th day of SY2012-13
Schools with a utilization rate of at least 70% in SY2012-13
Schools that have recently experienced a significant school action. This is defined as schools that have been a designated welcoming school in the last 3 years or were part of a co-location approved last year that went into effect this year
Schools that are “on the rise” - defined as meeting one or both of the following:
A. Level 2 schools that have gained enrollment over the last 3 years OR
B. Any schools that are “sustainable and improving performance”. These schools meet ALL of the following:
Greater than or equal to 300 students enrolled 20th day SY2012-13
Same or higher performance level for SY2011-12 as SY2010-11
ISAT composite meets / exceeds trend value that indicates increase in student proficiency
Students are performing at or above their peers in reading or math for each of the last 3 years
Schools that are isolated from nearby neighborhood elementary schools
Schools that are surrounded by schools that are at or near capacity and do not have space to welcome students
CEO Byrd-Bennett urged all members of the community to participate in this next round of community meetings to continue providing feedback needed before presenting final recommendations to the Board of Education later in March. To view the entire list and criteria, visit our website at www.cps.edu/qualityschools.
CTU RESPONSE Below here:
Today, February 13th, 2013, Barbara Byrd-Bennett released another revision of the mayor’s Hit List, targeting 129 schools for closure next year. This unprecedented attack targets only schools in Black and Latino neighborhoods — especially the ones in which resources are few. Over the years, charter schools have blanketed these same neighborhoods with marketing materials full of false promises to lure families. In an unsurprising move, every single politically-connected charter school once called “underutilized” has been cleared from the Hit List. All this amidst the growing scandal over UNO charter school patronage.
Not every CTU member’s school is on the Hit List — but the entire system of public schools in which every one of us works is targeted. In order to save it, we must insist that EVERY TARGETED SCHOOL MUST REMAIN OPEN.
CPS is currently holding “community hearings” underwritten by the Walton Family Foundation (Wal-Mart) to sell these school closings to the public. The public is not buying what the saboteurs and privatizers are selling. Thousands of parents, teachers and community members have attended these meetings to save our schools from closing. These parents aren't letting themselves be pitted against one another. They aren't begging for just their own schools to be spared, but are banding together to save ALL neighborhood public schools.
Teachers must join our parents, students and community members. Pledge to attend a community meeting.
CLOSING LIST RELEASED BY CPS ON FEBRUARY 13... THE LIST BELOW HAS BEEN REVISED BY CATALYST TO INCLUDE THE SO-CALLED 'COMMUNITY' OF EACH SCHOOL...
COOK, Auburn Gresham
GRESHAM, Auburn Gresham
JACKSON, M, Auburn Gresham
MORGAN, Auburn Gresham
RYDER, Auburn Gresham
GREEN, Auburn Gresham
ARMSTRONG, L, Austin
DE PRIEST, Austin
GRAHAM, Bridgeport - Chinatown
MCCLELLAN, Bridgeport - Chinatown
PERSHING MIDDLE, Bronzeville
WELLS, I, Bronzeville
WILIAMS MIDDLE, Bronzeville
WILLIAMS ES, Bronzeville
ASHE , Chatham
CLAREMONT, Chicago Lawn
DAVIS, M Englewood
LAWRENCE Far East Side
ALDRIDGE Far South Side
CARVER , G Far South Side
GOMPERS Far South Side
METCALFE Far South Side
OWENS Far South Side
PULLMAN Far South Side
SONGHAI Far South Side
WEST PULLMAN Far South Side
WHISTLER Far South Side
FERNWOOD Far South Side
GARVEY Far South Side
HUGHES, L Far South Side
KOHN Far South Side
SHOOP Far South Side
BEIDLER Garfield - West Humboldt
BETHUNE Garfield - West Humboldt
CALHOUN Garfield - West Humboldt
DELANO Garfield - West Humboldt
ERICSON Garfield - West Humboldt
GARFIELD PARK Garfield - West Humboldt
GOLDBLATT Garfield - West Humboldt
MARCONI Garfield - West Humboldt
MELODY Garfield - West Humboldt
PICCOLO Garfield - West Humboldt
RYERSON Garfield - West Humboldt
TILTON Garfield - West Humboldt
WARD, L Garfield - West Humboldt
WEBSTER Garfield - West Humboldt
DUPREY Humboldt Park
LAFAYETTE Humboldt Park
VON HUMBOLDT Humboldt Park
CANTER Hyde Park
KOZMINSKI Hyde Park
REAVIS Hyde Park
MANIERRE Lincoln Park
LOZANO, Near North
NEAR NORTH, Near North
PEABODY, Near North
BROWN, W, Near West
HERBERT Near West
KING Near West
MONTEFIORE Near West
SMYTH Near West
CHALMERS North Lawndale
CROWN North Lawndale
HENSON North Lawndale
HERZL North Lawndale
HUGHES, C North Lawndale
LAWNDALE North Lawndale
MASON North Lawndale
PENN North Lawndale
POPE North Lawndale
JUNGMAN Pilsen - Little Village
PADEREWSKI Pilsen - Little Village
PILSEN Pilsen - Little Village
BUCKINGHAM South Shore
MADISON South Shore
NEW SULLIVAN South Shore
O'KEEFFE South Shore
PARKSIDE South Shore
POWELL South Shore
REVERE South Shore
WARREN South Shore
DUMAS TECH ACAD, Woodlawn