'How many 'underutilized desks' are needed to park a wheel chair?... Tribune publication of CPS Hit List reveals illegalities and frauds in current push to close more schools

Despite the fact that Chicago Public Schools top officials, on orders of CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett, went on strike against the law by failing to hold hearings on the proposed school closings for the 2012 - 2012 school year, the Illinois Senate (unanimously) and the Illinois House (by a large majority) voted on November 28, 2012, to give CPS officials an additional four months to propose school closings. The legislators also gave the school system an additional six months to provide the public with the draft of a ten-year facilities plan to end the chaos and confusion in CPS's management of its vast properties, most of which are public school buildings.

The entrance to Christopher school, at 51st and Artesian on Chicago's South Side, has been a ramp became the children who attend the school are usually in wheel chairs. Substance photo from 2007 by George N. Schmidt.But the publication of the only list so far made available to the public — a list which CPS officials claim is not official — shows that the current claims that CPS has "surplus seats" ignores almost all the realities of the city's schools and communities — and especially the realities facing the school system's most vulnerable children, children with severe handicaps.

On November 27, 2012, the Chicago Tribune published a list of 127 public schools, most of them real public schools (not charters) which, the Tribune told its readers, were severely underutilized. Despite the fact that Chicago Teachers Union officials have said that the list was not provided by them, the Tribune cited, as the "Source" for the list, "Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Teachers Union."

But the list itself reveals how inhuman the supposed criteria for the "underutilization" claim are, and the inhumanity can be seen within the first two dozen "elementary" schools listed. Anyone familiar with Chicago's public schools reading the elementary list from "Aldridge" through "Cook" would see that three of those first 24 schools serve some of the city's handicapped children — two of them serving the most handicapped (those in wheelchairs and special transportation apparatuses).

Every morning, bus aides 'unload' the children in wheelchairs from buses arriving at Christopher Elementary School at 51st and Artesian on Chicago's South Side, as this winter photograph taken five years ago shows. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Yet the discussion to date has been about "empty seats" without any consideration about anyone with special needs. The question then is how CPS accounts for the space taken up by wheelchairs and carrying apparatuses utilized by and for children with severe disabilities. And CPS nowhere even notes that this is a problem, let alone that the Hit List provides a solution.


November 29, 2012 at 7:26 PM

By: Anthony Smith

School Closing List

Could we please see a copy of the Tribune's school closing list George. I am just reading about this here and now. And I stopped my subscription tot the trib a long while back since they are so anti-union.

Thanks and best wishes,


November 30, 2012 at 10:20 AM

By: Paulette Lane

School CPS Utilization Index

Chicago Tribune link for November 26, 2012

(click the text highlighted in red for the Utilization Index that is to the left, below BBB's photo.)


Go directly the link below:$_IPN58_FueCdsXA7dKx$PADVuFJXoRf$ernVUsUz4Aw$6wU9GSUcqtd9hs3TFeZCn0vq69IZViKeqDZhqNLziaXiKG0K_ms4C2keQo54&CONTENTTYPE=application/pdf&CONTENTDISPOSITION=CPS%20Utilization.pdf

November 30, 2012 at 10:23 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Trib closing list up December 1 at Substance

We always try to answer such questions, but for this one, since it's not available, at least to us, in digital form, we are working on getting it typed and will post it as part of our December 2012 Home Page tomorrow morning. As our regular readers know, Substance on line is like a "book" with each chapter comprised of one month (now going back ten years, if you can locate our "old" side at; six years if you are going through "Back Issues" here at So when our December 2012 chapter begins, one of the December 1, 2012 stories will be the Tribune's ridiculous "underutilized schools" list -- along with an expanded commentary on the Tribune's retreat from serious eduction reporting with integrity.

December 5, 2012 at 8:58 AM

By: Paulette Lane

Updated School Utilization Information

CPS has the pdated school utilization link at

The text link in orange lettering will take you to a Microseft Excel spreadsheet.

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