House ed committee likely to pass school closings moratorium

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A barrage of phone calls is putting pressure on legislators to support a moratorium on school closings in Chicago.

Members of the Illinois House of Representatives Elementary & Secondary Education Committee have gotten dozens of calls from members of the Chicago Teachers Union and grassroots groups like PURE and Designs for Change.

The committee will consider House Bill 363 tomorrow morning. The bill, which is sponsored by State Rep. Cynthia Soto and 19 other representatives, calls for a one-year moratorium on CPS school closings, turnarounds and consolidations.

A barrage of phone calls is putting pressure on legislators to support a moratorium on school closings in Chicago.

Members of the Illinois House of Representatives Elementary & Secondary Education Committee have gotten dozens of calls from members of the Chicago Teachers Union and grassroots groups like PURE and Designs for Change.

The committee will consider House Bill 363 tomorrow morning. The bill, which is sponsored by State Rep. Cynthia Soto and 19 other representatives, calls for a one-year moratorium on CPS school closings, turnarounds and consolidations.

Legislators in Chicago aren’t the only ones getting the calls. State Rep. Darlene Senger (R-Naperville) received about two dozen this morning.

CPS is proposing 22 school closings this year, including Peabody Elementary in Soto’s community.

The bill stands a good chance of passing the committee vote tomorrow, according to Catalyst sources. In fact, seven of the bill’s 20 sponsors are on the House education committee, including the chair, Rep. Michael Smith (D—Fulton County).

HB363 would also set up a school facilities subcommittee comprised of members of the House and Senate education committees, and calls for wide community involvement in school closing decisions once the moratorium ends.

In some cases, the callers also requested support for HB401, which would require charters to hire state-certified teachers; and HB209, which involves charter accountability.

All three bills will be voted on tomorrow morning in Springfield.