School closing list pared down

February 13, 2013

Now, 129 elementary schools are on the possible closure list.

Late Wednesday afternoon, CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett announced that she has officially shaved the list by agreeing to some of the recommendations of the Commission on School Utilization and taking heed of the feedback at community meetings. 

She used nine criteria to remove schools, including ones that are high-achieving, have more than 600 students and are more than a mile from another school that can accept them.

Eight of the 129 schools have been turnarounds in previous years, a process in which the principal and most of the staff are replaced and the school receives a significant financial investment. Six of them are run by the Academy for Urban School Leadership, a not-for-profit that has done much of the turnaround work.

The communities that stand to be hardest hit are the same predominantly-black neighborhoods that have experienced the bulk of prior closings. Englewood has 19 schools still on the list, Grand Boulevard has 15 and the Far South Side and West Humboldt Park each have 14.

Initially, CPS officials said that all underutilized schools were in danger of being closed and they identified 330 as underutilized.

“This will alleviate the tension the tension for 200 schools,” Byrd-Bennett said.

The new list is the last before Byrd-Bennett publishes her final closing recommendations to be voted on by the Board of Education. By state law, she must do this before March 31. Byrd-Bennett insisted again on Wednesday that she does not know how many schools will be on the final proposed list.

A second round of community hearings is starting Wednesday night in a church in Austin. Austin has seven schools still on the list and North Lawndale, which is in the same network, has nine. 

 Byrd-Bennett said she now will be looking for the parents, school staff and community members to explain to her why the remaining schools are in the predicament they are in—underutilized and low-achieving. She would like to hear about issues of school leadership, teacher turnover and professional development.

“I want to know, how do they expect to address these issues?” Byrd-Bennett said. “I do not want to be interpreted as saying they are at fault. I just want them to explain their current situation.”  

Byrd-Bennett said she also wants information on the dangers that children from a school could be subjected to, should it close. She said she will not close a school if she believes there are safety issues.

However, she disagreed with the not on that the criteria for determining the final list will be subjective. Byrd-Bennett said she is using “stacks of data” to make her final decision. 

HOW SCHOOLS WERE REMOVED

Most of the reasons used to whittle down the list, Byrd-Bennett had already agreed to, such as not closing high schools or high-achieving elementary schools. But she reiterated Wednesday that, if schools in those categories are in disrepair, she still might relocate or close them.

The Commission on School Utilization also recommended that Byrd-Bennett remove schools that have more than 600 students, those that are close to their capacity and those that are trending upward.  Byrd-Bennett also accepted these recommendations and she had her staff work on definitions for “trending upward” and “close to efficiency.”

Adam Anderson, chief of the office of portfolio, planning and strategy, said that additional criteria were added specifically because of what people said during community meetings. Many told CPS officials that their schools were far from other schools. Others said nearby schools were at capacity.

“What we said is that if you are isolated by more than a mile or [there is] no school nearby had space, we want to give parents assurance that we will not close that school,” he said. 

Anderson and Byrd-Bennett also insisted that students from closed schools will be given the option to enroll in a higher-performing school.

 

School Name Geographic Area
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
EMMET Austin
KEY Austin
LEWIS Austin
MAY Austin
MCNAIR Austin
GRAHAM Bridgeport - Chinatown
MCCLELLAN Bridgeport - Chinatown
ATTUCKS Bronzeville
BURKE Bronzeville
CARTER Bronzeville
DRAKE Bronzeville
FULLER Bronzeville
MAYO Bronzeville
MOLLISON Bronzeville
OVERTON Bronzeville
PERSHING MIDDLE Bronzeville
ROBINSON Bronzeville
WELLS, I Bronzeville
WILIAMS MIDDLE Bronzeville
WILLIAMS ES Bronzeville
WOODSON Bronzeville
HENDRICKS Bronzeville
ASHE Chatham
CLAREMONT Chicago Lawn
ALTGELD Englewood
BANNEKER Englewood
BONTEMPS Englewood
DAVIS, M Englewood
EARLE Englewood
GOODLOW Englewood
HENDERSON Englewood
HINTON Englewood
HOLMES Englewood
LANGFORD Englewood
MAYS Englewood
O'TOOLE Englewood
STAGG Englewood
WOODS Englewood
DEWEY Englewood
LIBBY Englewood
PARKMAN Englewood
SHERMAN Englewood
YALE 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
BRENTANO Logan
JENNER Loop
LOZANO Near North
NEAR NORTH Near North
PEABODY Near North
BROWN, W Near West
DETT 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
BRENNEMANN Ravenswood
STEWART Ravenswood
STOCKTON Ravenswood
TRUMBULL Ravenswood
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
FERMI Woodlawn
FISKE Woodlawn
ROSS Woodlawn
SEXTON Woodlawn
TILL Woodlawn
WADSWORTH Woodlawn