“People’s School Board” plans more scrutiny of CPS

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A coalition of community organizations announced Tuesday that it is forming the “People’s School Board” to stand in direct opposition to the mayoral-appointed board and plans to hold CPS accountable for keeping its commitments to improve schools that received students displaced by closings.

Meetings will be held in the evenings on the same day as regular board meetings, a time when “parents can actually attend,” said Jeanette Taylor, a member of the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization.

The People’s School Board plans to evaluate schools that received students from closing schools, as well as those hit by budget cuts. They are forming “accountability committees” that will conduct monthly walk-throughs and community mapping in order to make a report card for each school. The information will be presented to the local school council at the end of every month and CPS will be given a grade on the quality of support at each school.

The board is comprised of community members and parents from organizations, including the KOCO, the Pilsen Alliance, and Action Now.

“The circus is over. Our demands are for an elected school board and accountability committees,” said Zalina Smith, a member of Action Now and parent of a student at Oscar DePriest Elementary School.  

These accountability committees will pick up where CPS “drops the ball,” according to Taylor, making sure schools are receiving support and reporting back to local school councils.

At Tuesday’s press conference, several speakers said the lack of accountability amounted to racism, noting that budget cuts and school closings disproportionately impact black communities.