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College and careers

An overhaul of the district’s career education programs seeks to make classes more challenging and put career-track students on the path to higher ed, but many schools have lost programs, and fewer students are participating overall.

Capital projects on school board’s agenda

At Wednesday’s meeting, the Chicago Board of Education will likely approve a number of remodeling, painting and construction projects, with much of the money spent at turnaround schools and for career education programs.

More than $14 million will be spent on “Pathways Program” construction for career programs at Lindblom, Richards, Roosevelt, Schurz, Sullivan, and Simeon high schools, as well as other unspecified schools.

The new facilities will house programs in culinary arts, business, information technology, early childhood, digital media, pre-engineering, human services, architecture, and other career education areas.

Of the proposed turnarounds, Casals, Herzl, and Smith elementary schools, as well as Chicago Vocational Career Academy, will get structural renovations plus other upgrades like painting, new floors and, in Smith’s case, a playlot. Fuller, Marquette, Piccolo and Stagg elementary schools are slated to get lighting, flooring and painting improvements. Woodson will get a new playlot.

Crane High School, which is slated to phase out but will likely begin to share its building with Chicago Talent Development High School, will also receive $7.3 million in interior upgrades. Lathrop Elementary, slated to close, will receive $3.4 million in accessibility and masonry improvements.

In addition, the plan states that Camras, Hanson Park, McCormick and Locke elementary schools will get new modular classrooms and renovations to existing rooms for pre-kindergarten, using about half of a $9 million state grant for early childhood facilities, plus $900,000 in district matching funds. Another $4.5 million of the grant has been set aside for community-based programs, which are not listed in the plan.

Another $7 million will go to installing security cameras at 14 high schools: Clemente, Bogan, Hyde Park, Sullivan, Morgan Park, Orr, Marhsall, Dunbar, Manley, Wells, Senn, Juarez, Farragut and Julian.

The district has not yet created a facilities master plan, which was one part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s transition plan.  State law requires the district todevelop a draft of a 10-year facilities master plan by Jan. 1, 2013. Officials say they will also release a fiscal year 2013 capital plan and a 5-year capital plan by May 1, 2012.

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1 comment

BackToWorkIL wrote 2 years 12 weeks ago

Video Gaming Act

The Video Gaming Act (VGA), the largest source of funding for the $31 billion Illinois capital plan, can provide a substantial boost in the funding to the various capital projects being planned by the Chicago Board of Education. The VGA uses the net income generated by local video gaming terminals to create revenue without restriction on its use. Specifically, the state collects a tax of 30 percent on the net income generated by the gaming terminals before redistributing one sixth of that percentage into the local municipality’s general fund. The amount—potentially more than $36.8 million annually in Chicago’s case—can be put toward capital projects or other local priorities. For more information on the VGA and the Illinois capital plan, please visit www.backtoworkillinois.com.

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