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The race for City Hall

Jobs and schools promise to be top issues in next year’s city elections. The mayor’s education agenda faces its toughest test in the African-American communities that gave him strong support in 2011.


September 25, 2013

Though CPS enrollment has declined in recent years, this year budget officials and demographers projected that the district would enroll 405,000 students—about 2,000 more than last year.

July 10, 2013

“It is not fair to have policies put in place that affect me, and I have no say. I want to advocate for students and let them know that their voices do matter!”  --Shondel, Coro Brooklyn Youth Advisory Council.

“I now know I want to pursue a career in education and public policy. My experience can be a great contribution to creating change and protecting the future of our schools and children.”  --Kadesha, Coro Brooklyn Youth Advisory Council

May 20, 2013

When Margarita Miranda moved to Old Town in 2000, the area looked much different. The Cabrini Green public housing projects cast a long shadow, and neighborhood elementary schools were located on every few blocks.

Today, the high-rise public housing has been wiped away, leaving the area with a smattering of row houses, townhouses and some stretches of still-empty lots.

May 07, 2013

On the day CPS announced its list of school closings, students at schools slated to shut down received folders with letters to their parents stating that their school had lost enrollment, was partially empty and needed anywhere from $4 million to $37 million in repairs and maintenance.

May 02, 2013

On page 36 of the long-awaited draft of the district’s 10-year master facilities plan is this revelation: The district will only save $437 million in capital costs by closing schools, significantly less than the original figure of $560 million.

The updated figure is the result of new assessments being done to prepare the final version of the 10-year master facilities plan, says CPS spokeswoman Kelley Quinn. Also, the $560 million figure included some mistakes that district officials have now corrected.

April 30, 2013

As CPS prepares to close dozens of schools, CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett has promised that none of the keys to the shuttered schools would be handed over to private charter operators.

But the district is proposing 11 co-locations, eight of which involve charters moving into buildings with traditional neighborhood schools. The proposals have reignited fears among some activists, parents and even school staff--not only about the logistics of space-sharing but that the co-locations are just a back-door way of kicking out a traditional school.

April 16, 2013

When Kansas City was faced with the prospect of three dozen empty school buildings, city officials there took the unusual step of lending the district a city planner.

December 13, 2012

When rolling out new data on school utilization, CPS officials emphasized that the number of children in the city has plummeted by 145,000 over the past 12 years, citing the figure as the major reason why the district has so many empty schools.

Meanwhile, a chorus of teachers union and community activists who oppose closings (and some media outlets) have pointed out contradictory data: The population of children in the city may be down, but CPS enrollment has declined by only about 32,000 students since the 1999-2000 school year.

December 05, 2012

Even as they released the updated list of under-utilized schools, CPS officials stressed that simply having empty space will not be the death knell for schools.

Some 330 schools are considered under-utilized by CPS, which calculates its rate based on a figure of 30 students per classroom plus ancillary rooms for art, library and special education students. District leaders refuse to say how many schools will be on the chopping block.