Current Issue

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.


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.

October 31, 2012

Nearly a year after early childhood programs sent in their applications for Illinois’ first-ever early childhood capital funding program, the $45 million in construction grants have yet to be awarded.

Why the long delay? A large number of applicants and the difficulty of managing the state’s biggest capital spending program in a decade.

February 17, 2012

Chicago has a school facilities problem.  Among its more than 600 public school buildings, 224 are enrolled at less than 50% capacity, according to the legislative task force established to examine the issue.  Many of these schools produce abysmal achievement results, and now CPS is attempting to manage its building inventory by taking certain school actions, including closing two underperforming, and under-enrolled, high schools, Crane and Dyett. 

February 06, 2012

SPRINGFIELD -  When Chicago catches a cold, the Illinois General Assembly coughs.

The state legislature has been hacking like a two-pack-a-day smoker over school actions in the Chicago Public Schools—closings, phase-outs, changes in attendance boundaries and other moves that critics say are disruptive for students and the surrounding neighborhoods.

(Find the district’s facilities plan online.)

January 24, 2012

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.

December 29, 2011

Half of all Chicago public schools are underused, based on a new building utilization formula unveiled Wednesday, the Sun-Times reports. And, four times more schools are underused than overcrowded under the formula, which includes charter schools.

December 15, 2011

As part of preparing a new $659 school construction and capital spending plan, officials used a new formula to determine school utilization. In the process, they determined that the district has 130,000 empty seats--a quarter of the seats available in schools throughout the city.

That figure, a result of the district’s declining enrollment, shows the extent of building under-utilization throughout CPS. Yet when deciding how to invest their capital improvement dollars, Chief Administrative Officer Tim Cawley said Thursday that officials steered away from buildings that might be shut down in the next five to 10 years.