Tuesday, May 7, 2013

CPS Hearing Officers Give Their Reports On School Closings, And There Are Some Surprises

Graeme Stewart School, back in the day.  Its appearance is largely unchanged today.
Late Monday night, CPS released the opinions of the Independent Hearing Officers on the closings of 50+ public schools, including Stewart, which is scheduled to be closed with its students transferring to Brennemann, and Stockton, which is scheduled to be consolidated with Courtenay at Stockton's campus.

In the hearing report on Stewart, Retired Judge Charles Winkler says that both Stewart's and Brennemann's principals favor the plan, and that Brennemann is a better school than Stewart.  He also notes that Stewart can accommodate 600 students, and currently has only 256 students enrolled.  However, he ends his report by saying:
Since a definitive safety plan will not be ready until August, 2013, CPS should consider delaying an implementation of the proposal until the 2014-2015 school year.  The 256 students at Stewart will be traveling a new route to school.  Will an understaffed Chicago Police Department be able to provide enough officers to assist the Stewart children?  Will CPS be able to hire a private security company to furnish properly trained personnel?  Is there really enough time to get everyone up to speed so the 14,400 children from the closing schools are provided safe passage?
You can see Judge Winkler's entire Stewart report here.

As for Stockton, many more parents, teachers and community members testified at the hearings and made statements, a fact noted in Judge Winkler's report.  Many parents objected to making the "new Courtenay" a neighborhood school rather than keeping it as it has been: 100% lottery, drawing from all over the city.  Parents also noted that with the high number of special ed students at both schools (30% at Courtenay and 33% at Stockton), accommodation for all would be difficult.

Judge Winkler ends his report on Stockton by repeating the same statement about delaying the consolidation as he did for Stewart, and adds:
CPS should address and consider the plea the keep the Courtenay model intact: a 100% enrollment without boundaries.
You can see Judge Winkler's entire Stockton report here.

As for Trumbull, which is in Edgewater and the 40th Ward, but the closing of which will affect Uptown's McCutcheon, one of three receiving schools for Trumbull's students, Retired Judge Gilbert Grossi's report concludes:
With appropriate consideration to the passion, emotion, time and effort put in on both sides of this issue, finding that the CEO's proposal complies with 5/34-230 and the Guidelines, the Hearing Officer recommends, in accordance with the CEO's proposal, that she recommend to the Board, and the Board approve, the closure of Lyman Trumbull Elementary School.
You can see Judge Grossi's entire Trumbull report here.

No comments:

Post a Comment