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Schedule of Upcoming Public Meetings Regarding Chicago School Closures

Schedule of Upcoming Public Meetings Regarding Chicago School Closures

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Published by valeriefleonard
Copy of letter from Barbara Byrd Bennett, CEO of Chicago Public Schools, indicating schedule of upcoming community meetings.
Copy of letter from Barbara Byrd Bennett, CEO of Chicago Public Schools, indicating schedule of upcoming community meetings.

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Published by: valeriefleonard on Jan 19, 2013
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 I thank Dwayne Truss, President of PACE, for sharing this letter from Barbara Byrd Bennett,CEO of Chicago Public Schools.
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
Since I became CEO of Chicago Public Schools last October, I’ve made it my mission to rebuildtrust with our school communities. That’s why from day one I’ve made it my priority to involveour parents and school communities on the front end of the work we’
re doing to address ourutilization crisis. We cannot and will not do this work without all of you.This utilization crisis is very real, and very daunting. Over the last 10 years, our city lost 145,000school-aged children. The greatest losses happened on the South and West Sides of the city, andhave understandably impacted our enrollment. Today, CPS has room to serve 511,000 students,but only 403,000 are enrolled. About 50 percent of our schools are underutilized and nearly 140are half-empty. In the most underutilized parts of our city, 65 percent of enrollment drops atelementary schools are due to population decline.We simply have too many buildings, and too few students. This is stretching our limitedresources much too thin. And in the face of a $1 billion deficit next fiscal year, we have toaddress our utilization crisis and take action this year.
To make sure our communities have the stability and peace of mind they deserve, I’ve
committed not to close any additional CPS facilities for five years starting this fall after wedevelop and enact a comprehensive plan to address these utilization challenges. In addition, noneof the schools closed as part of these efforts will re-open as a charter school or as another publicschool. Our goal is to remove these facilities permanently from our footprint so we can redirectresources to all of our children and invest in providing access to more nurses, counselors,libraries, art, math, technology and other supports critical to student success.Recently, the Commission on School Utilization, which I formed to evaluate our utilizationchallenges, completed its first level of community engagement. After hearing from hundreds of parents and school community members at 10 public meetings, they issued me a series of recommendations to remove schools from consideration as part of this process.I have embraced some of these recommendations in full, including taking high schools and Level1 schools off the table. I believe that we must ensure the safety and security of our students andcontinue to provide them with as many high-performing school options as possible. My team and
I are currently in the process of doing additional work to define and apply the Commission’s
other recommendations, which will help us further refine which schools will be considered aspart of this process. I believe we owe it to our parents and school communities to make sure weget this right and that we give careful consideration to which schools should remain on the table.To view a copy of my response to the Commission, please visit cps.edu/qualityschools. 
I urge you to participate in our second phase of community engagement, which begins January28 and runs through March 4. This phase will involve two meetings in each school network andwill give our parents and school communities the opportunity to provide feedback on theirindividual schools, with high-performing Level 1 schools and high schools off the table.Independent facilitators will be present at each meeting to make sure our communities are fullyengaged in these discussions.The first series of meetings (beginning January 28) will include a presentation of high-levelinformation and metrics on all schools at the network level to glean feedback from thecommunity. Information gathered at these meetings will help CPS lead a more school-specificdiscussion at the second series of community meetings.At the second series of meetings (beginning February 13), CPS will provide a list of schoolsnetwork-by-
network based on the Commission’s recommendations as defined by CPS. This will
allow communities to provide feedback and input on schools that remain on the table in theirneighborhoods.This work is ongoing and we are far from having a final list of schools that I will recommend tothe Board as part of our efforts to address this utilization crisis. We need to continue to engageour parents and school communities. It is crucial that you are active participants and receive therespect you deserve as we continue to do this important work.Below, please find a list of dates, times and locations for these meetings. I look forward toworking together and hearing from you as we continue this very important work.Sincerely,Barbara Byrd-BennettCEO, Chicago Public Schools
 1/28/2013 Ravenswood-Ridge 7:00- 9:00pm Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson 1/29/2013 Midway 7:00- 9:00pm Daley College, 7500 S. Pulaski 1/29/2013 O'Hare 7:00- 9:00pm Wright College, 4300 N. Narragansett 1/30/2013 Lake Calumet 7:00- 9:00pm Olive Harvey College, 10001 S. Woodlawn 1/31/2013 Austin-NorthLawndale 7:00-9:00pm Friendship MB Church, 5200 W. Jackson 2/2/2013 Englewood-Gresham 11:00-1:00pm Kennedy King College, 6301 S. Halsted 2/4/2013 Burnham Park  7:00- 9:00pm St. Anselm Church, 6045 S. Michigan 2/5/2013 Garfield-Humboldt 7:00- 9:00pm Mt. Vernon MB Church, 2622 W. Jackson 2/6/2013 Pershing 7:00- 9:00pm Fuller Park Field House, 311 W. 45th St. 2/6/2013 Pilsen-Little Village 7:00- 9:00pm Arturo Velasquez Institute, 2800 S. Western 2/7/2013 Skyway 7:00- 9:00pm Our Lady of Peace Rectory, 7851 S. Jeffrey 2/9/2013 Rock Island 11:00- 1:00pm Metropolitan Family Services, 235 W. 103rdSt. 2/11/2013 Fulton 7:00- 9:00pm First Baptist Congregational Church, 1613W. Washington 2/11/2013 Fullerton 7:00- 9:00pm Armitage Baptist Church, 2451 N. Kedzie 2/13/2013 Austin-NorthLawndale 7:00-9:00pm Greater Galilee Baptist Church, 1308 S.Independence 2/14/2013 Lake Calumet 7:00- 9:00pm Olive Harvey College, 10001 S. Woodlawn 2/16/2013 Ravenswood-Ridge 11:00- 1:00pm Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson 2/18/2013 Englewood-Gresham 7:00-9:00pm Liberation Christian Center, 6810 S.Ashland 2/19/2013 Burnham Park  7:00-St. Anselm Church, 6045 S. Michigan 

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