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Press Statement News Conference 3-22-13

Press Statement News Conference 3-22-13

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Published by valeriefleonard
Here is a copy of my press statement for today's press conference at May School.
Here is a copy of my press statement for today's press conference at May School.

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Categories:Types, Speeches
Published by: valeriefleonard on Mar 22, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Press Statement Regarding School ClosuresMarch 22, 2013
My name is Valerie Leonard, the Co-Founder of the Lawndale Alliance. Weare a group of residents who have come together to address issues of concern to thecommunity, including education, TIF reform and mortgage foreclosure. We arevery concerned about the prospect of CPS closing 52 schools, representing nearly
$600 million disinvestment in Black and Brown communities in Chicago.Approximately 89% of the impacted students are Black. The big winner in all of this will be AUSL, who will gain control of 6 schools at our expense.Drilling closer to home, the North Lawndale community will be moreadversely impacted than any community in Chicago. We will lose 5 of our 24schools--Henson will merge into Hughes; Paderewski will close; Bethune willmerge into Gregory; Pope will merge into Johnson; Mason High School will close;Chalmers will be a turnaround school. This represents a loss of 20% of ourschools, for a total capital disinvestment of $86.1 million to our local economy,and a disinvestment of up to $20 million per year in school operating funds in ourcommunity. As it stands, the North Lawndale community is one of the mostimpoverished communities in the city, with a median income of $18,000 andunemployment rate of 17%--before the recession of 2007. Closing 5 schoolbuildings and leaving them empty would cause a host of problems, includingexacerbated blight conditions; reduced property values; increased student mobilityrates; increased dropout rates; increased vandalism and violence and interruptedstudent learning. The most upwardly mobile residents may decide to leaveresidents to leave, while real estate developers will continue to take a pass on newdevelopment. Indeed, this single action could set us back over 10 years. Ten yearsrepresents an entire generation of elementary school students. We ask you, "Wouldyou do this to your children?"We have worked with a coalition of elected officials and community basedorganizations to provide an alternative plan that will provide additional resourcesto children while utilizing excess space in underutilized buildings. CPS could gain

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