Despite a $1 billion budget deficit projected by Chicago Public Schools for next year, district officials rolled out a list of investments they will be pouring into schools receiving students displaced by school closings.
District officials said they are closing a large number of schools, hoping to address the looming budget shortfall. They have not released how much it will cost to shut down schools, provide extra security and safety programs for students, and equip receiving schools with upgrades like science labs, libraries and air conditioning.
Chicago Public Schools officials are expected to announce about 50 elementary schools will be closed — believed to be the largest number ever closed in one place at one time in the country, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.
Four City Hall sources put the number of closures at 50 or slightly higher.
Principals were informed of closings on Thursday.
◆ Calhoun Elementary, moving to Cather, getting a new computer lab.
◆ Courtenay Elementary Language Arts Center, moving to Stockton Elementary School, confirmed by Stockton’s local school council.
◆ Dodge, AUSL turnaround, moving to Morton.
◆ Herbert closing. Dett surviving and moving into the Herbert building.
◆ Mahalia Jackson Elementary School, confirmed by Ald. Howard Brookins Jr.
◆ King, moving to Jensen, instead of closest school, to avoid gang lines.
◆ Lafayette Elementary School closing, children sent to Chopin Elementary School, confirmed by Lafayette and Chopin teachers.
◆ Garrett A. Mason School, confirmed by Ald. Howard Brookins Jr.
◆ Montefiore closing. Buckingham and Near North moving into Montefiore building.
◆ Pershing West, moving to Pershing East.
◆ Trumbull Elementary, confirmed by a City Hall source.
Amid reports the district plans to close 50 schools, CTU President Karen Lewis responded angrily in a written statement.
“This city cannot destroy that many schools. It will send our district into chaos,” Lewis said. “These actions will put our students’ safety and academics at risk and will further destabilize our neighborhoods.”
Teachers also have expressed concern for the safety of students who would be shifted to schools in new neighborhoods, but CPS has said kids won’t have to walk more than four-fifths of a mile to their new school, or else buses will be provided.