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Safe Passage

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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:21pm
Wed Jul 23, 2014

Chicago Board Of Ed Approves Budget, Debate Over School Funding Rages On

The Chicago Board of Education unanimously approved the school district's controversial $5.8 billion spending plan for the 2015 fiscal year that cuts the budgets of traditional neighborhood schools and boosts funding for charters. Progress Illinois provides highlights from today's board of ed meeting.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:21pm
Thu Jul 17, 2014

Chicagoans Criticize School Funding Cuts At CPS Budget Hearing (VIDEO)

Chicago Public Schools' (CPS) proposed $5.76 billion spending plan for the 2014-2015 academic year slashes $72 million in funding from 504 traditional neighborhood schools but boosts the budgets of privately-run charter and contract schools by 12 percent.

The funding difference, mostly due to declining enrollment projected at traditional CPS schools and increased enrollment at charters, did not sit well with parents, teachers, education activists and Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd), who vented their frustrations at a CPS budget hearing Wednesday evening at Malcolm X College on the city's West Side. Education activists toting signs reading, "BOE has different rules for different schools," also spoke out against neighborhood school budget cuts ahead of the hearing.

"There's a crisis in Chicago Public Schools today," Fioretti told the six CPS officials at the hearing. "CPS closed 50 schools last year, supposedly based upon declining enrollment. At the same time, they opened new charter schools. Despite promises of increased funding for existing schools, CPS cut the budget for neighborhood schools this year, while they increased the budget for charter schools. 

"There is no political will from CPS or the fifth floor of this city," he added. "When we decide that politicians should allow charter schools, contract schools and other schools that take away the resources for political ends only, we are depriving our kids of the necessary education here in this city."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:16pm
Wed May 21, 2014

CTU Blasts CPS For 'Unfulfilled' Promises On School Closings

One year after the Chicago Board of Education voted to close 50 "underutilized" public schools, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) says the district has not delivered on various promises to invest in the designated "welcoming schools" that took in displaced students.

“Shuttering our schools was touted as a hard and difficult choice by the mayor and the board, but this was the easy, draconian choice,” CTU President Karen Lewis said in a statement. “Parents, teachers, and the public demanded resources and supports for these education communities. Sadly, by making promises that remain unfulfilled, these schools and the students they serve have been dealt yet another blow — from failed policy to broken promises.”

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
1:23pm
Wed Dec 18, 2013

Is The CPS Safe Passage Program Keeping Students Safe?

Some parents and education activists say the Chicago Public Schools' expanded Safe Passage program that launched this year has been working well to keep students safe. But others argue that the program is simply a "roll of the dice" when it comes to young people's safety. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
8:39pm
Mon Aug 26, 2013

First Day Of School Causes Headaches For Some New Ellington Elementary Parents (VIDEO)

The first day of school was a breeze for some Edward K. Ellington Elementary parents, but it was chaotic for others who were sending their children to the West Side “welcoming school” for the first time.

Ellington, located in Chicago's Austin community, is receiving students this academic year from nearby Robert Emmet Elementary and Francis Scott Key Elementary, both of which shut down in June due to the district’s reported underutilization crisis. Ellington’s enrollment has now jumped from about 350 students to more than 800.

Chricia Johnson’s son and daughter, who previously attended Key, were not able to enjoy their first day of school due to a registration mix-up at Ellington. Johnson said she registered both of her children at Ellington before school started, but only her daughter was on the list today. Her son had been enrolled at Thomas Chalmers Specialty Elementary School, located outside of the Austin community.

“It was a lot of blame [today] and no one taking responsibility,” Johnson said just before school let out for the day. “This is ridiculous. They pretty much ruined the school system. They ruined our kids' education.”

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
1:30pm
Mon Aug 26, 2013

West Side CPS Welcoming School Sees ‘Smooth Transition’ On First Day Of Classes

Oscar DePriest Elementary School on Chicago’s West Side was bustling this morning as hundreds of returning and new students from recently-closed schools began their first day of classes. Progress Illinois was there to see how the morning went.

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