If the Chicago Board of Education allows 21 new charter campuses to open on the Northwest and Southwest Sides, neighborhood schools in the targeted areas and the district as a whole would be negatively impacted, education activists stressed at a community forum in Brighton Park Tuesday night.
Back in May, the board voted to close a whopping 50 “underutilized” neighborhood schools, citing the Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) $1 billion budget deficit. As a cost-saving measure, many of the neighborhood schools that were not shuttered saw their collective budgets slashed this year to the tune of $100 million.
And now, the district, which faces a more than $900 million deficit next year, says it needs to open new charters over the next two years to help alleviate overcrowding at existing neighborhood schools in certain communities. The board is expected to vote on CPS’ recommendations for new charters at its January 22 meeting. Meanwhile, the board has already signed off on 10 additional charter schools that could open next year.
“If we all lost money this year to our school budgets, and also CPS closed 50 schools and we took a hit, what’s going to happen when we have still a billion dollar deficit, and they want to open 31 schools on top of that,” asked Jennie Biggs with the Raise Your Hand education coalition, one among a handful of groups that hosted the forum at Shields Middle School. “This is impacting every school. Charter schools, you too.” Read more »