Under Fire, Board Closes Schools Anyway


Under fire from parents, teachers, students and even some state legislators, the Chicago Board of Education voted to close, consolidate, phase out or turn-around 16 schools on Feb. 25. Four schools will close, four will be consolidated into other schools, four will be put into ‘turnaround’ initiatives, and four will be phased out. The difference between a closing and a consolidation is that all of the consolidated school’s students would move to the same receiving school. Staff members usually follow the students, except where there are overlaps, which would then be subject to union rules. The Board designates a school for ‘turnaround’ when it has consistently low academic performance. No students have to move in a turnaround. Instead, the staff have to reapply for their jobs and an outside organization works with the school to change the culture, according to Chicago Public Schools’ web site. “Schools are phased out for low enrollment, and all students currently enrolled in the schools would be allowed to graduate. However, the school would not be able to enroll any kindergarten, or in some cases pre-K, students as of the 2009-10 school year. “The following year, the school would not be able to enroll kindergarten or first-grade students, and each year would enroll one fewer grade.”
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