Friday, September 06, 2013

Spared schools in Chicago see few financial benefits from closing 50 schools

Mathew Blake


In pushing through the closures of 50 neighborhood Chicago schools this summer over the vociferous objections of the teachers union and community groups, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his handpicked school board argued that the shutdowns would make up for budget shortages and direct more resources to other neighborhood schools.
But a week into the school year, the remaining schools appear to be receiving no immediate financial benefits from the closings.
The school year started on Monday for all 403,000 Chicago Public Schools students. Media coverage has largely focused on the “safe passage” routes that the district drew up to help the 12,500 students affected by the closings walk to their new schools. The closings prompted widespread concern that displaced students would have to cross gang lines to arrive at their new classrooms, exposing them to violence. But after five school days, there have been no reported violent incidents involving students traveling to their new schools.

Chicago Teachers Union Vice-President Jesse Sharkey says that, after the first few days of class, he is most worried about budget cuts, not safe passage.
“The question of whether the kid can walk safely for the several blocks to the new environment is the most basic of questions,” Sharkey says. The CTU has long argued that cuts to “wraparound” services such as counseling will broadly harm student’s safety and well-being.
Working . In These Times.

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