CTU head to lobby against extending school closing deadline

November 20, 2012

Scott Kanowsky

Scott Kanowsky/WBEZ
Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn at the City Club in Chicago on Nov. 20, 2012.

Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis said on Tuesday that she will lobby to stop the extension of a deadline to announce local school closings.  

Chicago Public Schools faces a Dec. 1 to release a list of school closures, but recently appointed CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett has said she wants state lawmakers to push back that date to late March.

Lewis, who spoke to reporters after delivering remarks at a City Club luncheon, said she still wants to "see a whole plan" from school officials.
 
"Every time we have a change in leadership, we cannot just continue to change the law to accommodate a change in leadership. Especially considering how it’s been a revolving door for the past two years," Lewis said.

Meanwhile, Byrd-Bennett has said she wants to delay the deadline in order to collect more community opinion.

CPS leaders want to close buildings because many have low enrollment—a move that will save as much as $800,000 per building, according to estimates from school officials.

Lewis, however, refutes the validity of those figures.

Still others have said those savings would not make a sizeable impact on the school district's looming deficit, which CPS anticipates will equal $1 billion, mostly due to an increase in pension costs.