House votes to allow CPS closing delay, but some lawmakers have concerns

November 28, 2012

(Last update: 2 p.m. on 11/28/12)

The Illinois House and Senate passed a bill today to allow the CPS to delay closings until March.

The House voted: 84 yes, 28 no, 2 present on the measure. The Senate voted 57-0 in favor of the bill.

Some Illinois lawmakers are criticizing Chicago Public School’s timetable for closing an unknown number of schools.

But despite that criticism, Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett got committee support on Tuesday to delay announcement of which schools the district would close this year.

"I'm feeling very happy," Byrd-Bennett said after the votes were taken by the House Executive Committee and the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday.

CPS has said if it gets a few more months to work out its plan for school closings, then it won’t close any more schools for five years.

Democratic State Sen. Kimberly Lightford voted in favor of the delay in committee, but not without voicing some worry.

"My concern, and pretty much a fear, is that you’re not giving yourselves enough time," Lightford said on Tuesday. "That the magnitude of what you’re trying to do extends beyond a two-to-three month period in preparation over the summer."

Byrd-Bennett said giving the school system a few months to announce which schools will close gives Chicago communities time to react and prepare.

"I hear the concerns about three months is not enough, but this will start a process where I hope the community will see that the district is serious about engagement; is serious about taking their input," Byrd-Bennett said.

Chicago Public Schools says it’s facing a $1 billion budget deficit.