WBEZ | Mayor Rahm Emanuel http://www.wbez.org/tags/mayor-rahm-emanuel Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Mayor's borrowing authority hiked by council http://www.wbez.org/news/mayors-borrowing-authority-hiked-council-109644 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP168520649673_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago aldermen today gave Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s administration its final okay to borrow up to $900 million dollars to pay for city equipment, capital projects, and legal settlements, and to refinance old debt.</p><p>The City Council also approved another $1 billion in borrowing for Midway Airport, and agreed to double the city&rsquo;s short-term borrowing limit from the current $500 million to $1 billion.</p><p>The borrowing plans all passed on a 43-4 vote, with no debate.</p><p>Alderman John Arena (45th Ward) said he voted no because the Emanuel administration did not give specifics on exactly how the newly borrowed money would be spent.</p><p>&ldquo;Unless we have a real debate on this, a real dialogue, and get real information from the administration in real time -- and enough time to make an educated vote -- then I&rsquo;m gonna continue to vote no on these types of things,&rdquo; Arena said after the vote.</p><p>Also voting against the borrowing plans were 42nd Ward Ald. Brendan Reilly, 32nd Ward Ald. Scott Waguespack and 2nd Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti. Ed Burke, the alderman of the 14th Ward and chairman of the powerful Finance Committee that held a hearing on the borrowing plans, abstained from voting.</p><p>Though the city got the council&rsquo;s authorization to issue up to $900 million on bonds, the Emanuel administration will likely issue about $650 million, said city Finance Department spokeswoman Kelley Quinn. About $349 million of that would help pay for legal settlements, capital projects, and so-called &ldquo;aldermanic menu&rdquo; accounts that aldermen use at their discretion to fund projects in their wards.</p><p>But some financial watchdogs have raised concerns about the other roughly $301 million in borrowing, which will be used to restructure debt. At least some of that -- up to $130 million -- could be used to push upcoming debt payments off into the future. That means the city saves money with smaller payments in the short term, but ends up paying more in the long-run.</p><p>The city will likely issue $550 million of the Midway Airport bonds for upgrades to runways and taxiways, Quinn said.</p><p>The short-term credit extension doubles the amount of so-called &ldquo;commercial paper&rdquo; the city can borrow. It is often used to cover city operations.</p><p>The first bond issue, set for March, will mark Chicago&rsquo;s first test of the municipal bond market since July, when Moody&rsquo;s Investors Service <a href="https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-downgrades-Chicago-to-A3-from-Aa3-affecting-82-billion--PR_278069">hit the city</a> with a triple downgrade of its bond rating, citing the city&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/experts-say-chicago-has-public-pension-system-set-fail-109329">massive pension problems</a>.</p><p>Much like a person with a bad credit score, governments with low bond ratings have to pay higher interest rates when they borrow money.</p><p>Emanuel defended his borrowing requests after Wednesday&rsquo;s City Council meeting as the usual course of government business.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s typical efforts to invest in our streets, our sidewalks, light poles -- all the other infrastructure that improves our neighborhoods,&rdquo; Emanuel said.</p><p>Emanuel added the city&rsquo;s budget problems are deep enough that it will take time to dig out of them.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/akeefe" target="_blank">Alex Keefe</a>&nbsp;is a political reporter at WBEZ. You can follow him on&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZpolitics">Twitter</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://plus.google.com/102759794640397640028">Google+</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 05 Feb 2014 16:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/mayors-borrowing-authority-hiked-council-109644 Illinois DOC says revised gun bill would still be costly http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-doc-says-revised-gun-bill-would-still-be-costly-109185 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP168520649673_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois prison officials say revised legislation stiffening penalties for gun crimes would still cost hundreds of millions of dollars and add inmates to the crowded correctional system.</p><p>The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers <a href="http://bit.ly/1fc0j4h">reports</a>&nbsp;the figures come from the Illinois Department of Corrections.</p><p>The agency says the latest version of the gun bill would add nearly 2,500 inmates to the state&#39;s prison system and cost another $579 million over 10 years. That covers operating and construction costs.</p><p>The amended bill is backed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and makes illegal gun-holders serve more prison time. But the measure stalled in the Illinois House after members of the Legislative Black Caucus stopped the bill through a procedural move.</p><p>The original measure required a three-year mandatory sentence for first-time offenders.</p></p> Tue, 19 Nov 2013 10:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-doc-says-revised-gun-bill-would-still-be-costly-109185 Parents lose fight to keep military school out http://www.wbez.org/news/parents-lose-fight-keep-military-school-out-109044 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/military school.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">A group of Chicago parents lost a year-and-half battle to keep the city from converting their neighborhood middle school to a military academy.</p><p dir="ltr">At a press conference Tuesday at Marine Math and Science Academy on the West Side, Mayor Rahm Emanuel confirmed that Ames Middle School, in the Logan Square neighborhood, will become a military academy.</p><p dir="ltr">The mayor&rsquo;s office originally said Marine would be re-located to the Ames building, but school officials now say Marine is not moving.</p><p dir="ltr">Chicago Public Schools spokeswoman Becky Carroll said Wednesday that Ames will be &ldquo;another option for students who wish to pursue attendance at a military school.... And, it&#39;s likely that many students who live in the Ames community, but attend Marine, may choose to enroll there.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The Ames principal is scheduled to stay on, one source told WBEZ. Ames school will be affiliated with the United States Marine Corps, as Marine Math and Science Academy is. And current Marine Math and Science students who want to transfer to Ames will not have to go through the normal application process, the source said.</p><p dir="ltr">About two-dozen Ames parents and students protested outside Tuesday&rsquo;s news conference. They said Ames is a school with deep roots in the neighborhood, with before- and after-school activities, a clinic and a lauded parent-mentor program--all built with community sweat.</p><p dir="ltr">The parents <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/logan-square-parents-we-want-voice-military-school-proposal-103597">long suspected</a> plans to convert Ames to a military academy were in the works&mdash;even before 26th Ward Alderman Roberto Maldonado publicly <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20121126/logan-square/parents-protest-proposal-turn-ames-middle-school-into-marine-academy">proposed the idea</a>&mdash;but they were assured by school district officials that nothing would happen without their consultation.</p><p dir="ltr">The conversion of Ames to a military school will increase the number of military academy seats in Chicago Public Schools by 50 percent, according to the city.</p><p dir="ltr">The city has six military academies, more than any other school district in the country. The mayor touted higher-than-normal graduation and college-going rates for the schools in the announcement.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;They are setting the standard for where we want the whole system to move,&rdquo; said Emanuel, who outlined the expansion of military academy seats as part of his strategy to give Chicago parents and students more choice. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">The city says there is high demand for its military schools&mdash;six applications for every seat&mdash; though the current way high school applications work in Chicago tends to <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/how-much-demand-there-chicago-charter-schools-no-one-knows-106418">exaggerate demand</a> for schools, with many students applying to multiple schools, including schools they don&rsquo;t actually plan to attend.</p><p dir="ltr">District officials said moving Marine to the Ames building was pushed by the alderman. A press release from the mayor&rsquo;s staff pointed out that Ames is under-enrolled and received the lowest of three grades Chicago gives to schools.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;(That) does heighten the sensitivity to making some change to try to improve that&mdash;we&rsquo;d like to have all our schools be Level 1 schools,&rdquo; said School Board Vice President Jesse Ruiz, who took questions about the decision. Ruiz said the alderman held public forums and conducted a &ldquo;professional poll&rdquo; that showed significant community support for the military academy. He said there are times when communities are divided over what they want. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">But Ames parents said they&rsquo;d been lied to, citing a promise made at a December 2012 school board meeting.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;<a href="https://soundcloud.com/wbez/raw-audio-december-2012" target="_blank">There are no plans to change Ames Middle School into a military school</a>,&rdquo; School Board President David Vitale said then, telling Ames parents it wasn&rsquo;t necessary for them to come to every school board meeting to plead for their school&rsquo;s survival. &ldquo;Sometimes you have to stop listening to all the rumors in the neighborhood,&rdquo; Vitale told parents. &ldquo;And if you want, you can give me a phone call to find out if anything&rsquo;s changed.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">CPS officials say Vitale said publicly that plans could be in the works at a subsequent school board meeting, in July.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">At that <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-CiexfovUU">July meeting</a>, Ald. Maldonado presented a poll of 300 nearby-Ames residents which showed that 72 percent supported a military academy at Ames. &ldquo;The board looks forward to supporting you and your community with your objective,&rdquo; Vitale said then. &ldquo;We look forward to working with you and making this happen.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Ames parent Emma Segura was among those protesting the decision Tuesday. She said she has nothing against military schools in principle, but wondered about neighborhood students who can&rsquo;t get into the school&mdash;and lamented the loss of a bilingual program.</p><p dir="ltr">Segura said her son and nephew are both 7th graders at Ames, but worries that keeping the family together might not be possible when the military academy&rsquo;s more restrictive admissions policies take effect.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;If one (child) stays here and then I have to send the other one (elsewhere), it&rsquo;s gonna be hard for me to cut myself in half and drive one here and the other one there. And for most parents that&rsquo;s what&rsquo;s gonna happen. If the kids don&rsquo;t get accepted to this school, where else can they take them?&rdquo; Segura wondered.</p><p dir="ltr">Marine Math and Science&rsquo;s website indicates that students applying for 9th grade need to attend an information session, meet minimum test-score requirements, have an &ldquo;A/B average,&rdquo; good conduct and be &ldquo;compliant with uniform policy.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The district said all current Ames students will be able to continue at the school, whether or not they meet Marine&rsquo;s admissions standards.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">The Ames building--constructed in 1993--will get $7 million in improvements before the military academy moves in. The money, from the city&rsquo;s Tax Increment Finance funds, will pay for new science and computer labs and classrooms for music and art.</p><p dir="ltr">Becky Vevea contributed reporting.</p><p><em>Linda Lutton and Becky Vevea cover education for WBEZ. Follow them <a href="http://twitter.com/wbezeducation" target="_blank">@WBEZeducation</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 30 Oct 2013 21:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/parents-lose-fight-keep-military-school-out-109044 Researchers say Emanuel should hire cops, not push mandatory minimums http://www.wbez.org/news/researchers-say-emanuel-should-hire-cops-not-push-mandatory-minimums-108967 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Cook County Jail Exterior Wildeboer.JPG" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Over the last year, when Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been asked about gun violence, he&rsquo;s talked about the need for three-year mandatory minimum sentences for people caught carrying illegal guns.</p><div><p dir="ltr">In many ways the mandatory minimums have been a centerpiece of the mayor&rsquo;s response to gun violence. His push for longer sentences reached a bit of a fever pitch last week as he held a press conference with the parents of young people who have been killed. With parents struggling to hold back tears, Emanuel reacted to estimates that it would cost as much as $130 million a year to house all the inmates who got the longer sentences.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I will never, ever, ever, accept the notion that a human life is reduced to whether a state budget can take in the issue from a cost benefit analysis, because there is no way I&rsquo;m going to look them in the eye and say, &lsquo;Cleo, Nate, Pam, the Worthams, I&rsquo;d like to give you a cost benefit analysis on how we look at the violent criminals that should have been behind bars,&rdquo; said Emanuel.</p><p dir="ltr">Now one thing about that: Emanuel doesn&rsquo;t actually need to worry about the cost/benefit analysis because all the costs would fall on the state, which pays for prisons, not on the city of Chicago.</p><p dir="ltr">As for the benefits, well, there&rsquo;s been a lot of hubbub about that recently.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>U of C memo challenges the new orthodoxy on mandatory minimums</strong></p><p dir="ltr">In response to the price tag, the University of Chicago Crime Lab released a research memo a week and a half ago arguing that Emanuel&rsquo;s mandatory minimums would actually be a good deal. Given the starring role mandatory minimums have played in this country&rsquo;s 40-year incarceration binge, Crime Lab Co-Director Harold Pollack says he understands people are skeptical of any effort to increase prison sentences.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I get that. I respect that,&rdquo; said Pollack. But, &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think we can allow that real historical context to blind us to the urgent need to deal more effectively and in a more focused way with the gun violence in this city.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Pollack says we&rsquo;re not talking about 25 years for drug possession. It&rsquo;s three years for carrying an illegal gun, a crime that creates a more dangerous environment for everyone.</p><p dir="ltr">The Crime Lab memo also argues that giving a three-year sentence to everyone caught carrying an illegal gun will incapacitate offenders who are likely to reoffend and the crimes prevented will save taxpayers ---outweighing the costs of incarceration.</p><p dir="ltr">The memo also argues the mandatory minimums will deter crime.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;There&rsquo;s little evidence that making the consequences any more severe than they already are has a deterrent effect,&rdquo; said Daniel Nagin from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.</p><p dir="ltr">Nagin has studied what&nbsp;does&nbsp;deter crime. He says traditionally we&rsquo;ve thought that the certainty of punishment stops&nbsp;would-be criminals. That&rsquo;s the idea behind mandatory minimums.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;But when you look more closely at the evidence, the proper conclusion is that the certainty of apprehension is a very effective deterrent,&rdquo; said Nagin.</p><p dir="ltr">And who apprehends criminals? It&rsquo;s not mandatory minimums. It&rsquo;s police.</p><p dir="ltr">Nagin gives the example of two men getting into an argument. If one of them has a gun nearby, but there&rsquo;s a police car right there, he&rsquo;s unlikely to pull out the gun.</p><p dir="ltr">If Illinois is willing to spend $130 million on &ldquo;the problem of gun violence, they should direct those resources to policing,&rdquo; said Nagin.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Zalewski pushing Emanuel&rsquo;s bill in Springfield</strong></p><p dir="ltr">Mike Zalewski is the state representative sponsoring Emanuel&rsquo;s mandatory minimum bill in Springfield. We spent an hour talking in his loop law office about why he&rsquo;s sponsoring this bill, given the cost and the legacy of mandatory minimums.</p><p dir="ltr">He cited the crime lab memo but then went on to say, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s very nice to have studies and it&rsquo;s very nice to sit in offices and compile data and think about ways in which the world should work, but we don&rsquo;t live in that world when we have these shootings and Superintendent McCarthy doesn&rsquo;t live in that world, and Anita Alvarez doesn&rsquo;t live in that world and what they&rsquo;re telling us is they need help and when that happens, when law enforcement cries out for help, it&rsquo;s our duty to step up,&rdquo; Zalewski said.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Political Theater?</strong></p><p dir="ltr">Chicgao Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has been making the case for mandatory minimums several times a week over the last year, but Frank Zimring, a criminologist who studied the astonishing crime decline in New York doesn&rsquo;t buy what McCarthy is selling.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Superintendent McCarthy knows better than he says here,&rdquo; Zimring said in a phone interview with WBEZ last week. &ldquo;If you injected truth serum in Superintendent McCarthy, he&rsquo;d tell you a somewhat different story.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Zimring says the 80 percent drop in crime and homicides over the last 20 years in New York City could not have been because of mandatory minimums. The mandatory minimums in New York City that McCarthy and Emanuel like to talk about weren&rsquo;t even passed there until 2006, after most of the crime decline had already occurred.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;What&rsquo;s going on here is much more theater,&rdquo; said Zimring.</p><p dir="ltr">Mike Tonry agrees. He teaches at the University of Minnesota Law School and is widely respected nationally as an expert on deterrence. He says, &ldquo;Laws like this are primarily symbolic. They&rsquo;re primarily a way that public officials can demonstrate that they are doing something about a disturbing problem even though there is no valid basis for believing that that something will make any difference in the real world.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">If Tonry and Zimring are right and this is political theater, it&rsquo;s pretty heavy theater. At a press conference last week Mayor Emanuel addressed the grieving parents who joined him, including Hadiya Pendleton&rsquo;s mother.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I want to thank you for, for taking your personal pain and trying to make it into a public good to make us better. And I know how painful it is to be here, to speak about this and I know this, Cleo, that it brings it all back and makes it fresh again,&rdquo; said Emanuel.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Researchers seem to agree on what it takes to bring down gun violence</strong></p><p dir="ltr">Emanuel has put some money into preventive programs and talks about the need for a comprehensive gun violence strategy. But if you&rsquo;re looking to reduce gun violence, there&rsquo;s one thing that all the researchers I talked to agree on: They all say there&rsquo;s lots of research that shows increasing the number of police brings down gun crime. Zimring, who studied New York City, says that city &nbsp;increased its police department by 41 percent in the 90s and that was one of the keys to its success.</p><p dir="ltr">But increasing the size of the Chicago&rsquo;s police department is one thing Emanuel has not done. Candidate Emanuel promised to use TIF money to hire a thousand new officers. He never did, though he repeatedly told the public he did. In fact, one of his spokespeople made the claim to me again last week.</p><p dir="ltr">In reality he shut down some large police units and shifted those officers to beats and said they were new officers on the street. That most certainly was political theater.</p><p dir="ltr">The last word will go to Steven Raphael. He teaches public policy at the University of California Berkeley. He has one fairly simple question for Illinois legislators considering Emanuel&rsquo;s mandatory minimums.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;If you&rsquo;re going to spend this amount of money to address this problem, what is the best use of these funds? You&rsquo;ve considered one alternative that at the moment the rest of the country is abandoning and so, is there another way that these monies could be used to combat crime,&rdquo; Raphael said.</p><p>Rep. Zalewski, the sponsor of the bill, says he didn&rsquo;t have the votes he needed in the spring, but that now may be the right time to bring mandatory minimums to a vote.</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 21 Oct 2013 05:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/researchers-say-emanuel-should-hire-cops-not-push-mandatory-minimums-108967 The data behind Chicago's gun crimes http://www.wbez.org/news/data-behind-chicagos-gun-crimes-108092 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/chicagounderthegun.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago&#39;s City Council&nbsp;unanimously approved two measures to <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-updates-assault-weapons-ban-108086"><em>toughen </em></a>Chicago&#39;s gun laws on Wednesday, in an effort to tamp down gun-related violence.</p><div><table align="left" border="1" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="5" style="width: 620px; margin-right: 15px; margin-top: 15px; margin-bottom: 15px;"><tbody><tr><td colspan="2" style="background-color: rgb(204, 204, 204);"><strong><a name="chart"></a>Chicago&#39;s shooting problem</strong></td></tr><tr><td style="background-color: rgb(204, 204, 204);"><a href="http://llnw.wbez.org/ShootingsHeatMap.gif" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/ShootingsHeatMap.gif" style="width: 350px; height: 638px;" /></a></td><td rowspan="2" style="vertical-align: top; width: 255px; background-color: rgb(204, 204, 204);"><p>About this map:</p><ul><li><span style="font-size:10px;">Chicago&#39;s overall shootings, sans homicides, have dropped from <strong>4,176</strong> in 2002 to <strong>1,887</strong> last year. That&#39;s more than a <strong>54%</strong> drop.</span></li><li><span style="font-size:10px;">The areas that were the former location Chicago housing projects such as <strong>Cabrini Green</strong> and the <strong>Robert Taylor Homes</strong> have seen dramatic drops in shootings, however shooting activity has spread to adjacent areas.</span></li><li><span style="font-size:10px;">Shooting activity was more widespread on the North Side, but now is only really prevalent in Uptown and Rogers Park.</span></li><li><span style="font-size:10px;">The Near South Side, which includes the South Loop neighborhood has experienced a drop in shootings from a 2003 high of <strong>15</strong>, and now has about <strong>1</strong> annually.</span></li><li><span style="font-size:10px;">Areas with a lot of economic and real estate development such as West Town and Logan Square saw some of the greatest decreases in shootings.&nbsp;</span></li><li><span style="font-size:10px;">Logan Square dropped from <strong>91</strong> shootings to <strong>13</strong>, or <strong>85%</strong> from 2002 to 2012. West Town dropped <strong>75% </strong>from <strong>108 </strong>to <strong>27 </strong>shootings that same period.</span></li><li><span style="font-size:10px;">Areas such as Kenwood and Hyde Park are largely insulated from some of the South Side violence to its western boundaries, but crimes do occur there. The<a href="http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2013/01/30/mayor-emanuel-gets-emotional-after-shooting-claims-life-of-teen/"> murder of Hadiya Pendleton </a>this year in Kenwood gained national attention.</span></li></ul></td></tr><tr><td style="background-color: rgb(204, 204, 204);"><strong><a href="http://llnw.wbez.org/ShootingsHeatMap.gif" target="_blank"><span style="color:#ff0000;">Click to download this animated map &raquo;</span></a></strong></td></tr><tr><td colspan="2" style="background-color: rgb(204, 204, 204);"><p><em>Source: <strong><a href="https://data.cityofchicago.org/Public-Safety/Shootings-between-2002-2012/w435-t7xh">data.cityofchicago.org</a></strong></em><br /><em>Crime data reflects only aggravated batteries (shootings) with a gun or firearm from 2002-2012. Homicide data as divided by guns vs. stabbings, etc., is not readily available before 2006, and was not included in this map.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></td></tr><tr><td colspan="2" style="background-color: rgb(204, 204, 204);"><script type="text/javascript" src="//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/static/modules/gviz/1.0/chart.js"> {"dataSourceUrl":"//docs.google.com/a/chicagopublicradio.org/spreadsheet/tq?key=0AoxVpL8Zenp3dGVseEZVQlJHWWlHcDhHS2hSVXlIX1E&transpose=1&headers=1&range=A2%3AG4&gid=0&pub=1","options":{"vAxes":[{"useFormatFromData":true,"title":null,"minValue":null,"logScale":false,"viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null},{"useFormatFromData":true,"minValue":null,"logScale":false,"viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null}],"titleTextStyle":{"bold":true,"color":"#000","fontSize":16},"booleanRole":"certainty","title":"Handguns vs. other firearms in 2012","animation":{"duration":0},"backgroundColor":{"fill":"#d9d9d9"},"domainAxis":{"direction":1},"legend":"in","theme":"maximized","hAxis":{"useFormatFromData":true,"minValue":null,"viewWindowMode":null,"viewWindow":null,"maxValue":null},"isStacked":true,"width":620,"height":291},"state":{},"view":{},"isDefaultVisualization":true,"chartType":"ColumnChart","chartName":"Chart 1"} </script></td></tr><tr><td colspan="2" style="background-color: rgb(204, 204, 204);"><script type="text/javascript" src="//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/static/modules/gviz/1.0/chart.js"> {"dataSourceUrl":"//docs.google.com/a/chicagopublicradio.org/spreadsheet/tq?key=0AoxVpL8Zenp3dGVseEZVQlJHWWlHcDhHS2hSVXlIX1E&transpose=1&headers=1&range=A2%3AG5&gid=0&pub=1","options":{"vAxes":[{"useFormatFromData":true,"minValue":null,"viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null},{"useFormatFromData":true,"minValue":null,"viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null}],"titleTextStyle":{"bold":true,"color":"#000","fontSize":16},"booleanRole":"certainty","title":"Chart title","animation":{"duration":500},"legend":"right","hAxis":{"useFormatFromData":true,"minValue":null,"viewWindow":{"min":null,"max":null},"maxValue":null},"width":605,"height":226},"state":{},"view":{},"isDefaultVisualization":true,"chartType":"Table","chartName":"Chart 2"} </script><br /><em>Firearm/gun data for homicides was not readily available, but media accounts would indicate that they are mostly caused by handguns.</em></td></tr></tbody></table></div><p>Whether or not the new restrictions will make a difference in Chicago&#39;s gun crime is yet to be seen.</p><p>One of the new laws clarifies which types of assault weapons qualify as banned, under &nbsp;the city&#39;s restriction of high-capacity magazines. &nbsp;Meanwhile, the vast majority of Chicago&#39;s gun-related crimes are committed using handguns.&nbsp;</p><p>The other new measure creates school safety or &quot;Safe Passage&quot;&nbsp;zones, defined as the area within 1,000 ft of a school.</p><p>&quot;We all have a role to play in building safe communities, and that includes keeping weapons designed for the battlefield off our streets and punishing those who carry or use weapons around school children with stiff penalties,&quot;&nbsp;Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement.</p><p>The city&#39;s move follows the state&#39;s vote to&nbsp;legalize carrying concealed weapons&nbsp;last week.&nbsp;A federal appeals court found Illinois&#39; previous concealed carry ban unconstitutional. The state was the last in the U.S. to impose such a prohibition.&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-confirm-500-murders-2012-104615">Depending on who you ask</a>, the city&#39;s homicide numbers can vary, but according to the RedEye, there were&nbsp;<strong>516&nbsp;</strong>homicides last year,&nbsp;<strong>441</strong>&nbsp;of them inflicted by guns. And while gun crimes and homicides have become almost synonymous in Chicago, the&nbsp;number of <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/2013-chicago-murders/timeline?mon=7">deaths</a> often masks the city&#39;s overall problem.&nbsp;</p><p>According to police data,&nbsp;the number of shootings&nbsp;<a href="https://data.cityofchicago.org/Public-Safety/2012-shootings/24f8-4jii">totaled&nbsp;<strong>1,887</strong>&nbsp;last year</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>The data also show assaults with guns &ndash; when a person is threatened with a weapon but not shot &ndash;&nbsp;<a href="https://data.cityofchicago.org/Public-Safety/Assaults-with-guns-in-2012/sq6s-sdyy">totaled&nbsp;<strong>2,077</strong></a>&nbsp;last year.&nbsp;<a href="https://data.cityofchicago.org/Public-Safety/Chicago-Robberies-for-2012/nbaj-2wmy">Armed robberies</a> alone topped&nbsp;<strong>5,389</strong>. There were&nbsp;<a href="https://data.cityofchicago.org/Public-Safety/Sexual-Assaults-for-2012/4ji5-jzpn"><strong>1,334&nbsp;</strong>sexual assaults</a>, <strong>101&nbsp;</strong>of which were committed at gunpoint.</p><p>Where does unlawful possession or use of a gun fall under? Well, the city keeps tabs on weapons violations &ndash; arrests for using guns or other firearms unlawfully and/or&nbsp;possessing a banned weapon. That total rounded to&nbsp;<strong><a href="https://data.cityofchicago.org/Public-Safety/2012-Weapons-violations/jzkm-qabk">2,929</a>&nbsp;</strong>reported incidents.</p><p>As the City Council grapples with how to address assault weapons in a post-Newtown political setting, the legislation still doesn&#39;t seem to address Chicago&#39;s overall gun violence problem, or the issues that contribute&nbsp;to it &ndash; education, high unemployment and stagnant economic mobility.</p><p>The Chicago Police Department has repeatedly made the case that overall crime has been declining historically, which is true, but some of that decline can be attributed to the overall drop in the city&#39;s population the past two decades. Regardless, shootings in Chicago dropped from a 2001 high of<strong> 4,176</strong> aggravated batteries with a gun/firearm to<strong> 1,887</strong> last year.</p><p>Chicago&#39;s crime data does distinguish handguns from other firearms, but it doesn&#39;t specify whether the &quot;other firearm&quot; involved was an M16 assault rifle or, say, a hunting rifle.</p><p>Of the city&#39;s 5,389 armed robberies, only 98 of them were with a firearm not classified as a handgun. All of the city&#39;s sexual assaults at gun point were done with a handgun.</p><p>While automatic and assault rifles have been the focus of federal legislative efforts, Chicago largely has a handgun problem. And that handgun problem goes well&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/2013-chicago-murders/timeline?mon=7">beyond the homicide numbers</a>. &nbsp;</p><p>Last year&#39;s homicides totaled 516, with <strong>441 </strong>of those resulting in a death by gunshot. There were still <strong>11,886</strong> gun related crimes in Chicago that didn&#39;t end in a homicide.</p><p><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;">&mdash;Elliott Ramos is a data reporter and Web producer for WBEZ. Follow him on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitter.com/ChicagoEl" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150); outline: 0px;">@ChicagoEl</a>&nbsp;email:<a href="mailto:eramos@wbez.org" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150); outline: 0px;">eramos@wbez.org</a>.</em></p><p><strong><a name="map"></a>Gun Crimes in Chicago</strong><br /><em>The map below shows crimes in Chicago that involved guns. The homicide data was created and cleaned up by <a href="http://homicides.redeyechicago.com/">Tracy Swartz of the Chicago RedEye</a>. Obtaining homicide data often involves combining Chicago Police and Cook County Medical Examiner data to obtain location and cause of death. Such a data set is not released by the CPD or city via the public data portal and must be obtained&nbsp;</em>separately&nbsp;<em>and cleaned up manually. Sortable map template available via <a href="http://derekeder.com/searchable_map_template/">Derek Eder of Open City</a>.</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="1350" scrolling="no" src="http://interactive.wbez.org/maps/gun-crimes/" width="960"></iframe></p></p> Wed, 17 Jul 2013 12:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/data-behind-chicagos-gun-crimes-108092 Student chefs to serve mayor lunch, compete nationally http://www.wbez.org/news/student-chefs-serve-mayor-lunch-compete-nationally-107559 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/CPS cooking.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Five Chicago high school students are cooking up a gourmet lunch for Mayor Rahm Emanuel today, before they head to Washington D.C. to compete in a national cooking competition.</p><p>The &ldquo;Cooking up Change&rdquo; competition, put on by the Healthy Schools Campaign, asked students to create a meal using only ingredients available in their school cafeteria.</p><p>In November, Washington High School students took the top prize in the Chicago competition with a dish they call &ldquo;Chicken Rancheros, Elotes and Fruta de Tropico.&rdquo;</p><p>On Monday, they will go up against Bruce Randolph School (Denver, Colo.), Sandalwood High School (Jacksonville, Fla.), West Adams Prep (Los Angeles, Calif.), Craigmont High School (Memphis, Tenn.), Valley High School (Orange County, Calif.), Beaumont Career and Technical High School (St. Louis, Mo.) and The Career Center (Winston-Salem, N.C.).</p><p>Vanessa Arnold, a junior at Washington High School, said it took a lot of experimentation to come up with a winning dish.</p><p>&ldquo;We started off with a bunch of things that we didn&rsquo;t know what we were doing with and we really didn&rsquo;t like,&rdquo; Arnold said. &ldquo;This is our home cooking, this is from our culture. We took what we thought we knew best and made it into something that we wanted and we liked and we thought other people would like in our lunchroom.&rdquo;</p><p>Her classmate, Mariana Nava, also a junior, said the limited ingredient list was a challenge.</p><p>&ldquo;It was hard because you can&rsquo;t use salt or butter and everything tastes good with butter, but it doesn&rsquo;t always have to be a fat to be good,&rdquo; Nava said.</p><p>Both Nava and Arnold want to go to culinary school when they graduate, but they said the culinary program at Washington is popular among a lot of students.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Everybody has to eat and you&rsquo;re going to learn how to do it the right way here,&rdquo; Arnold said. &ldquo;Even if you don&rsquo;t want to do this for the rest of your life, you have this behind you in order to do anything that you want.&rdquo;</p><p>CPS offers culinary arts programs in 20 of the city&rsquo;s high schools serving about 2,200 students. About 85 percent of students who go through the program end up in industry-related careers or go on to post-secondary education, said David Blackmon, the head of CPS&rsquo;s Hospitality and Culinary Arts programs..</p><p>He said students who go through the three-year program get the chance to work in some of the city&rsquo;s top restaurants, including Rick Bayless&rsquo; Frontera Grill and Bill Kim&rsquo;s Urban Belly, and annually, students receive about $1 million in scholarships to attend culinary schools, iincluding&nbsp; Le Cordon Bleu, Washburne Culinary Institute and The Culinary Institute of America.</p><p>The winning recipes created by students at Washington and other high schools across the country will also be served at the U.S. House of Representatives cafeteria next week.</p><p><em>Becky Vevea is a WBEZ education reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/WBEZeducation" target="_blank">@WBEZeducation</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 06 Jun 2013 07:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/student-chefs-serve-mayor-lunch-compete-nationally-107559 CPS chief: 'It’s time to turn the page' http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-chief-it%E2%80%99s-time-turn-page-107401 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/bbb.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It&rsquo;s been a year for the history books in Chicago Public Schools, and that&rsquo;s exactly where schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said she wants it to stay.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Whatever has happened this past year, it&rsquo;s done,&rdquo; Byrd-Bennett said Tuesday at a City Club luncheon. &ldquo;The collective bargaining agreements are settled. There&rsquo;s a moratorium on school closures for the next five years. And it is the beginning of a new school year in a few short months.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">It&rsquo;s been less than a week since <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-board-votes-close-50-schools-107294">the vote to close a record 50 public schools</a>, but Byrd-Bennett said it&rsquo;s time to move forward.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We are putting the past behind us,&rdquo; Byrd-Bennett said. &ldquo;It is time to turn the page.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">But not everyone is ready to turn the page. The decision to close the most public schools in a single year in American history has been met with fierce opposition from community groups, parents and labor unions.</p><p dir="ltr">The Chicago Teachers Union has already filed two lawsuits to stop the closings, and they plan to file another Wednesday. That third suit seeks to stop 10 of the 50 schools from closing. CTU spokeswoman Stephanie Gadlin would not provide a copy of the lawsuit or a list of schools being named.</p><p dir="ltr">The current school year isn&rsquo;t only making history with a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-teachers-vote-end-strike-102502">seven-day</a> <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-teachers-strike-after-talks-fail-102287">teachers&rsquo; strike</a> and 50 school closures. CPS officials also announced Tuesday they&rsquo;re projecting a record-high graduation rate. According to district data, the graduation rate is expected to hit 63 percent, up from 48 percent a decade ago.</p><p dir="ltr">The graduation rate counts students who have graduated within five years of starting high school. This year&rsquo;s rate counts students who started high school in 2008 and will have earned enough credits to earn their diploma by the end of the summer in 2013.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Every child who graduates, we should see as a victory for Chicago,&rdquo; Byrd-Bennett said. &ldquo;When a child succeeds, it represents our collective success.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The graduates included in this year&rsquo;s figures would have started high school under former schools CEO and now U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>COMPLETE AUDIO of BBB at City Club</strong></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F94365847" width="100%"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr"><em>Becky Vevea is a WBEZ education reporter. Follow her <a href="http://www.twitter.com/WBEZeducation">@WBEZeducation</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 28 May 2013 16:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-chief-it%E2%80%99s-time-turn-page-107401 CPS board votes to close 50 schools http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-board-votes-close-50-schools-107294 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F93490666&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F93434415&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>The Chicago Board of Education voted to close 50 public schools Wednesday, &nbsp;the largest round of school closings in recent American history. &nbsp;</p><p>Before the vote, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis told board members, &ldquo;I personally feel you&rsquo;re on the wrong side of history, and history will judge you.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">But after two hours of final <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/education/closing-50-schools-both-sides-claim-moral-high-ground-chicago-school-closings-debate">pleas </a>by parents, teachers, aldermen and activists to save the schools, and after several raucous disruptions to the proceedings, board members voted unanimously to close 49 of the schools. &nbsp;One school, Von Humboldt, was closed on divided vote.</p><p>In addition to closing 50 schools, the board &nbsp;voted to replace the entire staff at five grammar schools &nbsp;and have 23 schools share 11 buildings.</p><div><em><strong>Listen: WBEZ visits two of the spared schools</strong></em></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F93432008" width="100%"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr">Chicago Public Schools officials have said the closures are necessary to operate the district more efficiently. They unveiled <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-proposes-closing-53-elementary-schools-firing-staff-another-6-106202">a list of 54 schools they wanted to close</a> in March, after months of public hearings the district says attracted 20,000 people. School officials originally identified more than 300 schools as &ldquo;underutilized.&rdquo; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Despite opposition in the streets and at public hearings &nbsp;&nbsp;and some critical reports by hearing officers, that list of 54 closings held--until the eleventh hour. &nbsp;On Wednesday, Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett withdrew her recommendation to close four schools: Garvey, Ericson, Mahalia Jackson and Manierre. &nbsp;Byrd-Bennett also recommended delaying the closure of Canter Middle School for one year and sparing Barton Elementary from having &nbsp;its staff fired.</p><p dir="ltr">Ultimately, board members voted on more than 100 different proposals to massively restructure the school system next year and add to the programming in schools slated to take in students from closing schools. &nbsp;&nbsp;The one school with a divided vote, Von Humboldt Elementary, &nbsp;was closed on a 4-2 vote. Dissenting votes came from Board Vice President Jesse Ruiz and Carlos Azcoitia.</p><p>In testimony before the vote, Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) pressed board members to preserve Von Humboldt &nbsp;as the surviving CPS school in the East Humboldt Park community.</p><p>&ldquo;I know you don&rsquo;t want your legacy to be that you closed public schools in a neighborhood and have left zero schools remaining. &nbsp;I know you don&rsquo;t want that, board members,&rdquo; Moreno said.</p><p><strong>Listen: Aldermen speak against school closings in their wards</strong></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F93434750" width="100%"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr">The closings, turnarounds and co-locations will affect roughly 40,000 students and 120 schools, mostly on the South and West sides of the city. Eighty percent of the affected students are African American.</p><p dir="ltr">CPS officials made several last minute tweaks to the overall plan. More closing schools will get busing to their new school, bringing the total number of schools being provided transportation to 15. The additional schools are: Dodge (to Morton), Melody (to Delano), Parkman (to Sherwood), Wentworth (to Altgeld) and West Pullman (to Haley). &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">After the vote, board member Henry Bienen said many of the changes were made in response to the concerns of board members. Jesse Ruiz, who sat on the Illinois State Board of Education for several years before being appointed to the Chicago Board of Education, described it as the most difficult vote of his life. &nbsp;</p><p><strong>Politics and education</strong></p><p dir="ltr">Aldermen have no official say in what goes on at CPS, but many have been lobbying for months to keep &nbsp;schools in their wards open. &nbsp;In addition to Moreno, eight others &nbsp;showed up Wednesday to fight for schools in their communities.</p><p dir="ltr">Ald. &nbsp;Bob Fioretti (2nd), who has been at many of the public hearings over the past five months, said he almost didn&rsquo;t show up to testify. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m worried that all those hearings were a charade. The decisions were already made,&rdquo; he said.</p><p dir="ltr">Shortly after the meeting, the Chicago Teachers Union lambasted &nbsp;mayoral &nbsp;control of the public schools, and announced a new effort to unseat Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other elected officials because of the school closings vote.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We will start registering people to become deputy registrars. We&rsquo;re doing training&hellip; because clearly we have to change the political landscape in this city,&rdquo; CTU president Karen Lewis said after the vote.</p><p dir="ltr">Lewis said allowing the mayor to control the public schools is an &ldquo;absolute failed experiment and nightmare.&rdquo;</p><p>CPS officials, for their part, &nbsp;have repeatedly said an elected Board of Education would only inject more politics into public education.</p><p><strong>Making schools better</strong></p><p dir="ltr">Chicago has been closing schools and opening new ones for more than a decade. But, overall, academic performance has not dramatically improved.</p><p>Still, board members, CPS officials and Mayor Emanuel maintain that closing schools will get students out of under-resourced, failing schools.</p><p>&ldquo;I know this is incredibly difficult, but I firmly believe the most important thing we can do as a city is provide the next generation with a brighter future,&rdquo; &nbsp;Emanuel said in a statement Wednesday evening.</p><p>A <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/few-chicago-school-closings-will-move-kids-top-performing-schools-107261">WBEZ analysis</a> of school performance &nbsp;shows only three closings sending kids to a top-performing school. About one-third will send kids to equally low-performing schools. This was the case for three of the schools removed from the closings list at the last minute&mdash;Manierre, Mahalia Jackson and Garvey.</p><p>To help keep the promise that children would be going to better schools, the Board &nbsp;of Education approved significant investments for schools that will receive children from closing schools. &nbsp;Many of the receiving schools will get extra money and positions next year to implement new programs. Schools getting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs will receive $376,000 in startup funds and two extra positions, &nbsp;and schools implementing International Baccalaureate (IB) programs will get $255,000 and two positions. One receiving school, Haley Elementary, will get $237,000 to start a fine and performing arts program.</p><p dir="ltr">The Board last month approved spending $329 million to fix up the remaining school buildings; &nbsp;$217 million of that will go directly to schools impacted by closings, turnarounds and co-locations. The total cost will be financed <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/education/cps-will-go-further-debt-pay-upgrades-receiving-schools-106627" target="_blank">by selling bonds</a>.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Closing schools, opening schools</strong></p><p dir="ltr"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F93490666&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="719px"></iframe>Buried in the school shake-ups voted on today were plans to <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/proportion-privately-run-chicago-public-schools-increase-104303">open 13 new schools</a>&nbsp;and a handful of alternative programs. Many of those have already been approved by the board.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The questions that I keep hearing over and over again from my constituents, is, &lsquo;How do we close schools, while simultaneously opening charter schools?&rsquo; and &lsquo;Why are we closing schools to crowd schools to then eventually open charter schools?&rsquo;&rdquo; said Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th), who only has one charter school in his ward. Two of his ward&rsquo;s schools, Courtenay and McPherson, are affected by the closings.</p><p dir="ltr">But a number of charter school parents, with a newly formed group that calls itself the Charter Parents United (CPU), spoke on Wednesday to ask for more funding. They claim charters are not funded equally with other public schools. &nbsp;CPS increased funding to charters this past year and officials have said the schools are funded fairly. &nbsp;</p><p>While they spoke mainly about funding, some of the charter school parents in attendance &nbsp;said they felt attacks on their children&rsquo;s schools are unfair.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We&rsquo;re tired of being blamed for the choice that we made,&rdquo; said Antoinette Sea-Gerald, a parent from Noble Street Charter School &ndash; Gary Comer College Prep. &ldquo;Please, please, please continue to let us have our choice.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>&quot;The school&rsquo;s staying open?&quot;</strong></p><p dir="ltr">Before school started Wednesday, parents outside of Manierre Elementary were all smiles, after hearing the news that their school would remain open. &nbsp;Parent Charae Williams was walking her daughter to preschool when she heard the news from a WBEZ reporter.</p><p>&quot;It&rsquo;s going to stay open?&quot; Williams asked. &ldquo;Ooh, that is good! That&rsquo;s amazing. I&rsquo;m just so happy now.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I got a text from another parent&hellip;and I just immediately started crying,&rdquo; said parent Shereena Allison. &ldquo;It was a happy experience, but I hate the fact that all of the schools (were) not included in it.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.5;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><em>Follow <a href="http://twitter.com/WBEZeducation" target="_blank">@WBEZeducation</a> on Twitter for live updates.</em></p><p><strong>Affected schools: Closures, turnarounds and receiving schools</strong></p><table border="0" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1" style="width: 620px;"><tbody><tr><td><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/closurekey2.jpg" title="" /></div></div></td></tr><tr><td><div id="map-canvas"><a name="map"></a></div></td></tr><tr><td><form action=""><a name="list"></a>Number of rows to show: <select onchange="setOption('pageSize', parseInt(this.value, 10))"><option value="5">5</option><option value="10">10</option><option value="15">15</option><option value="20">20</option><option value="30">30</option><option value="40">40</option><option selected="selected" value="0">50</option><option value="80">80</option><option value="127">ALL</option></select></form><br /><div id="table">&nbsp;</div></td></tr></tbody></table><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 22 May 2013 05:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-board-votes-close-50-schools-107294 Lincoln Park High School students walk out in support of teachers http://www.wbez.org/news/lincoln-park-high-school-students-walk-out-support-teachers-107019 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/protest2.jpg" title="Junior Oswaldi Gomez led Lincoln Park High School in chants of support for their teachers. Eight teachers recently learned they will not returning when the school is converted to a wall-to-wall International Baccalaureat. (WBEZ/Katie O’Brien)" /></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F90656830" width="100%"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr">On Friday morning, hundreds of teenagers poured out of Lincoln Park High School and onto Armitage Avenue.</p><p>To be fair, they warned their teachers beforehand.</p><p>The participating students wrote a letter explaining that they were going to walk out for a number of reasons--but mostly, they walked out for their teachers.<br />Before doing so, they presented a letter explaining why they planned to walk out.</p><p>&ldquo;We want to show that we do care about our education and we wish to have a say in it,&rdquo; it read. &ldquo;We have been informed that many teachers are being fired so that newer teachers can be hired and we don&rsquo;t want to sit back and let CPS make a business of our education.&rdquo;</p><p>Senior Abina Redmond was among those gathered.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re protesting the firing of our teachers...eight so far,&rdquo; she explained.</p><p>In December, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that Lincoln Park would be converted into a wall-to-wall International Baccalaureate school the following school year.</p><p>IB programs were originally crafted for children of diplomats--the rigorous curriculum was designed to get students college-ready.</p><p>Currently, 20 percent of Lincoln Park&rsquo;s students participate in the school&rsquo;s IB program.</p><p>When the school goes wall-to-wall next year, all of its 2100-plus students will have some level of IB coursework.</p><p>But it seems not all of their teachers will be joining them.</p><p>Any time a Chicago Public School&rsquo;s academic focus is changed, teachers re-apply for positions. Traditionally, principals have had complete authority over who stays and who goes.</p><p>But the Chicago Teachers Union asked CPS to make a deal: CPS agreed to let teachers with exceptional rating stay--those with a satisfactory ranking or lower had to reapply.</p><p>Earlier this spring, 128 teachers received offers--eight were recently rescinded.<br />The letters went out prematurely, before anyone ran the deal by the Board of Education. According to a CPS spokesperson, the board ultimately did not support requiring principals to accept candidates that they found unsuitable.</p><p>The same spokesperson added that the district is working to place the eight teachers whose offers were rescinded.</p><p>Junior Oswaldl Gomez spoke into a megaphone as he led his fellow students in chants. He then explained that the protest was about much more than their school, their teachers. Because, he said, it&rsquo;s not just their school that&rsquo;s changing.</p><p>&ldquo;Our brothers, our sisters, they&rsquo;re losing their teachers--whether they are five or they are 18,&rdquo; Gomez said.</p><p>Principal Michael Boraz sent an email in response to the walkout. He wrote, &ldquo;It is imperative for me to make decisions that are in the best interests of all our students and their academic success.&rdquo;</p><p>In another part of the city on Friday morning, students at Williams Middle School staged a sit-in at the school Friday morning to protest the closure of their school. Next year, Williams will close and students will go to Drake, which will relocate in the Williams building.</p><p><em>Katie O&rsquo;Brien is a WBEZ reporter and producer. Follow her <a href="http://www.twitter.com/katieobez">@katieobez&nbsp;</a></em></p></p> Fri, 03 May 2013 19:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/lincoln-park-high-school-students-walk-out-support-teachers-107019 CPS quietly lowers its estimated cost savings from closing 54 schools http://www.wbez.org/news/education/cps-quietly-lowers-its-estimated-cost-savings-closing-54-schools-106964 <p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s school district will not be saving as much by closing 54 schools as it originally told the public.</p><p>When <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-proposes-closing-53-elementary-schools-firing-staff-another-6-106202" target="_blank">it announced the closings</a>, Chicago Public Schools said it would save $560 million in capital expenses over the next 10 years by closing schools and avoiding repairs and upgrades on those buildings.</p><p>Now, the district is revising that cost savings number downward. It says it was off by $122 million, or 20 percent. The real 10-year cost savings figure is $437.8 million, CPS now says.</p><p>It made the correction on <a href="http://cps.edu/About_CPS/Policies_and_guidelines/Documents/CPSDraftEducationalFacilitiesMasterPlan.pdf">page 36 of a 457-page document </a>that lays out the district&rsquo;s facilities plan for the next decade.</p><p>Chicago Public Schools says it made an &ldquo;honest mistake&rdquo; when adding numbers, and had plugged in some schools that didn&rsquo;t belong there. But the overall cost savings is also being revised downward because schools that had not been assessed for years are getting thorough capital-needs reviews.</p><p>CPS had made estimates of how much it would take to repair and upgrade individual school buildings&mdash;and thus, how much it could save by closing those buildings. A CPS official said originally the district budgeted in central air conditioning to cost estimates. That&#39;s been switched to window units.</p><p>Parents, activists, and even aldermen have complained that the district&rsquo;s estimated cost for fixing their schools is inflated. Parents at Trumbull Elementary in Edgewater, for instance, got notes home in March saying it would cost $16.3 million to repair and upgrade their school. It was one of the reasons listed for closing the school.</p><p>&ldquo;The amount that is indicated is significantly higher than we would actually spend if in fact you were going to keep that school open and invest,&rdquo; <a href="https://soundcloud.com/wbez/cps-proposed-closing-4?in=wbez/sets/cps-public-meetings-hearings" target="_blank">Alderman Patrick O&#39;Connor said at an April 9 public meeting</a> on the proposed closing of Trumbull.&nbsp; &ldquo;Clearly, if you wanted to make it top of the line, $16 million would be a nice investment.&nbsp; But if you just wish to maintain the school and keep it open, you&rsquo;re more in the area of $4 or $5 (million),&rdquo; O&rsquo;Connor said.</p><p>CPS provided WBEZ data showing it now believes the cost to update Trumbull is $10.99 million. Others schools&#39; estimates also dropped.</p><p>CPS officials say they discovered their mistakes after repeated questions from WBEZ and <a href="http://www.catalyst-chicago.org/">Catalyst Chicago Magazine</a> about how capital cost-savings were calculated.</p><p>A top CPS official said it&rsquo;s &ldquo;intuitive&rdquo; that closing buildings will save money. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s clearly something that will save us money. That&rsquo;s indisputable,&rdquo; he said. The district&rsquo;s press office allowed reporters to speak with him only on background, without printing his name.</p><p>The official said it&rsquo;s not overly important whether the savings from &ldquo;avoided&rdquo; capital costs are $560 million or $438 million, because the amounts that matter are the school-by-school savings.&nbsp; He said board members, who are slated to vote May 22 on the proposed school closings, will be briefed on updated numbers.</p><p><em>Linda Lutton is a WBEZ education reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZeducation" target="_blank">@WBEZeducation</a></em></p></p> Thu, 02 May 2013 22:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/education/cps-quietly-lowers-its-estimated-cost-savings-closing-54-schools-106964