WBEZ | school closings http://www.wbez.org/tags/school-closings Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago school board to consider charter relocations, renewals http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-school-board-consider-charter-relocations-renewals-112083 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/cappleman.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago Board of Education is expected to vote Wednesday on proposals that would expand enrollment at several charter schools and move some into different buildings.</p><p>In one case, Rowe Elementary would move into the old Peabody elementary school, a building shuttered during the 2013 mass closings. The district no longer owns the Peabody building. If it approves the move, the district would have to provide the public charter school with extra money to cover rent and maintenance costs at Peabody.</p><p>&ldquo;(Chicago Public Schools) promised to not only the aldermen, the state legislature, and the public, that they would not allow charter schools into closed school buildings,&rdquo; said Martin Ritter, an organizer with the Chicago Teachers Union. &ldquo;CPS has a serious problem with its credibility.&rdquo;</p><p>Ritter and hundreds of others showed up to a public hearing last week at CPS headquarters. However, the move of Rowe to Peabody was not the most hotly contested.</p><p>Principals, parents, and several elected officials spoke against a proposal to move The Noble Academy to 640 W. Irving Park Rd. Ald. James Cappleman (46th) said that move would &ldquo;suck the lifeblood&rdquo; out of the area&rsquo;s existing neighborhood high schools. If the move is approved, The Noble Academy would add an eighth public high school to the North Side neighborhoods of Edgewater, Uptown, Lakeview, Andersonville and Rogers Park.</p><p>&ldquo;Our schools have a capacity of about 7,400,&rdquo; said Senn High School Principal Susan Lofton, referring to Senn, and nearby Sullivan, Lakeview, Uplift and Amundsen high schools.</p><p>Eleven elected officials signed a letter in opposition to the move. Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th), whose ward includes Amundsen and Lakeview, was one of them.</p><p>&ldquo;When you add a charter school to that mix and you have per pupil funding where dollars follow students, you once again add a market for additional seats where one didn&rsquo;t exist,&rdquo; Pawar said at the hearing.</p><p>The school district is currently facing a $1.1 billion deficit.</p><p>Matt McCabe, director of government affairs for the Noble Street Charter School network, said he doesn&rsquo;t think the school would impact enrollment at nearby schools.</p><p>&ldquo;We don&rsquo;t see it as any sort of detriment to the other schools in the area,&rdquo; McCabe said. &ldquo;Because facilities are such a challenge generally, you look high and low and wide and far to try to find the best option for kids. This is what came out as the best option.&rdquo;</p><p><a href="http://thenobleacademy.noblenetwork.org/">The Noble Academy</a>, like other charter schools, enrolls students from across the city, &ldquo;from 106 elementary schools and 45 different zip codes,&rdquo; McCabe said. Currently, the school is using temporary space next door to Noble&rsquo;s downtown campus, Muchin College Prep, but school officials said they need a &ldquo;permanent home.&rdquo;</p><p>In addition to the proposals to move Noble and Rowe, the Board is also <a href="http://www.cpsboe.org/content/documents/may_27_2015_public_agenda_to_print_2.pdf">expected to vote</a> on the following:</p><ul><li><p>Delaying the opening of three more alternative schools run by for-profit companies: Ombudsman, Pathways, and Magic Johnson Bridgescape. The Board will also consider providing an additional $2.2 million in start-up funding to these three operators in spite of the delays.</p></li><li><p>Closing Catalyst-Howland Charter School. According to the board report, Catalyst officials voluntarily proposed the closure of that campus. It was previously <a href="http://catalyst-chicago.org/2013/10/five-charters-put-warning-list-face-potential-shut-down/">placed on academic warning</a>.</p></li><li><p>Rescinding a previous approval to allow UNO Charter School Network to open two more schools.</p></li><li><p>Rescinding a previous approval to allow Concept Schools to open another Horizon Science Academy on the South Side. CPS halted plans to open the school last fall <a href="http://chicago.suntimes.com/chicago-politics/7/71/160694/cps-scraps-south-side-campus-for-controversial-charter-schoo">amid a federal probe</a> into Concept&rsquo;s operations.</p></li><li><p>Extending six school turnaround contracts (at Dulles, Curtis, Deneen, Bradwell, Johnson, and Phillips) with the Academy for Urban School Leadership through 2018.</p></li><li><p>Five-year charter contract renewals with the Academy for Global Citizenship, Erie, Urban Prep &ndash; Bronzeville, Rowe, Legacy, and Youth Connections Charter Schools.</p></li><li><p>Three-year charter contract renewals with EPIC Academy, Galapagos, Instituto Health Sciences Academy, Urban Prep &ndash; Englewood, Urban Prep &ndash; West, and Chicago Tech Academy.</p></li></ul></p> Mon, 25 May 2015 09:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-school-board-consider-charter-relocations-renewals-112083 Charters might move into closed CPS schools http://www.wbez.org/news/charters-might-move-closed-cps-schools-112063 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/panorama.jpg" style="height: 219px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div><p><em>A LEARN charter school (right) rents space across the street from the now vacant Calhoun North school (left). Chicago Public Schools paid $67,151 in utilities for Calhoun North from Sept. 2013 to July 2014, according to data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act Request. At the same time, CPS pays LEARN $750 per student to offset rent and other facility costs. (WBEZ/Becky Vevea)</em></p><p>There are 40 school buildings <a href="http://cps.edu/Pages/schoolrepurposing.aspx">still sitting vacant</a> across Chicago since the mass closings of 2013. Just two have been sold and the rest cost Chicagoans $2 million annually to maintain.</p><p>These schools are slow to sell for a number of reasons. Many <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/school-closures-only-add-blight-some-chicago-neighborhoods-107345">aren&rsquo;t in thriving neighborhoods</a>. The buildings are old. There aren&rsquo;t a lot of obvious alternate uses.</p><p>But one big reason the empty schools continue to <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/visit-shuttered-chicago-school-shows-all-that%E2%80%99s-left-behind-108419">collect dust</a> and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/vacant-schools-philadelphia-cautionary-tale-chicago-105570">fall into disrepair</a> is this: CPS chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who is <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-training-academy-cooperating-federal-investigation-district-111891">currently on leave</a>, made a promise that eliminated a whole group of potential buyers.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Map: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/charters-might-move-closed-cps-schools-112063#map" target="_blank">How close are charter schools to vacant CPS buildings?</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>&ldquo;We currently cannot sell any of the properties to a charter school,&rdquo; said Mike Nardini, the district&rsquo;s real estate agent. &ldquo;Does it limit our buyers? Only to the extent that it can&rsquo;t be a charter any more than it could be a nightclub.&rdquo;</p><p>The promise made sense at the time considering one of the main arguments for shutting down 50 schools was to downsize the district. CPS officials argued the school system was operating inefficiently with too many schools and not enough students enrolled.</p><p>But the Chicago Board of Education <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-approves-seven-new-charter-schools-109558">continues to authorize new charter schools</a>. In the past, charters often <a href="http://www.wbez.org/content/mapping-10-years-school-closures">moved into closed school buildings</a>, but that upset many community people, who saw the publicly financed, privately operated charters as replacing traditional neighborhood schools.</p><p>CPS spokesman Bill McCaffrey said Wednesday the Board could be convinced to change its mind.</p><p>&ldquo;If a community were to determine that they do want a charter school in that closed site, then that is something that we would consider,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>McCaffrey was very careful to say officials would break the promise only if the community supports it, not because it might save money.</p><p>&ldquo;Our first consideration isn&rsquo;t the financial implication,&rdquo; he added.</p><p>But saving money is <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-cps-budget-crisis-met-20150422-story.html#page=1">the biggest problem</a> CPS has right now, and the &lsquo;no-charter&rsquo; promise complicates things. Charter schools that are in private buildings currently get $750 per student from CPS to offset rent and other maintenance costs. This is commonly known as a &ldquo;facilities reimbursement.&rdquo; &nbsp;And while these real estate deals can be complicated, the bottom line is that Chicago taxpayers end up paying extra to charter schools who are forced to rent on the private market. &nbsp;And those same taxpayers also are paying to maintain buildings the city already owns, but isn&rsquo;t using.</p><p>&ldquo;These are assets that we have in our city that are paid for typically and what we don&rsquo;t need are more vacant buildings,&rdquo; said Andrew Broy, executive director of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools.</p><p>In many cases, the charters and the vacant buildings are just blocks away from one another. In Garfield Park, a LEARN charter school rents space across the street from the now vacant Calhoun North school. In Woodlawn, a University of Chicago Charter School is planning to <a href="http://hpherald.com/2015/03/09/u-of-c-planning-new-building-for-woodlawn-charter-school/">build a brand new school</a> on a plot of land right next to a CPS-owned building where it currently operates.</p><p>It all speaks to a very basic and fundamental question that no one&mdash;CPS, the mayor, city aldermen&mdash;has grappled with: Exactly how many public schools does Chicago need? And where should they be?</p><p>When asked after Wednesday&rsquo;s City Council meeting, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that&rsquo;s not his job.</p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s something CPS will do based on the student population, patterns of growth,&rdquo; Emanuel said. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s a fair question, but not the only question. Are the schools that are open achieving educational excellence?&rdquo;</p><p>CPS is holding public hearings Thursday night on <a href="http://cps.edu/Calendar/Documents/05212015_MMAPublicHearing.pdf">new requests</a> by charter schools to move to different locations. Most have plans to move into private buildings, but at least one, <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-charter-school-closed-building-met-20150520-story.html">The Chicago Tribune reports</a>, wants to move into the closed Peabody Elementary school on the West Side. Peabody <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-school-closing-brief-met-20141022-story.html">was sold last fall</a>.</p><p><em>Becky Vevea is an education reporter for WBEZ. You can follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/WBEZeducation">@WBEZeducation</a>.<a name="map"></a></em></p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="800" scrolling="no" src="http://interactive.wbez.org/maps/charterbuildings" style="float: right; clear: right;" width="620"></iframe></p></p> Wed, 20 May 2015 14:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/charters-might-move-closed-cps-schools-112063 Back to class after cold days http://www.wbez.org/news/back-class-after-cold-days-109480 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/8464704158_dc3cb9c60a_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Temperatures have finally climbed above zero and that means children all across the Greater Chicago area are climbing out of bed this morning.<br /><br />After being closed the past two days for extreme cold, classes at Chicago Public Schools and a number of suburban districts are back in session.<br /><br />Many students and school staff may have seen the extended break as late Christmas present, but Illinois law requires cancelled days to be made up later in the school year. Students must attend school for a minimum 176 days.<br /><br />Usually, districts will add days before summer break, but some will work them in during the year instead.<br /><br />&ldquo;People argue that in June the instructional merit of those days is lost,&rdquo; said Karen Geddeis, spokeswoman for Glenbrook High School District 225. &ldquo;These days are built in when they instructionally make sense.&rdquo;<br /><br />Three years ago, Geddeis said, the district started working emergency days in throughout the year.&nbsp; That means the past two off days will be made up next Monday, January 13, and after spring break, on March 31.<br /><br />Niles Township High School District 219 will do something similar. Spokesman Jim Szczepaniak said the district&rsquo;s three high schools will be in session next Friday, January 17th, when they otherwise would be off, which helps with upcoming finals. The other will be made up on Friday, June 6th.<br /><br />&ldquo;We&rsquo;re talking about our final exam schedule,&rdquo; Szczepaniak said.&nbsp; &ldquo;We want to make sure we give students and teachers as much instructional time and preparation time as possible.&rdquo;<br /><br />Chicago Public Schools spokesman Joel Hood said the missed days will be made up, even though CPS extended its school year to 180 days, above the 176 required by the state. Officials are still determining when they will schedule the make-up days.<br /><br />In Indiana, state education officials say schools won&rsquo;t be required to make up these missed days.&nbsp; Department of Education spokesman Daniel Altman said all districts can get a waiver for these two days specifically. Normally, the state of Indiana requires students attend school for 180 days.</p><p><em>Becky Vevea is a producer for WBEZ. She tweets from <a href="http://twitter.com/WBEZeducation" target="_blank">@WBEZeducation</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 08 Jan 2014 10:44:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/back-class-after-cold-days-109480 School's beloved orchestra survives closing, but future budget cuts loom http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/schools-beloved-orchestra-survives-closing-future-budget-cuts-loom-109456 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Screen Shot 2014-01-02 at 11.32.08 AM.png" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-607daf24-53ff-fdef-8dc6-9adf8da2275c">It was a year of change for the Chicago Public Schools&mdash;nearly 50 schools shut their doors over the summer, leaving behind <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/what-happened-all-stuff-chicagos-closed-schools-109360">books, desks, and even, an orange pick-up truck</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">But what happened to the less tangible things inside the closing schools? WBEZ&rsquo;s Becky Vevea visited a school that managed to save a popular program from a nearby closed school.</p><p dir="ltr">The orchestra at Lafayette Elementary <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/lafayette-elementary-string-orchestra-tunes-despite-uncertain-future-107255">grabbed headlines</a> last spring when the Chicago Board of Education was deciding what schools to shutter.</p><p dir="ltr">Just four days before the Board <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-board-votes-close-50-schools-107294">voted to shutter Lafayette and 49 other schools</a>, Artus Weible, the music teacher at Lafayette, directed his string ensemble on the sidewalk along Augusta Boulevard in Humboldt Park.</p><p dir="ltr">It was a Saturday in May and Weible still had no idea what would happen to the program after the closings.</p><p dir="ltr">But just before the holiday break, Weible stood on the stage in front of a standing-room-only crowd at the Chopin Elementary auditorium.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;This is one of our favorites we brought over from Lafayette, here to Chopin, and we&rsquo;ve had a great time putting it together for you,&rdquo; Weible said.</p><p dir="ltr">At the school&rsquo;s holiday concert, about 25 students lined up shoulder-to-shoulder across the front of the stage clutching their violins. Another 40 students&mdash;the older and more experienced group&mdash;sat in a semi-circle behind the beginners. Across the back of each black music stand is the word &ldquo;Lafayette&rdquo; scrawled in white paint.</p><p dir="ltr">Chopin was the official &ldquo;welcoming school&rdquo; for students at Lafayette. A <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/education/closing-schools-diaspora-108518">WBEZ analysis</a> earlier this year found that Lafayette students enrolled at 26 different schools across CPS, but the bulk of them&mdash;more than 200 children&mdash;landed at Chopin.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;There was so much uncertainty and people going through the halls and classrooms before we got the news even that we were closing, they were inventorying all the supplies. It was pretty traumatic,&rdquo; said Beth Bistrow. Bistrow is with the Merit School of Music and helped Weible start the string orchestra at Lafayette 13 years ago.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;When we found out the news. What was it the end of July or something? I was, I was totally flabbergasted. I got a call and said we&rsquo;re having the program. And I was so happy to get here. I thought, maybe, I&rsquo;d never see these kids again.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">One of those kids was seventh grader Anayse Soto.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;When I found out that Merit was going to be here, I begged my mom to sign me in here just for the program,&rdquo; Soto said.</p><p dir="ltr">But there are still big challenges.</p><p>For one, merging two school cultures hasn&rsquo;t been easy. There are still hallway spats and one third grader tells me the &ldquo;other kids&rdquo; swear too much.</p><p dir="ltr">Then, there&rsquo;s the issue of space. Chopin elementary now has an enrollment of nearly 600 students, up from about 250 last year. The Chopin building is meant to hold 720 students, according to CPS&rsquo;s space utilization guidelines.</p><p dir="ltr">Bistrow said that&rsquo;s way less than Lafayette, which has a capacity of 1,320 students. (Next year, Chicago High School for the Arts, a contract school with about 600 students, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/arts-school-take-over-one-chicagos-43-closed-school-buildings-109075">will move into the Lafayette building</a>.)</p><p>&ldquo;We don&rsquo;t have any classrooms and we don&rsquo;t have any storage space, which is true of everyone in the school,&rdquo; Bistro said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re just jammed in.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We use every classroom,&rdquo; said Fredrick Williams, the new principal at Chopin. He came from Near North Elementary&mdash;a special education school that was also shut down last year. &ldquo;We use every space. We use what used to be storage space for some of our office space.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Williams said he used Chopin&rsquo;s special welcoming school funds to pay for the orchestra program.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Once I had an opportunity to talk about this transition and think about pieces that we could keep for sure, Merit was always something that was going to be there from day one,&rdquo; Williams said.</p><p dir="ltr">But next year&rsquo;s budget is a different story.</p><p dir="ltr">We used a lot of one-time-only funds to make this year happen,&rdquo; Weible, the music teacher, said. &ldquo;Those funds will not be available next year.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">And that&rsquo;s an issue for schools in every corner of Chicago, not just Chopin.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;How many worthy programs are out there and some will not get the funding they deserve?&rdquo; Weible said. &ldquo;I can only say this: The arts are not a luxury.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Becky Vevea is a producer for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZeducation">@WBEZeducation</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 02 Jan 2014 10:58:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/schools-beloved-orchestra-survives-closing-future-budget-cuts-loom-109456 More overruns: Cost to empty out closed Chicago schools now set to triple http://www.wbez.org/news/more-overruns-cost-empty-out-closed-chicago-schools-now-set-triple-109387 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/cps overruns_131217_LL.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s board of education will consider yet another significant increase in what it is paying to empty out Chicago&rsquo;s closed school buildings.</p><p>Back in April&mdash;even before the vote to close 50 schools&mdash;the district <a href="http://www.csc.cps.k12.il.us/purchasing/pdfs/contracts/2013_04/13-0403-PR2-1.pdf">signed a contract</a> with logistics firm Global Workplace Solutions to move all the things out of schools. Price tag: $8.9 million.</p><p>GWS worked throughout the summer to inventory and move computers, books, furniture and other supplies from closed schools into so-called <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/education/ex-marines-mission-make-sure-cps-welcoming-schools-are-welcoming-108501">Welcoming Schools</a>.</p><p>In September, the district<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cost-empty-out-closed-schools-doubles-109364"> quietly doubled the amount of the contract</a>, to $18.9 million. Chicago Public Schools&rsquo; closing czar said the reason for the overrun had to do with the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/what-happened-all-stuff-chicagos-closed-schools-109360">volume </a>of stuff movers found in the 43 shuttered buildings they are emptying out.</p><p>Now, the agenda for Wednesday&rsquo;s school board meeting shows the board will vote on another increase, this time to &nbsp;$30.9 million, more than tripling the amount of the original contract with GWS.</p><p>A CPS document says the hike is necessary to board up, fence, and install security posts around 30 buildings.</p><p>And it will cover the cost of redistributing materials around the district. Elementary school principals have been told not to purchase any more books until the district holds <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/what-happened-all-stuff-chicagos-closed-schools-109360">an online book fair in January. It&rsquo;s trying to get rid of a million books it has from the closing schools</a> and its warehouse.</p><p>Linda Lutton is a WBEZ education reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZeducation">@WBEZeducation</a>.</p></p> Tue, 17 Dec 2013 06:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/more-overruns-cost-empty-out-closed-chicago-schools-now-set-triple-109387 Morning Shift: Coping with the high cost of renting http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-12-16/morning-shift-coping-high-cost-renting-109378 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Flickr stevendamron.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Housing reporter Dennis Rodkin discusses how renters across the country are dealing with higher prices. Curious City figures out the fate of supplies and materials from closed schools. And, Cheryl Raye-Stout tells us what we have to look forward to in Chicago sports.</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-rent/embed?header=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-rent.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-rent" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Coping with the high cost of renting" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 16 Dec 2013 07:36:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-12-16/morning-shift-coping-high-cost-renting-109378 Cost to empty out closed schools doubles http://www.wbez.org/news/cost-empty-out-closed-schools-doubles-109364 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/cps movers_131213_LL.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Removing everything from Chicago&rsquo;s closed schools will cost $10 million more than the district originally signed on for.</p><p>The price tag for moving desks, chairs, books, computers, and everything else out of 43 shuttered school buildings is now <a href="http://www.csc.cps.k12.il.us/purchasing/pdfs/contracts/2013_08/13-0828-PR10-1.pdf">$18.9 million dollars</a>, more than double <a href="http://www.csc.cps.k12.il.us/purchasing/pdfs/contracts/2013_04/13-0403-PR2-1.pdf">the original $8.9 million dollar contract</a>.</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/education/ex-marines-mission-make-sure-cps-welcoming-schools-are-welcoming-108501">Tom Tyrrell</a> is the Chicago Public Schools official overseeing school closings. He says one thing explains cost overruns:</p><p>&ldquo;The volume of stuff that we ended up moving was three times higher than we estimated it was going to be. It was stunning how much more was in the schools than we anticipated.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>CPS hired the Ohio-based logistics firm Global Workplace Solutions in April to <a href="http://www.cps.edu/News/Press_releases/Pages/4_3_2013_PR2.aspx">handle </a>the massive move. At the end of August, just as school was starting, Chicago&rsquo;s board of education voted to <a href="http://www.cpsboe.org/content/actions/2013_08/13-0828-PR10.pdf">increase </a>the maximum spending allowed on the logistics contract, and the district quietly amended the contract in mid-September to pay GWS $10 million more. The increase has not been reported in the media.</p><p>The contract amendment shows GWS spent more than expected on boxes and other moving materials; warehousing, disposal and liquidation of district assets; board-ups; and IT needs.</p><p>Costs went up by $850,000 when students from closed schools <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/only-60-percent-students-chicagos-closed-schools-turn-welcoming-schools-108907">enrolled in schools other than those the district had designated</a>.</p><p>Tyrrell says CPS has made use of the movers to handle additional work, like 11 new &ldquo;co-locations&rdquo; where two or more schools share the same building. &nbsp;And he says other costs associated with closings are coming in under budget. Tyrrell says the overall costs of closing the historic number of schools &mdash; which includes things like transition coordinators, &ldquo;integration&rdquo; events between closing and receiving schools, and social-emotional learning programs &mdash; will remain unchanged at $78 million.</p><p>WBEZ took a closer look at the moving contract thanks in part to a <a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/">Curious City</a> <a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/questions/988">question</a>. Listener Jenn Adams asked what happened to all the stuff in the closed schools. See our full answer <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/what-happened-all-stuff-chicago%E2%80%99s-closed-schools-109360" target="_blank">here</a>.</p></p> Thu, 12 Dec 2013 23:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/cost-empty-out-closed-schools-doubles-109364 Students adjust to new school after closure http://www.wbez.org/news/students-adjust-new-school-after-closure-108564 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/welcoming school ambassadors.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>There are about 100 new faces at Harvard School of Excellence in Englewood this year. That&rsquo;s because the Chicago Board of Education voted to shut down nearby Yale Elementary at the end of last school year.</p><p>It&rsquo;s only been a few days, so students are still warming up to one another, but to ease the transition, Harvard Principal Aisha McCarthy had teachers select two students from each class to be &ldquo;welcoming school ambassadors.&rdquo;</p><p>WBEZ producer Becky Vevea interviewed a group of these &ldquo;ambassadors&rdquo; and a few new students who transferred in from Yale.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F107849589" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Harvard is run by the Academy for Urban School Leadership, a non-profit group that specializes in training teachers and turning around low-performing schools.&nbsp;</p><p>Students interviewed include:</p><p>LaQuisha Ashford (former Yale student)</p><p>Annasty Walker</p><p>Emanuel Kent</p><p>Jimmy Pewee</p><p>Timothy Richardson (former Yale student)</p><p>Keshon Tolliver</p><p>Dayjah Hall</p><p>Jada Wilson</p><p>Lawrence Davis</p><p>Jamella Holmes (former Yale student)</p><p><em>Becky Vevea is a producer for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/WBEZeducation" target="_blank">@WBEZeducation</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 29 Aug 2013 15:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/students-adjust-new-school-after-closure-108564 Once a school http://www.wbez.org/news/once-school-108496 <p><div><div>With summer waning, photographer Bill Healy took to the streets to document the dozens of buildings that last year housed Chicago elementary schools, and now are shuttered. In May, the Chicago Board of Education voted to close 50 schools, the largest single round of school closings in recent American history. Healy set out to document the conditions in and around the closed school buildings. He captured ghostly images of empty playgrounds and abandoned classrooms that serve as a testament to a changing city. On Monday, children from these closed schools will start the year at their new schools. The fate of these buildings remains uncertain, but the memories linger. Here are some of Healy&#39;s favorite images.</div><div><p>&nbsp;</p></div><div><em>Bill Healy is a photographer and producer at WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/chicagoan">@chicagoan</a>.</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div></div><div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Bill%20Healy%2001.jpg" title="Bontemps Elementary (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Bill%20Healy%2002.jpg" title="West Pullman Elementary (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Bill Healy 03.jpg" title="Peabody Elementary (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Bill%20Healy%2004.jpg" title="Pope Elementary (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Bill%20Healy%2006.jpg" title="Bontemps Elementary (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Bill%20Healy%2007.jpg" title="Pope Elementary (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Bill%20Healy%2008.jpg" title="Henson Elementary (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Bill%20Healy%2009.jpg" title="Ross Elementary (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Bill%20Healy%2013.jpg" title="Parkman Elementary (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Bill%20Healy%2014.jpg" title="Parkman Elementary (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Bill%20Healy%20018.jpg" title="Parkman Elementary (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Bill%20Healy%2018.jpg" title="Parkman Elementary (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Bill%20Healy%2019.jpg" title="Parkman Elementary (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Bill%20Healy%2020.jpg" title="Morgan Elementary (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Bill%20Healy%2021.jpg" title="Dodge Elementary(WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 22 Aug 2013 14:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/once-school-108496 ‘Safe passage’ expansion comes with low pay, decentralized hiring http://www.wbez.org/news/%E2%80%98safe-passage%E2%80%99-expansion-comes-low-pay-decentralized-hiring-108459 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/icebreaker4.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 242px; width: 300px;" title="Some of the program’s 600 new workers attend a training session Monday at Roberto Clemente Community Academy, a Northwest Side high school. A Chicago parents group and the district’s teachers union are raising questions about the hiring. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" />Chicago Public Schools faces new questions about 600 workers it&rsquo;s training to stand guard as part of the district&rsquo;s &ldquo;safe passage&rdquo; program.</p><p>The workers, hired to watch 53 routes for elementary students whose schools were closed this summer, will earn $10 an hour for a split shift totaling about five hours a day, according to the district.</p><p>Under those terms, the program will not have many &ldquo;quality individuals who will stick with the job,&rdquo; said Dwayne Truss, assistant director of Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education, a Chicago group that advocates for parents. &ldquo;You&rsquo;re setting it up to be high-turnover.&rdquo;</p><p>Other questions surround how district officials chose 18 community groups that will employ the workers. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re not sure how they made the selections of these companies [or] how the companies selected their workers,&rdquo; said Kristine Mayle, financial secretary of the Chicago Teachers Union.</p><p>Mayle pointed to a contracting scandal last year in CPS food services and warned that the safe-passage program, budgeted for $15.7 million this school year,&nbsp;could include patronage hiring that compromises security along the routes. &ldquo;Our biggest concern is that kids are going to be hurt,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>CPS says its search for the venders was wide. &ldquo;We did an extensive request-for-proposal process, canvassing the entire city to try to attract community-based organizations,&rdquo; said Jadine Chou, the district&rsquo;s safety and security chief.</p><p>Chou says the 18 groups came from a pool of 47 applicants. &ldquo;It was a very rigorous and very solid process, filled with integrity, to make sure that we were objectively hiring the best possible people we could find,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>The <a href="http://www.cps.edu/Pages/safepassage.aspx">selected groups</a> range from the Alliance for Community Peace, an organization housed in a North Side church, to the Target Area Development Corporation, which has three offices in the U.S. Midwest and three in South Africa.</p><p>Rev. Autry Phillips, Target Area&rsquo;s executive director, described his group&rsquo;s main purpose as community organizing. &ldquo;But we also build capacity within our communities,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Thankfully, with the safe-passage program, we&rsquo;re able to actually provide jobs.&rdquo;</p><p>A CPS &ldquo;fact sheet&rdquo; about the program&nbsp;says the district held a &ldquo;preliminary job fair in partnership with the vendors&rdquo; on July 1. The fact sheet&nbsp;says the venders received 2,800 employment applications.</p><p>Chou said the 600 new safe-passage hires will join 635 employed last year in the program, which has focused mainly on high schools until now. &ldquo;Everyone who signed up to be a safe-passage worker understands that this is not just a job,&rdquo; she said, pointing to Chicago&rsquo;s frigid winters and dangerous streets. &ldquo;You have to be a committed person interested in the safety of our children.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re working closely with our venders to make sure that there is a solid quality-control monitoring system&rdquo; to oversee the workers, Chou said.</p><p>While the district praised the safe-passage workers, a spokeswoman would not allow WBEZ to conduct interviews freely among roughly 250 who attended a training session Monday at Roberto Clemente Community Academy, a Northwest Side high school.</p><p>The district says training for the new safe-passage workers will wrap up Wednesday. The school year begins next Monday.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 20 Aug 2013 04:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/%E2%80%98safe-passage%E2%80%99-expansion-comes-low-pay-decentralized-hiring-108459