Crusader staff report
Chicago Public Schools will hold several public hearings in January as they move forward on plans to close four schools in Englewood and change the futures of other institutions in the third largest school system in America. The plans would affect thousands of schools next year.
After several meetings on Friday, Dec. 1, CPS announced plans to close four high schools in Englewood next year — Hope, Harper, Robeson and TEAM Englewood — and send their students to a newly built Englewood High School. Again the move prompted criticism of Mayor Rahm Emanuel from the Chicago Teachers Union.
Chicago Public School leaders promise a new $75 million high school will be built on the grounds of Robeson, but the project won’t be finished until the fall of 2019. That leaves students at other Englewood schools in jeopardy for the 2018 school year, according to the Chicago Teachers Union, which blasted Mayor Rahm Emanuel and former CPS Chief Forrest Claypool.
“This fight has just begun — and this battle, like our larger fight against school closings and charter operator expansion, is far from over,” said CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey. “These racist policies are deeply unpopular, and the Mayor is politically vulnerable on this issue. We must come together to support our brothers and sisters and their school communities at this pivotal moment.”
CPS has argued that many of these schools on the South Side suffer from dwindling student enrollment that leaves schools underutilized and costly to maintain. Along with the four schools in Englewood, CPS plans to have Hirsh High School in Greater Grand Crossing share space for Art In Motion charter school and the New Life Convenant Church and Common Ground Foundation, which is headed by the rapper Common. His mother, Mahalia Hines, is on the Chicago Board of Education.
After several public hearings on the proposals, the Chicago Board of Education will vote on the plans in February. For dates of the public hearings, go to www.chicagocrusader.com.