Even in the face of a long battle with cancer, Fred Mocking, a retired engineer, would visit third-graders at East Prairie School in Skokie once a week for more than 10 years to teach hands-on science lessons. “I’m a very sick man, but when I get in here, the adrenaline kicks in, and I feel real good,” the longtime Skokie resident said last fall after one of his sessions. Mr. Mocking died May 11. He was 92.
Folded and handwritten on a piece of lined notebook paper, it looked to Veronica Vasquez like a typical note a kid writes to a classmate. But the sheet of paper proved to be the first indication to Vasquez just how much it upset her 12-year-old daughter, Paula, that King Elementary School would soon close. The emotional note would describe how one child felt to be swept up in one of the nation’s largest mass school closings, starting Wednesday with King and 27 other Chicago Public Schools. Fighting tears, she, like many other children Wednesday, called her school a second home.
Local School Council members of about a dozen Chicago Public Schools lamented proposed budget cuts for their schools Monday morning and called on the Illinois attorney general to audit CPS finances.
About 850 teachers and staffers at schools doomed to either close this month or to reboot their staffs were handed pink slips Friday afternoon, according to Chicago Public Schools.
As some parents continue a boycott to protest school closings, city agencies tasked with helping children safely to new schools next year said they’ve already dealt with 11,000 requests for service along the school routes. Touting their progress so far, Jadine Chou, CPS officer of safety and security, said parents at 42 of the schools receiving children from closed schools have seen their proposed “safe passage” routes and given their feedback.
Until a new judge can be assigned to a lawsuit filed by the Chicago Teachers Union and parents from 10 elementary schools, CPS attorneys agreed the district wouldn’t take any permanent actions at the schools in question.
Chicago homeowners and businesses have grown accustomed to up-to-the-limit school property tax increases, but they might be forced to endure even more pain to bail the Chicago Public Schools out of a $1 billion shortfall.
As the school year winds down — for the last time in 48 Chicago Public Schools — some parents at Goodlow Magnet Elementary School are calling for a boycott for the rest of the week. The mothers say they’ve tried everything else to get the district’s attention about why Goodlow, 2040 W. 62nd Street in Englewood, should not be absorbed into Earle Elementary, and are urging parents to keep their children home through Friday.
Within weeks of confirming the closure of a record 50 Chicago Public Schools, the schools chief unveiled some details of an ambitious five-year plan to get the city’s students prepared for college.
Jackson Potter, of the Chicago Teachers Union, said that based on the city’s deficit, in addition to jobs lost because of school closings, the city could see 6,000 layoffs. In the last school year, CPS recorded 41,498 employees.
As she made her case for closing dozens of Chicago Public Schools, Barbara Byrd-Bennett promised that each child whose school disappeared would be saved a place in a higher-performing school. The CPS CEO also guaranteed new science or arts programs in 19 of the schools taking in those displaced children and great investments in all the receiving schools: air conditioning, libraries and iPads. But after the dust settles, and many school boundaries are redrawn, not all children living in the shadow of a closing school will reap these benefits.
Principal James Troupis was honored Wednesday with the Ryan Award — given to school principals exhibiting “superior leadership in closing the achievement gap.” The award, given through the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Foundation and Accelerate Institute, includes a $25,000 honorarium and the opportunity to guest lecture at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Troupis is one of three recipients of the award this year.
As Chicago Public Schools said it had reenrolled about three-quarters of the children about to be displaced when a record number of elementary schools close this month, some parents called the enrollment process rushed and chaotic.
SPRINGFIELD — Democrats won historic super majorities in both the Illinois House and Senate this year yet whiffed dramatically Friday when it came to passing pension reform, a Chicago casino deal and a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines. The futility also included legislation many pension-reform advocates, including Gov. Pat Quinn, regarded as salt in the wound — a last-minute push by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to skip pension payments to the Chicago teachers’ retirement fund to avert a $400 million funding shortfall this summer.
The embattled United Neighborhood Organization announced steps Tuesday its leaders hope will win the resumption of tens of millions of dollars in state funding for construction of a charter high school on the Southwest Side.