CHICAGO — While all eyes were on Mayor Rahm Emanuel and departing police chief Garry McCarthy, whose resignation was announced late Tuesday morning, Chicago Public Schools released its list of proposed school closures and "consolidations" for the 2015-2016 school year.
Up for a vote by the Chicago Board of Education in February will be the following proposed actions:
• Consolidation of Austin Polytechnical Academy, Austin Business and Entrepreneurship, and VOISE Academy, and Boundary Change of Frederick A. Douglass Academy
• Consolidation of Mary Mapes Dodge Renaissance Elementary Academy and Morton School of Excellence
• Co-location of John Spry Community School with Maria Saucedo Elementary Scholastic Academy and Telpochcalli Elementary School
• Co-location of KIPP Elementary School with Orr Academy High School
• Closure of Moses Montefiore Special Elementary School Due to Zero Student Enrollment
• Closure of Marine Military Math and Science Academy Due to Zero Student Enrollment
"During the past few months, we have engaged LSCs, parents and principals throughout the city about how to best modify schools so that they align with the needs of families and communities," CPS CEO Forrest Claypool said in the release announcing the proposed closures.
"Community input has played an important role in informing these proposed actions, and we believe these modifications will allow us to better use our limited resources to meet students’ needs."
Catalyst Chicago reported in August that CPS fired teachers and moved students from Montefiore Special Elementary, which served students with behavioral and emotional problems, to various neighborhood schools. At the time, however, the school district would not say the empty school was closed because that would mean they broke their vow not to close any school for five years after shuttering 50 schools in 2013.
Critics of the school district are skeptical of how CPS came to have zero students at the schools slated for closure. Students and staff from Marine Military Math and Science Academy were moved to the Ames Middle School building and despite the empty Marine, CPS told the Sun-Times last year they did not close the school.
The plan to consolidate the Austin schools into a single school, meanwhile, actually has support in the community. The Austin Community Action Council has been calling on CPS to restore the building to its former setup as one single Austin high school, according to Austin Talks.
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