CPS enrollment drops again, state Sen. Emil Jones faces calls to resign and more in your Chicago news roundup

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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Parents and students arrive at Willa Cather Elementary School, 2908 W. Washington Blvd. in East Garfield Park, for the first day of school for Chicago Public Schools, Monday morning, Aug. 22, 2022.

Parents and students arrive at Willa Cather Elementary School on Monday for the first day of school for Chicago Public Schools first day of school Aug. 22.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a five-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

This afternoon will be mostly sunny with a high near 64 degrees. Tonight will be partly cloudy with a low near 52. Tomorrow will be mostly cloudy with a high near 64.

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Afternoon Edition
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Top story

CPS enrollment drops, continuing decadelong slide

Enrollment in Chicago Public Schools has fallen for the 11th consecutive year, leaving extremely small schools with dwindling student populations bracing for continued funding cuts.

Long the nation’s third-largest public school system, CPS lost around 9,000 children this year, bringing the district total to about 321,000 pre-K to 12th-grade students, according to preliminary data published on the CPS website this month. This data includes both district-run and charter schools.

Chicago has lost more than 82,000 public school students in the last decade, including a decline of about 3% in each of the last seven years. The steady drop means CPS could lose its title as the third-largest district to Miami-Dade County Public Schools in Florida, which saw its enrollment increase to 325,000.

The drop in Chicago, though significant, is not as steep as the 15,000-student decline some experts had predicted as the high range of what CPS could lose this fall.

But it’s still painful for many schools, which are primarily funded on a per-pupil basis. One school in Brighton Park on the Southwest Side that saw declining enrollment last year had to forgo an assistant principal this year. Another school always had two kindergarten classes, but this year the budget and enrollment couldn’t support two classes, said Patrick Brosnan, executive director of the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council.

“The population makes it very complicated to program the school, and then the funding just makes it almost impossible,” Brosnan said. “So ultimately you have students that are losing out on a high-quality education.”

Our Nader Issa and WBEZ’s Sarah Karp have more on the data and what it means for our city here.

More news you need

  1. A day after state Sen. Emil Jones III announced his resignation from leadership and committee chair positions amid federal bribery charges, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said today that Jones should formally resign from the Illinois Senate. Pritzker also said Sen. Michael Hastings, who is facing accusations he abused women, should resign as well.
  2. An Indiana judge today blocked the state’s abortion ban from being enforced, putting the new law on hold as abortion clinic operators argue that it violates the state constitution, the Associated Press reports. The injunction was sought by abortion clinic operators who argued in a lawsuit that the state constitution protects access to the medical procedure.
  3. City Council yesterday passed a zoning change that allows the Chicago Fire soccer club to build an $80 million training center. The vote came after a debate over the project’s merits in an area beset by poverty and whether the land could be better used for public housing.
  4. Cyclists will need to find a new place to park their bicycles at Millennium Park beginning next month. The park’s bike station, which has served commuters for the past 18 years, is closing for good, city officials said.
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A bright one

How Chicago filmmaker Paige Taul explores identity through film

Chicago filmmaker Paige Taul makes experimental nonfiction films exploring different forms of Black cultural expression.

Originally from California, Paige Taul moved to Chicago as a student to join and learn from the ever-growing community of filmmakers in the city. She now resides in Humboldt Park, and she teaches at universities and with the Chicago Filmmakers.

Taul uses both analog and digital formats, as well as archival film, to focus on real stories and human topics — especially pertaining to Blackness and identity.


Paige Taul

Makenzie Creden/Vocalo Radio, Chicago Public Media

Taul makes it clear she’s no documentarian, and describes her work as experimental nonfiction. Rather than inform or teach through her films, she hopes people will relate to her works based on their own lived experiences.

“When you preface a work as documentary or strictly documentary, there’s an expectation to learn something from the material,” Taul explained. “I don’t make these works for people to learn about what Blackness is… I make work about Black people, but I also make work for Black people.”

“If I’m talking about or making a thing about something… I should hope that those who have the strongest response are also people who have that same experience,” she said.

You can find more on Taul’s work and an interview with the filmmaker via Vocalo radio here.

From the press box

Your daily question☕

In honor of autumn equinox, we want to know: What is Chicago’s best fall-time festival? Tell us why.

Send us an email at newsletters@suntimes.com and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you: What’s something people think is a Chicago thing but really isn’t?

Here’s what some of you said...

“Deep dish pizza. It’s here, but we don’t claim it.” — Anna Schier

“Crime. Crime happens everywhere in America, but somehow it only happens on the South Side.” — Jennifer Dillon

“Calling the city ‘Chi-town.’ No one I ever knew who was born and raised here ever did.” — Jack Franklin

“Malort, deep dish pizza and that the no ketchup thing is as serious as everyone makes it seem.” — April Lee

“The so-called ‘Chicago accent.’ Saying ‘Da Bears’ like Mike Ditka. We’re a city of many different ethnic backgrounds. You’re going to get all kinds of different accents.” — Christina Galicia

“A good running game and tough defense.” — Jim Hoffman

“The suburbs.” — Mark W. Johnson

“Downtown midday German parades in May.” — Ryan Burrow

Thanks for reading the Chicago Sun-Times Afternoon Edition.Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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