Chicago schools getting more Safe Passage workers
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Another 15,000 students at 27 more Chicago public schools will be seeing Safe Passage workers in their neon vests on their way to and from school.
The Chicago Public Schools said the Board of Education on Wednesday approved the expansion of the Safe Passage program thanks to an influx of $10 million that Gov. Pat Quinn announced last month the city would be getting from the state.
The Safe Passage program was expanded before the last school year amid worries the closure of some 50 schools could put children at risk of gangs and gun violence because they would be walking longer distances — sometimes in the territory of rival gangs — to get to their new schools.
That program was widely praised last year, with the CPS reporting that not a single student was seriously injured along any of the Safe Passage routes while guards were on duty.
With $1 million from the city, the CPS was able to increase the number of workers from 1,200 to 1,300 this school year and the money from the state will add another 600 workers. The money from the state also means that 27 more schools will have Safe Passage workers, bringing the total of schools to 133.
The $10 million will also go to expanding existing routes and when all the workers are in place later this year, the program will assist a total of 69,000 students get to school.