Legislative task force: CPS closings cost taxpayers, hurt kids

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A scathing report released Tuesday questions how Chicago Public Schools handled the massive school closings last year.

The report, released by the Illinois General Assembly’s Chicago Educational Facilities Task Force, claims, among its findings, that the closings cost taxpayers over $263 million; that CPS did not plan the closings appropriately, negatively affecting families and students; and that the district has not analyzed or further planned its actions.

The report also questions why CPS closed dozens of schools, claiming they were underused, while approving 33 new charter schools with more than 20,000 slots in recent years.

“It will always make you wonder, where did that money come from to do that project when we were just told the narrative that we have all the detrimental budget issues,” said Cecile Carroll-Demello, a member of the task force.

But CPS spokesman Joel Hood called the report “highly inaccurate.” He pointed to a letter that the district’s representative on the task force wrote to the group.

Michael Rendina, CPS’ former chief of public policy who now works at City Hall, wrote that the report uses some data that’s out of context and was written without his input.

“As a member of the Task Force and each of its subcommittees, CPS is gravely concerned that such an important document would be created and presented for a vote without first consulting and receiving input from all Task Force members, especially the member that is the most knowledgeable about the subject.”


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