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SB 3239 and HB4487: Moratorium on School Facilities Actions

For nearly a decade, Chicago Public Schools has pursued closure and privatization actions in over 100 schools that have benefited private entities, but not the children of Chicago. These actions have disenfranchised Local School Councils, harmed the students in targeted institutions, devastated the lives of educators, and even led to student deaths.

State Senator Iris Martinez has sponsored SB3239 to prevent these misguided actions until CPS can manage its facilities in compliance with the law. State Representative Cynthia Soto has sponsored HB4487 for the same purpose.

This year, Chicago Public Schools has proposed the closures and "turnarounds" of a record 19 schools. Several LSC chairs have pointed out in a lawsuit that the necessary steps to avoid these drastic measures were never made clear to them. All the children and adults in these schools will suffer as a result of policies in which, Board of Education member Tim Cawley admits, schools eyed for closure or turnaround were denied needed funds while they struggled, only to be given funds when takeover by private groups was proposed.

Read more background information here.

Cynthia Soto has sponsored HB4487 to prevent these misguided actions until CPS can manage its facilities in compliance with the law. You can read the bill's description below.

Amends the Chicago School District Article of the School Code. Provides that there shall be a moratorium on school closings, consolidations, and phase-outs in the school district in the 2012-2013 school year. Provides that any of these actions that are subsequently appropriate must be carried out no sooner than the end of the 2013-2014 school year, subject to any new set of requirements adopted by the General Assembly. During this moratorium period, requires the district to establish polices that address and remedy the academic performance of schools in which Illinois Standards Achievement Test scores reflect students performing at or below 75%. Requires these policies to establish clear criteria or processes for establishing criteria for making school facility decisions and include clear criteria for setting priorities with respect to school openings, school closings, school consolidations, school turnarounds, school phase-outs, school construction, school repairs, school modernizations, school boundary changes, and other related school facility decisions, including the encouragement of multiple community uses for school space. Effective immediately.

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