Remarks from Deb Hass to CPS Board
CPS may have a new vision, but it has no plan.
The repercussions of CPS’s “no plan” for facilities are increasingly visible. The data I shared for receiving schools show that between 2013-14 -- the first year after the mass school closings -- and last year, receiving schools saw an enrollment decline of 8.1 percent compared to a 2.8 percent loss in other district-run schools.
Thousands of children faced the trauma of losing their school and then the trauma of student-based budgeting -- losing teachers, counselors, and other supports. Those children deserved sustainability. They deserved a stable, comprehensive education. What did they get instead? No plan.
CPS lost 11,000 students last year alone. Yet since the closings, it has opened almost as many charter and privately run contract schools as it closed, including one a few blocks from Kelly, a neighborhood high school whose community said loudly and clearly, it did NOT want you to dilute resources and risk creating two underutilized, under-resourced schools. What kind of plan creates a mess like this? No plan.
The charter enrollment tables I provided show that in 2014-15, CPS charter schools had over 12,000 empty seats. Nearly 75 percent of charter schools in CPS facilities are underutilized. Noble’s new Mansueto high school near Kelly has only 190 students, not the 250 projected.
Despite declining enrollment across the system and many underutilized charter school buildings, in December you will consider whether to approve seven new charters. How could this happen? No plan.
Even after learning of the large enrollment drop since last year, you are moving forward with $840 million dollars of the facilities financing approved in August. This is money to be borrowed despite CPS having released – no plan.
We, the parents, the public, desperately want more than a vision. We want a facilities PLAN, and we want community participation in its creation. We are tired of out-of-the-blue announcements about what will happen to Field or to Kellogg. We want to work with you to create and implement plans that make sense.
I want to come back to some future board meeting and end every section of my remarks with an affirmation and a high five. Plan.