SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Fighting to prevent future school closures on the South Side without proper warning, state Rep. Sonya Harper, D–Chicago, helped pass a measure that mandates Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to provide more notice and information on the status of schools.
“This effort is long overdue for my residents and all the parents and students on the South and West Sides,” said Harper. “When CPS makes a decision to close schools, it affects us. It hurts my families. Our schools close, while more and more resources go to wealthier schools across the city.”
Harper’s legislation, House Bill 5721, would stipulate new reporting requirements for CPS to abide by when they produce their master education facilities plan, capital improvement plans and school transition plans. CPS provides these reports in order to determine each school’s necessary resources for long-term purposes. However, as we have seen in recent years, CPS has closed schools’ doors without notice and left students on the South Side without a neighborhood school to go to or required them to travel to a consolidated new school.
Harper’s bill would require CPS to take vastly new steps in order to avoid sudden school closures. They include community engagement plans that seek student and parent input, monetary options to pursue to increase funding to schools, timelines of each school to address their specific capital needs, justifications for school expansions, detailing a five-year funding plan to receiving schools and much more. If CPS fails to adhere to any of these requirements outlined in the bill, the General Assembly can withhold distributing all capital funding.
“CPS should provide more information to everyone, especially my residents given the historic unequal treatment we pay for, when they develop their plans for its schools. It’s only fair to be given every detail about our schools so we can offer input and make the best decision for our students,” said Harper. “While this measure is a good start to attacking the larger problem of residents feeling the brunt of sudden school closures, we also need greater representation in an elected school board in Chicago.”
Visit Rep Harper’s website
276-S Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 558-6370 FAX
4926 South Ashland
Chicago, IL 60609
(773) 925-6584 FAX