The Board of Education approved a large-scale turnaround and
consolidation plan today that will replace the staffs at eight
schools, close four elementary schools, move two schools, and
consolidate or phase out four others.
The move, approved unanimously by the board's five members, will cost hundreds of teachers their jobs at the end of the school year and affect more than 7,000 students next fall.
In all, 18 schools will be affected, the largest one-day move of its kind in Chicago Public Schools history.
The three high schools at the Orr complex, 730 N. Pulaski Road, plus its two elementary feeder schools, and Harper High School, 6520 S. Wood, and its two feeder schools, will all close at the end of the 2007-08 school year. They will re-open next fall with new teaching and administrative staffs as part of a turnaround initiative that CPS officials hope result in higher test scores and graduation rates. The Orr schools will be combined into a new Orr High School.
None of the four high schools had more than 13 percent of their students meeting state standards in 2007. Less than half of Harper High's students graduate.
"We cannot afford to wait another year to change things because they (the students) can't wait another year," says Arne Duncan, CPS chief, who made the final recommendations to the board today after receiving a series of reports from hearing officers who administered 19 public hearings held over the last month.
The board also approved a sweeping consolidation plan that will close Gladstone Elementary, 1231 S. Damen; Johns Middle Academy, 6936 S. Hermitage; Miles Davis, 6723 S. Wood, and Midway Academy, 5434 S. Lockwood. Andersen Elementary, 1148 N. Honore St., and De La Cruz Middle School, 2317 W. 23rd Pl., will be phased out.
Edison Regional Gifted Center, 6220 N. Olcott Ave., is one of the schools to be moved. Parents of Edison children formed a picket line along Clark Street before today's vote.