Mayor Emanuel says credibility intact after release of school-closing memo
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporteremail@example.com December 20, 2012 3:32PM
Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett with Mayor Rahm Emanuel at a press conference announcing "wall-to-wall" International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes at Taft High School and Lincoln Park High School. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times
Updated: December 21, 2012 2:32AM
Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday brushed aside suggestions that a memo written last fall outlining a strategy for closing more than 100 under-capacity Chicago Public Schools damages his credibility in the highly-charged debate.
“I believe that, over the last decade, there’s been a lot of paperwork. I would expect people to do some analysis. What has been missing in the last decade is engagement and actions,” the mayor said at an unrelated City Hall news conference.
“There has been a movement of fewer students in our public schools.,” Emanuel said. “A lot of people have studied it. A lot of paperwork and analysis has been done. Now, we have something different that we’ve never had in the past. That’s community engagement and the ability and the will now to finally act on something that has been postponed for over a decade.”
Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett has divorced herself from the September memo prepared by her predecessor that outlined scenarios for closing or gradually shutting down more than 100 schools and braced for the political fallout.
But, it didn’t sit well with African-American aldermen whose wards have lost population and, therefore, stand to lose the greatest number of schools.
They claim it plays into the community’s longstanding suspicion that CPS already has a hit-list of specific schools to be closed and that community hearings are a sham.