The Illinois state legislature's Latino and Black caucuses on Monday warned against the Chicago Public Schools' plan to close dozens of its schools -- and vowed to push for a moratorium on such closures.
Chicago public school teacher Michelle Harton walks a picket line outside Morgan Park High School in Chicago, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, on the second day of a strike in the nation's third-largest school district. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
State Rep. Ken Dunkin, chairman of the legislature's Black Caucus, said Monday that the General Assembly is "not gonna sit back and say, 'OK, Mayor Rahm Emanuel do what you want to do, how you want to do it, when you want to do it at our expense?'" the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
"There is no precedent for doing this level of overhaul of 24,000 students -- in the next few months? It just doesn't add up," Dunkin added, according to ABC Chicago.
The lawmakers plan to introduce a bill next week that would institute a moratorium against CPS closing schools beginning in the 2013-2014 school year, state Sen. William Delgado, a Chicago Democrat, told the Chicago Tribune. Delgado is the chair of the Senate education committee and the bill has the support of the Chicago Teachers Union.
In response to the lawmakers' push, CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett conceded that the process of closing schools "is very emotional" but claimed that the closures will allow the district to redirect resources to better serve the district's students, according to ABC.
Lawmakers are hoping to see a draft of the district's 10-year facilities master plan -- which is due in May -- prior to the March 31 finalization of its school closure list, but Becky Carroll, CPS chief communications officer dismissed that call and stated that the facilities plan "has nothing to do with addressing the fact that our schools are severely underutilized," the Sun-Times reports.
Source: Huffington Post Chicago