Martinez Bill Pushes Back CPS Action Plan Deadline

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - BusinessState Senator Iris Y. Martinez won approval last Thursday in the General Assembly for legislation that would give the Chicago public school system more time to compile its end-of-year school action plan.

“Rushing decisions for a December 1 deadline could backfire on the school system and then ultimately harm the education of the children,” Martinez said of pushing the deadline back. She noted the district has recently resolved a teachers strike and hired a new CEO while also trying to piece the report together.

“I still have concerns on how this affects the timeliness for parental notification and if the public will have ample time to voice its concerns,” Martinez continued. “This school year is off to a rough start for CPS, and the district needs an opportunity to get organized.”

The proposal pushes back CPS’s deadline for its annual end-of-year action plan to March 31. The plan consists of proposals to close and consolidate facilities before the upcoming school year. Also included in the measure is the requirement for the Chicago Board of Education to protect social services and guarantee that class sizes do not exceed CPS policy.

The measure, Senate Bill 547 sponsored by Martinez, passed the Senate 51-0 and the House 84-28, and now heads to Governor Quinn for his signature. Earlier this year, Sen. Martinez proposed legislation that would put a one-year moratorium on CPS school closings after a 2011 finding by the Chicago Educational Facilities Task Force (CEFTF) that CPS’s plan to close 23 failing schools would negatively impact students. The CEFTF was formed to review CPS’s guidelines for determining which schools to consolidate, turn around or close. The measure has not yet passed the General Assembly, but, last week, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS CEO Barbara Byrd – Bennett came out in support of a five-year moratorium, giving the issue new momentum.

“Just like the one-year moratorium, pushing back the action proposal deadline would give CPS more time to create and implement required transitional plans identifying academic support and security before students are re-assigned,” said Martinez.

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