- Chicago Newstips by Community Media Workshop - http://www.newstips.org -

Soto school bill enacted

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The State Senate voted today by a  48-0 margin to override Governor Quinn’s amendatory veto [2]of State Representative Cynthia Soto’s school facilities bill, enacting the bill into law, Don Moore of Designs for Change [3] said.

The bill establishes a legislative commission to hold hearings and formulate proposals for a school facilities policy for CPS.  It was backed by supporters of neighborhood schools who say school closings and capital spending decisions have favored charters and other Renaissance 2010 schools.

Soto introduced the bill after CPS promised to reform its school closing policy, including providing six-months notice for closings, and didn’t follow through – and after parents in her district objected strenuously to the closing of two schools there last winter.

A moratorium on school closings and consolidation, which would have covered decisions made earlier this year, was stripped from the bill prior to its initial passage.  But as Newstips [4] noted in a February report, the demand for a school facilities policy goes back to the now-defunct Neighborhood Capital Budget Group.

Most recently [5] school advocates and community groups have focused on  the CPS’s failure to heed repeated warnings [6] from parents and educators that school closings would increase the risk of violencee in Chicago schools.