FOIA shows CPS Board Members had no financial data on savings to shutter 50 public schools

Major Findings from Freedom of Information Request (Chris Ball) Regarding School Closure Data

 

Background: CPS never assembled data explaining how the 129 schools it originally considered for closure were determined.

Also, there was no information on actual classroom use entered into the hearing records. 

 

In response to inquiries about how the school board was deciding to close schools, CPS stated that board members used the “reports and analysis” available athttp://www.cps.edu/qualityschools/Pages/parents.aspx .* A review of this site shows:

  1. None of these reports detail the number of classrooms used for special education or specialized programs. 
  2. CPS never reviewed grade-level enrollment at the schools to determine how many teachers and classrooms will be needed in the new schools. 
  3. No analysis itemizes the operational or capital savings CPS claims will exist. 
  4. No figures are presented on whether CPS will save some money. 
  5. Numbers presented do not add up. In many cases, CPS’s summary estimates of savings more than double the amounts recently estimated in itemized lists. Examples: 
  • Von Humboldt’s June 2010 assessment estimated $10.7 mil to update/maintain the facility, but CPS now claims it will cost more than twice that amount at $24.7 mil (assessment still dated as 2010)- a $13 million discrepancy.
  • The CPS 2012 estimate to maintain/update Diego, a welcoming school, was $13.8 mil, while the newly estimated cost has risen to $25.3-  a discrepancy of $11 million. 

 

 

* I made a FOIA request on this: 

Mr. Ball:
I Am writing in response to your Freedom of Information Act Request, which was received and processed by the Chicago Public Schools Law Department. You have requested: Copies of reports and analysis that Board members reviewed according to a CPS news release on May 22, 2013.
Copies of all documents responsive to your request can be found at:
http://www.cps.edu/qualityschools/Pages/parents.aspx
Thank you for your interest in Chicago Public Schools.
Cassandra Daniels 

On Wed, May 22, 2013 at 5:16 PM, Christopher Ball <ball.chr@gmail.com> wrote:
Under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, I am requesting copies of the "dozens of reports and analysis" that Board members reviewed according to this news release:
 http://www.cps.edu/News/Press_releases/Pages/PR1_5_22_2013.aspx
If electronic copies are available, please email them to me. Otherwise, please mail them to: 2335 N Bosworth Ave, Chicago IL 60614.
Thank you.