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The [Tuesday] Papers

By Steve Rhodes / Posted on January 17, 2017

"Chicago Public Schools says it will try to speed up the process of finding new uses for buildings shuttered by school closings in 2013 by putting about 30 vacant properties on the market," the Tribune (and Sun-Times) reports.

"Putting the remaining properties up for bid 'will accelerate the reuse and revitalization of former school sites and help spur new value from properties throughout the city,' CPS spokesman Michael Passman said in a statement."

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The backstory, from the first of a series on the effect of Rahm's mass school closings, the Chicago Reporter found:

Emanuel said residents would have a say in turning the former schools into facilities that would benefit the surrounding neighborhoods. Yet four years later, two-thirds of the buildings are still vacant. There are no common standards for community involvement in determining their reuse. And aldermen, who until recently oversaw the process, have not held public meetings to discuss the future of about half of the schools.

In response to a widely criticized and failing reuse plan, Chicago Public Schools put 28 vacant schools that were shuttered in 2013 on the market this week, taking decision-making about their future out of aldermen's hands. The announcement came months after The Chicago Reporter began questioning CPS officials about the status of the repurposing.

This isn't the way it was supposed to work - though it is the way many suspected it would work.

"[R]esidents, who have complained that they were denied a voice in the fate of their neighborhood schools, could have even less say under the new plan. Potential buyers cannot open charter schools and they will have to honor existing use restrictions established by residents, but moving forward, aldermen won't have to hold public meetings about the sales of schools. CPS will negotiate with the top two bidders, part of its normal process, and consult with aldermen before finalizing sales.

"Community advocates criticized the decision, calling it a move by the school district to unload real estate for a profit at the expense of involving residents in finding quality uses for the closed schools. And they fear that changing the process only exacerbates the distrust and resentment generated by the school closures in the first place."

Just like the DOJ report on the CPD shows that "critics" have been right about the police department all along, the Reporter shows that events have borne out what "critics" argued about Rahm's school closings.

"From the beginning, educators, parents, community members and school experts warned that Emanuel's plan for the schools was shortsighted and hit poor and African-American communities the hardest. Their fears have been borne out in the past four years. The remaining vacant schools are concentrated in poor, black neighborhoods on the city's West and South sides, where a legacy of disinvestment and segregation led to enrollment declines, and eventually, the school closures.

"Chicago's reuse proposal didn't consider how to help these fragile pockets of the city. Aldermen and the district have focused on selling empty schools on the more affluent North Side or in gentrifying communities on the South and West sides. As a result, critics argue, they have squandered an unprecedented opportunity to link school reuse with community redevelopment in neighborhoods that could most benefit from investment."

There's much more - the headline is "Behind Sale Of Closed Schools, A Legacy Of Segregation." Go read it.

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The Racist Invention Of The White Working Class
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U.S. HS Soccer Concussions On The Rise
Even as non-concussion injuries are down.

Bulls Verging On Respectability?
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The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: The Artist Formally Known As Vance Band, Bash & Pop, Weekend Nachos, Loa Hex, August Burns Red, and Kevin Lux.

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Harold Washington's Day.

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A 1968 Blackhawks Game.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: RICO Suave.

Permalink


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago.
TV - How TV Covered The DOJ's CPD Report.
POLITICS - Eight Men Own Same Wealth As Half Of Humanity.
SPORTS - HS Soccer Concussions Rising.

BOOKS - Tackling Shareholder Economics.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: Damocles In K-Town.


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