Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Thanks for listening, Carlos. But here's how you know the decisions have already been made.

Azcoitia just "listening"?
CPS board member, Carlos Azcoitia showed up at Amundsen High School, host to back-to-back community meetings for Graeme Stewart and Joseph Stockton elementary schools. Both are on BBB's chopping block. Carlos said he was there to "listen" and knowing him, I believe that is true. But Carlos was also running the party line on people who have heard it too many times.

He admits that "some disruption is going to occur when you close a school."
"But we're going to do it with educational enhancements, better facilities, and having safe passage for students," he said.
Well at least he didn't say the board was liberating students "trapped in bad schools." He must have missed the last meeting with Liar-in-Chief Becky Carroll. But Carlos knows as well as I do that these hearings are meaningless at this point. Rahm even said as much.  But the real way you know that nobody, including Carlos, is really listening is by following the money. 

It all spilled out Tuesday in the meeting of the Public Building Commission (PBC) where veteran community activist Ed Gardner was pressing for more contracts for black contractors. The PBC had just  approved the Mayor's plan to funnel through the commission, $220 million in school construction projects that must be completed by fall. The Chicago Public Schools has set aside $155 million for an array of enticing physical and educational improvements at 55 schools designated to receive students. Credit Gardner with also raising the issue of blight if closed schools are simply boarded up and left vacant.

The capital plan also includes: $48 million for “co-locations,” $9 million for turn-around schools, $14 million to expand International Baccalaureate programs and $11.2 million to install modular classrooms to ready seven elementary schools to provide full-day kindergarten.

30% of the contracts were set aside for minority contractors but Gardner wants 50% since pretty much all the schools being renovated are in the black community.

I ask you Carlos, does that sound like the school-closing plan is still up for discussion. That's not listening. That's pacifying.

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