Rachel Weber, UIC professor of urban planning and policy, was interviewed in a WBEZ news story on Chicago Public Schools’ enrollment decline and whether the system may need to close more schools next year when a self-imposed five-year moratorium ends.
Per the WBEZ analysis,
Chicago Public Schools has lost 32,000 students over the last five years, nearly the same enrollment drop as in the 10-year period leading up to the closures of 50 elementary schools in 2013. Those missing students could fill 53 average-sized Chicago schools. This massive enrollment decline comes as a self-imposed five-year moratorium on school closings lifts in 2018.
The school system must announce by Dec. 1 any proposed closures for its more than 600 schools. Officials have already indicated they will recommend closing only a handful of schools for next year, the first without the moratorium. But there’s little doubt CPS faces a major enrollment and utilization problem once again, just five years after the mass closings.
Given the continued decline in enrollment, CPS is facing difficult choices of further closures and reorganization. Having studied the district’s school closures in the past, Weber hopes “that CPS has some more creative ideas for how to deal with this problem than just radical surgery.”