I checked in at Horner Park to testify before the Commission for Space Utilization on Friday evening.
It was a well attended event, with many supporters from different CPS Schools. I arrived with my handouts and my posters, pressing Josh Kalov into service as my easel when it was my turn at the microphone. (Thanks Josh!)
If you’d like to see my handouts for yourself, you can download them here:
List of CPS Schools for SY13 comparing Utilization Rates as calculated by CPS & A2A > Print_RYH Apples 2 Apples Space Utilization Update w CPS New Data Release SY13-1
Although I was happy to have the opportunity to speak, I’m still unclear as to who or which group will actually be using the process determined by the CPS Commission for Space Utilization to create the future list of schools to be closed.
- The Chicago Board of Education?
- Barbara Byrd-Bennett (CEO of CPS) and her staff?
- The Commission for Space Utilization
- The consulting group that was gathering input at the meeting on behalf of CPS, The Civic Consulting Alliance (subgroup of the Commercial Club of Chicago)?
I think that, for the sake of District, Ms. Byrd-Bennett would be wise to clarify WHO will be making this very important decision and eliminating the speculation and conspiracy theories that already have begun to swirl about the process. Withholding information creates a vacuum in human systems and, in the absence of transparency, that vacuum gets filled with speculation.
This is not the fault of the speculators. The vacuum is created by CPS leadership through a withholding of clear and specific information.
If the Commission for Space Utilization is, as a few people suspect, merely a buffer between the Chicago community and the District/Board of Education that would be detrimental to the District’s expressed desire to gain the trust and support of CPS parents.
If the Commission is being set-up as the “fall guy” for the District, the Board, or the Mayor, I believe that will lead to increased mistrust and lack of support between the various stakeholders within CPS.
I would rather give the Commission the benefit of the doubt and believe that the experienced professionals on the Commission for Space Utilization are creating recommendations for a process to determine if schools need to be closed.
Which means that the ultimate decision on closing schools would reside with the CPS CEO and the CPS members of the Board of Education (BOE). And that the CEO and BOE will respect the input of the Commission and actually implementing the process that they recommend.
I’m still not sure why the BOE has not sent a representative to these community meetings if they will ultimately be responsible for compiling the list, however. I would think that would help and not further injure their credibility as well as the credibility of their decision-making around school actions.
Of course, it would be easier to extend that benefit of the doubt with a clear understanding of who will be giving input into the decision, and who will be accountable for the final decisions.