Raise Your Hand: FOIA Request Shows School Board Made Closure Decisions Without Financial Data


Last week, the appointed school board behind Chicago Public Schools voted to close 50 programs citywide. Their stated goal: to balance a projected $1 billion budget deficit by trimming the fat and closing buildings that aren’t optimally “utilized.”

But a report by the anti-closure advocacy group Raise Your Hand, the result of a Freedom of Information Act Request, according to a post on the group’s site, suggests that data on possible financial savings wasn’t submitted for consideration before the decision to close 50 schools was finalized.

From Raise Your Hand:

– 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.

The result from the FOIA request for “copies of reports and analysis that Board members reviewed according to a CPS news release on May 22, 2013” are available here, the same resource to which the board directed Raise Your Hand following its FOIA request:


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