It's also a bad omen for communities. The last thing Englewood, Austin or any of the neighborhoods -- most of them poor and black -- that stand to lose schools need is another boarded-up vacant building. (CPS says it is "working with community and city departments on a comprehensive planning process to determine the best use for unused buildings.")
With CPS losing enrollment, officials insist that the closings are needed to "right-size" the district, to save money and to provide more resources in schools that will stay open.
But many long-time observers and community activists aren't buying that. They hope for the best, but see no evidence that mass closings, the largest ever in a major urban district, will bring anything but more chaos and turmoil to communities that already struggle with social and economic woes. Our chart in the latest issue of Catalyst In Depth gives readers some hard statistics on the challenges faced by the 54 schools and their neighborhoods.