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School Closures: Facts and Statistics

by CTU Research  |  04/18/2013

Click here for a School Closures: Facts and Statistics PDF download

Statement:
“If CPS carries out its plan to close 54 schools, up to 60% of receiving schools will become overcrowded schools or have overcrowded classrooms. Schools have many educationally sound uses for rooms in their buildings that do not necessarily fit into utilization formulas. Therefore, CTU’s analysis considers schools to be overcrowded if they have more students than the school’s ideal utilization capacity, even though CPS does not call a school overcrowded unless it is at 120% of capacity. The CTU analysis uses 25 for the average class size in its calculations. The union is aware that CPS uses 30 students per class, and that CPS has publicly stated that there would be no problem if 40 or more students were in each classroom. Should that be their plan, students will be crowded into classrooms even if the building itself has sufficient rooms. Either way, the CPS plan will not result in better education for the students at the closing schools, or the students at the receiving schools.”

Expected enrollment and utilization for schools that are likely to become overcrowded[1]

[1] Chart excludes schools that will be consolidated into multiple facilities. 

Efficient or Overcrowded? Bell elementary, a school two miles from the mayor’s home in the Ravenswood community, was deemed at 100% utilization, yet received $10 million in capital improvements projects in 2012 for facility expansion. At Bell, ‘efficient’ usage was a problem with a $10 million solution. All schools and communities that need more space for their students deserve investment. However, there is a clear double-standard when CPS is closing and consolidating schools on the south and west sides in order to make them ‘efficient’, and in many instances over-crowded, while at the same time funneling money to a school in Ravenswood to expand further when CPS deems it ‘efficient’.

Increased Class Sizes for Affected Students

Due to the insufficient proportion of rooms that CPS allocates to each school for ‘ancillary’ usage, these newly consolidated schools will be forced to choose between having reasonable class sizes and having sufficient room for dedicated arts, music, alternative programs, and special education use.

Many of the schools that will be closed or designated as ‘welcoming’, have relatively low class size.[1] The average class sizes across the grade levels at the 108 affected schools range from 21 to 24 students per class. If we assume that each of the schools will maintain a similar level of enrollment, the newly consolidated schools next year will have much higher class sizes than the students had previously.[2]

Comparing the expected average class sizes to the average class sizes across the grades in the consolidating schools[3] shows how detrimental these consolidations will be to the learning environments of children. Over three-fourths of the affected schools will see an increase in their average class size by 6 students per class. 30% of the schools will have an increase of over 6 students per class.

Over a third of the schools would have average class sizes of 28 or more, which is the established class size contractual cap for K-3 grades. 13% would have an average class size of 31 or more, which is the contractual class size cap for 3rd through 8th grades.

These numbers underestimate the average expected class sizes since the newly consolidated schools will in most cases need far more than the allotted ancillary rooms in order to provide a well-rounded curriculum and supports for their special education students. Due to this harsh choice imposed upon school staff by the Board and the central administration, affected schools could have far higher average class sizes than indicated by these calculations – causing even greater harm to affected students as they abruptly transition from small learning environments to overcrowded classrooms.

Calculations of expected enrollment, future estimated avg class sizes, prior avg class sizes (reported from 2011-2012 school year), and the difference between future and past avg class sizes. 

Disparate Impact Stats




In the beginning of their school closing campaign, CPS made it clear that all underutilized schools could face school action.

The chart to the left shows all district, non-charter elementary schools, with each diamond representing a school. The percentage of black students is represented on the x-axis and the percentage of black teachers is represented on the y-axis. The black diamonds represent all underutilized elementary schools that are not in the process of adding grades. The gray dots are all other elementary schools.

78% of all eligible underutilized schools are majority black students. 61% of all eligible underutilized schools are both majority black students and majority black teaching staff.

Out of the 229 elementary schools that have majority black students, 84% were underutilized and eligible. Out of the 170 elementary schools that are both majority black students and majority black teachers, 89% were underutilized and eligible.

Out of the 242 schools that have less than 50% black students, 22% were underutilized and eligible. Since all elementary schools with a minority black student population also have a minority black teaching population, the stats are the same for when we include black teachers.   

CPS released an official list of 129 eligible schools in February.

91% of eligible schools had majority black students, and 72% had majority black students and majority black teaching staff.

With the reduced list, 51% of elementary schools that have majority black students were eligible for closure. 55% of elementary schools that are both majority black students and majority black teachers were on the list. Only 5% of schools with a minority of black students were on the list.

The Hit List of 53 closing schools and 6 turnarounds:

90% of the affected schools have a majority black student population. 71% have a majority black student and teaching staff.

23% of elementary schools with majority black students are on the final hit list.  25% of all schools with both majority black students and staff are on the final list. Just 2% of schools with a minority black student population are on the final list. 

The Hit List of 53 closing schools and 6 turnarounds:

90% of the affected schools have a majority black student population. 71% have a majority black student and teaching staff.

23% of elementary schools with majority black students are on the final hit list.  25% of all schools with both majority black students and staff are on the final list. Just 2% of schools with a minority black student population are on the final list. 


[1] Based off of ISBE reported average class size by grade for all CPS schools in the 2011-2012 school year

[2] Average class sizes for these consolidated schools can be estimated by dividing expected enrollment by the number of designated homeroom classes that CPS has identified in the buildings to be used by the new consolidated schools.

[3] This analysis is limited to the 38 instances where a school is being received by just one other school, and where only one school building would house both consolidated schools. The analysis was limited to these instances where an accurate estimate of available future homeroom class spaces was available.

Chicago Teachers Union