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Sun-Times: Aldermen call for moratorium on opening new charter schools

by Fran Spielman - Chicago Sun-Times  |  02/13/2013

Four Chicago aldermen are demanding a moratorium on charter school expansion during the 2014-15 school year to give teachers, parents and students an opportunity to absorb the impact of impending school closings.

Hours before Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara-Byrd Bennett narrows the list of potential school closings, Ald. Matt O’Shea (19th) introduced a resolution at Wednesday’s City Council meeting urging CPS to call a halt to the charter school expansion that’s a cornerstone of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to provide an array of choices for parents to prevent failing schools from forcing middle-class families from fleeing to the suburbs.

“It’s common sense. How can we say we have 100,000 empty seats, we’re broke, yet we keep opening schools? We have no business opening schools,” O’Shea said.

When the resolution was introduced into the record, mayoral allies made certain it was referred to the Rules Committee, the traditional burial ground for legislation the administration doesn’t like. Dowell questioned the committee assignment. She argued that the Education Committee was more appropriate. Ald. Danny Solis (25th), an Emanuel ally, countered that the Rules Committee would provide an opportunity for more aldermen to weigh in on the controversy.

O’Shea acknowledged that his Southwest Side ward is home to “more teachers than any other” ward in the city.

But the alderman denied that he was doing the bidding of a teachers union that has vehemently opposed charter school expansion on grounds that charters suck sorely needed resources from a system facing a $1 billion shortfall and are staffed by teachers who are not union members.

The resolution was co-sponsored by Aldermen Pat Dowell (3rd), Willie Cochran (20th) and Ricardo Munoz (22nd).

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Proco Moreno - 1st         
Bob Fioretti - 2nd          
Pat Dowell - 3rd              
William Burns - 4th
Leslie Hairston - 5th
Roderick Sawyer - 6th
Anthony Beale - 9th
John Pope - 10th
Toni Foulkes - 15th
Joann Thompson - 16th
Latasha Thomas - 17th
Lona Lane - 18th
Matthew O'Shea - 19th
Willie Cochran - 20th
Ricardo Munoz - 22nd
Michael Chandler - 24th
Roberto Maldonado - 26th
Walter Burnett Jr. - 27th
Ray Suarez - 31st
Scott Waguespack - 32nd
Carrie Austin - 34th
Nicholas Sposato - 36th
Emma Mitts - 37th
Timothy Cullerton - 38th
Magaret Laurino - 39th
Mary O'Connor - 41st
Michele Smith - 43rd
John Arena - 45th
James Cappleman - 46th
Ameya Pawar - 47th
Harry Osterman - 48th
Joe Moore - 49th

Chicago Teachers Union