Last day for 20 CPS schools, CEO recommends Safe Passage hirings - New York News

Last day for 20 CPS schools, CEO recommends Safe Passage hirings

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Monday is the last day of classes for 20 Chicago Public Schools that will close their doors for good. CPS chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett will also recommend the hiring of 19 new, Safe Passage vendors ahead of next fall.

Bryd-Bennett will make her recommendation to the Chicago Board of Education on Monday. Those community-based vendors will then hire 600 workers to secure routes for children attending welcoming schools in the new school year.

The school board will vote on her recommendations this Wednesday. If approved, the hiring process will begin in July.

The last day of school is scheduled to be a fully day for some CPS schools, where kids are having pizza parties, dance parties, field days and signing yearbook.

But at Trumbull Elementary in the North Side Andersonville neighborhood, students don't know what to expect, as the school's 100-year run comes to an end.

Parents staged a sit-in protest at Lafayette School on Sunday, another location slated for closure. The Chicago Teachers Union supported that demonstration. They warned parents not to relax, because they will be having huge budget cuts ahead.

The teachers union doesn't think the Safe Passage hirings will work.

"I think Safe Passage is a little too little too late. We had over a couple dozen shootings this weekend and last weekend. Dozens of people have been killed," CTU financial secretary Kristine Mayle told FOX 32 News on Monday. "People wearing green vests are not going to make the kids safe on their way to school. It's a huge concern for us. We're very afraid for these kids."

Mayor Emanuel and the school board are concerned as well. That's why they plan to hire 600 workers directly from these communities to make sure kids can get to school safely in the fall.

All summer long, they also plan to fix street lamps to provide more lighted pathways and paint and secure vacant lots to make them safer.

Some aldermen who don't have Safe Passage routes are complaining they are not getting the services they need.

Safe Passage currently provides a safe route to and from school at 39 schools throughout Chicago. These guides are people who live in the communities they serve, and know the ins and outs of the neighborhoods, well enough to provide a good foundation for a safe walk to school.

The program will be expanded to 51 schools this fall, involving more than 12,000 students.

CPS reports the program "has led to a 20% decline in criminal incidents around existing Safe Passage schools, a 27 percent drop in incidents among students, and a 7 percent increase in attendance."

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