Community group blasts CPS for after school tutoring cuts

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Some elected officials and community groups are reeling over a Chicago Public Schools’ decision to seek a waiver that would allow the school district to, in effect, cut funding for after school tutoring and, instead, use the money to plug budget hol

Some elected officials and community groups are reeling over a Chicago Public Schools’ decision to seek a waiver that would allow the school district to, in effect, cut funding for after school tutoring and, instead, use the money to plug budget holes.

“It’s unconscionable” that CPS would divert millions of dollars away from a program that not only provides an academic boost to students but also serves as a haven for them after school, state Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-13th Dist., said at a press conference Nov. 12 on the steps of the New Spiritual Light Baptist Church, in the South Shore community.

Critics of the cuts said that from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on school days is a time when young people are likely to get into serious trouble. The tutoring program, members of the Safe and Fair Education Coalition said, also offers the young people an alternative to the streets. The coalition is made up of parents, and community and school groups.

“A waiver is tantamount to the word ‘renege,’” state Rep. Marlow Colvin, D- 33rd Dist., said at the press conference.

He urged CPS to reconsider the waiver request and “provide these critical dollars that the stimulus … the president” provided to students.

S.A.F.E. leaders said some 72,000 students signed up for tutoring programs, but as a result of the waiver, funding may only be available for about 40,000 of them. The federal government allocated more than $115 million in Title I funds through the Supplemental Education Services program for these students, the coalition said.

“Tutoring and life and death are now mingled,” said Joy Woods, a community activist and former Phillips High School teacher. She made reference to Derrion Albert, the Fenger High School sophomore who was beaten to death in September.

Chicago Public Schools officials did not return Defender calls by press time requesting comment.

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