Barbara Byrd Bennett

CHICAGO — The commission created to help decide how Chicago Public Schools are consolidated said no high schools should be closed, according to

In a report released Thursday, the Commission on School Utilization said closing high schools could increase the risk of violence for students mixing with those from different neighborhoods.

“[W]ith gang boundaries sometimes shifting on an almost weekly basis, and barring extreme circumstances, it is simply too risky to ask high-school-age kids to cross gang lines just to travel to and from school,” the report said.
The commission also recommended no Level 1, or high-performing, schools be considered for closure.

The commission, made of up eight private citizens, clergy and politicians, was created by CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett in the wake of the controversy over proposals to close underutilized schools. The commission met with community members, school staff, researchers and Chicago Teachers Union leaders to arrive at its initial recommendations.

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