Commission chairman speaks about school closings decision

Exclusive: Commission chairman speaks about school closings decision

Posted: Updated:
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Chicago public school officials are defending their decision to close 54 schools at the end of the year.

Now, Frank Clark, who decided which neighborhood schools would be closed, speaks exclusively to FOX 32 about the process.

Former ComEd executive Frank Clark says he came out of retirement for one reason: a better education for Chicago's children.

"This is about a population shift. This is about school performance," Clark says. "This is about utilization and scarce resources and more than anything else we're moving kids from an educational environment that has failed them to that is succeeding."

For four months, Clark and nearly a dozen others heard from parents, teachers and students on how to consolidate or close schools in Chicago. When the group first convened, the list of potential schools to be shut down was at 330---that was cut in half and eventually the commission recommended 54 closings to the schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett.

"All safety considerations were taken into account before we reached any final recommendations," Byrd-Bennett said.

"You should only close a school when you can send a kid to a better performing school," Clark adds.

During this week's rally, the head of the Chicago Teachers Union, Karen Lewis, called the closings racist.

"When the schools you close are filled with black and brown children, I don't know what you call it, that's racist," Lewis said.

"We have to stop the name calling," Byrd-Bennett says. "I think the children pick that up and then we wonder about behaviors. I think we must stay focused with the central question is this good for the children?"

When Lewis ripped Mayor Rahm Emanuel about being on vacation when the closing were announced, the schools chief told FOX 32's Darlene Hill: "the mayor runs the city. The mayor has entrusted me with the leadership of the schools."

Over the next couple of months, hearings will be held to include parents, students and teachers from the list of schools closing. When asked if that input could keep a school open, Frank Clark said no. Their recommendations are final.

Follow Us!

Share Your Photos & Video

  • Metro HeadlinesMore>>

  • City council considering garbage collection fee

    City council considering garbage collection fee

    Thursday, April 24 2014 12:27 PM EDT2014-04-24 16:27:12 GMT
    money-roll-genericmoney-roll-generic
    Chicago residents may soon be paying more for garbage to help pay for the city's pension mess.
    Chicago residents may soon be paying more for garbage to help pay for the city's pension mess.
  • Man charged in police chase that injured 5 at bus stop

    Man charged in police chase that injured 5 at bus stop

    Thursday, April 24 2014 11:45 AM EDT2014-04-24 15:45:16 GMT
    A South Side man has been charged in connection with a police chase Tuesday night that ended when his vehicle collided with another vehicle and crashed into a bus stop, injuring five people in the Roseland neighborhood.
    A South Side man has been charged in connection with a police chase Tuesday night that ended when his vehicle collided with another vehicle and crashed into a bus stop, injuring five people in the Roseland neighborhood.
  • Man found dead after Oak Lawn gas leak

    Man found dead after Oak Lawn gas leak

    Thursday, April 24 2014 11:38 AM EDT2014-04-24 15:38:05 GMT
    A man was found dead inside his home by crews responding to a gas leak Wednesday evening in southwest suburban Oak Lawn.
    A man was found dead inside his home by crews responding to a gas leak Wednesday evening in southwest suburban Oak Lawn.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices