Apples 2 Apples Cited in Report on CPS School Closings


From Roosevelt University:

“The proliferation of charter schools, particularly in areas of declining enrollment and in proximity to schools that have closed, is adding financial stress to Chicago’s financially strapped public school system, a new report co-authored by a Roosevelt University professor shows.

Released by Roosevelt Associate Professor of Sociology Stephanie Farmer on Tuesday, March 28, the report titled “Closed by Choice: The Spatial Relationship between Charter School Expansion, School Closures and Fiscal Stress in Chicago Public Schools” tracks 108 charter schools opened between 2000 and 2015 – a time when CPS was closing schools, cutting resources and reducing staff.

A research team led by Farmer found that the majority of charter schools opened during that period were largely in areas where the population of school-aged children was in decline and were located in close vicinity to shuttered schools.

“We were surprised to discover how much CPS has saturated charter schools in neighborhoods with declining school-age populations. We believe this decision is a strong contributing factor to the current strain on CPS’ finances,” said Farmer, who co-authored the report with sociology PhD candidates Ashley Baber from Loyola University and Chris Poulos from the University of Illinois at Chicago on behalf of the Project for Middle Class Renewal.

“The proliferation of charter schools in Chicago has forced CPS to stretch its resources across a surplus of schools in low-demand markets,” Farmer said. “CPS now has substantial off-the-books debt due to the public’s responsibility to finance all of these additional privatized charter schools.”

CPS Apples 2 Apples Data and Analysis by Jeanne Marie Olson referenced in the report included:

Data Analysis Reveals Nearly 11,000 Empty Seats; 47% of Charter Schools Under-enrolled
“Space Utilization: Does Central Office Use 36 as the Average Maximum Class Size or Not?”

Previous CPS Apples 2 Apples analysis relevant to this topic:

Where did 100,000 Empty Seats Come From?

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