PSAT for 6-28-11: Back to Whittier!

It’s kind of shocking — but not really. Former Governor Blagojevich is convicted yet the rest of our not-yet-indicted “public servants” just keep on behaving as though government exists for a small upper crust, and treat the public with complete disdain.

The Whittier Moms are back fighting for what the last CPS CEO had already promised them – a library in La Casita, and continued space for the school’s special education program. New CPS CEO Brizard seems to think their weeks-long fight last year doesn’t matter, and has sent pre-demolition crews back to the school.

Some suggest that this move is being made by Ald. Danny Solis on behalf of the private Christo Rey school which wants a soccer field and the Whittier Field House is in the way.

Whittier Moms are asking for people to help picket at the playground today. From Gema Gaete:

UPDATE: WE ARE RESUMING THE PICKET LINE AT 6AM AT WHITTIER TO PREVENT CONSTRUCTION FROM STARTING. WE WILL ALSO NEED PEOPLE THROUGHOUT THE DAY TO HELP PHONEBANK. SINCE CPS CEO BRIZARD WOULD NOT MEET THE PARENT COMMITTEE AT LA CASITA AS REQUESTED, A SMALL GROUP OF PARENTS WENT TO MEET WITH HIM MONDAY AT 3PM AT CPS. THE PARENTS ARTICULATED THE DEMANDS THAT MUST BE MET BEFORE THEY WOULD AGREE TO THE LIBRARY BEING BUILT IN THE MAIN SCHOOL BUILDING: 1) THAT THE FINISHED LIBRARY BE UNIVERSALLY ACCESSIBLE (SINCE CPS’S CURRENT CHOSEN LOCATION IS ON THE 2ND FLOOR) AND 2) THAT NO SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS BE DISPLACED.

CEO BRIZARD’S RESPONSE VIA LETTER THIS EVENING WAS THAT CPS WOULD MEET THE MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS UNDER THE LAW FOR ACCESSIBILITY. FOR EXAMPLE, THE DOORS WOULD BE WIDE ENOUGH FOR A WHEELCHAIR, BUT THERE WOULD BE NO METHOD OF TRANSPORTING STUDENTS IN WHEELCHAIRS TO THE 2ND FLOOR. HIS LETTER STATES: “In the case of Whittier, there are two neighborhood elementary schools within one mile: Finkl Elementary and Orozco Community Academy. Under CPS policy, a student or parent with a disability who needs an accessible school would be eligible for transfer to one of those schools.” THIS PLAN WOULD RESULT IN THE DISPLACEMENT OF STUDENTS NEEDING AN ACCESSIBLE FACILITY, THEREBY TAKING AWAY PARENTS’ CHOICE OF SCHOOLS AND SEPARATING FAMILIES THAT HAVE MORE THAN ONE CHILD IN THE SCHOOL. ALSO, CEO BRIZARD HAS NOT CLEARLY ADDRESSED HOW CPS’S PROPOSAL WOULD AVOID DISPLACING SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS WHO HAVE CURRENTLY BEEN MAKING USE OF THE ROOM THAT CPS PLANS TO TURN INTO A LIBRARY.

FOR MORE INFO, PLEASE COME AND SPEND SOME TIME AT LA CASITA. THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT AND SOLIDARITY!

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Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.