Many of the more than 600 public schools in Chicago are underutilized, and some have expected that the financially hurting district might decide to close as many as 100 campuses at the end of the school year. But a commission looking at school closings has told district officials that shutting a large number of schools would create too much upheaval, The Chicago Tribune reports. The panel is leaning toward a recommendation for closing far fewer schools than many have feared — possibly as few as 15. The school system has until March 31 to produce a list of schools that will be shut down. Some district officials reportedly are considering closing fewer than 50 schools because commission members have found that a higher number would be untenable.
The panel already has recommended that none of the city's high schools be closed, citing concerns about gang violence and student safety.
The deadline for deciding school closures had been in December, but the Illinois Legislature extended the deadline until the end of March so that the system could gather information on how closing campuses would affect communities.