Stories by Matt Masterson

Tracking CPS’ Shuttered School Properties

(Steven Kevil / Wikimedia Commons)

Following a highly controversial move in 2013 to close 50 elementary schools, Chicago Public Schools has sought to sell the vacant properties. Find out who is buying the shuttered schools, how much they’re paying, and what the sites could be used for.

Rauner, State Ask Judge to Toss Amended CPS Discrimination Suit

The governor and the state of Illinois claim an amended discrimination lawsuit filed by Chicago Public Schools suffers from the same flaws that got its previous suit tossed from court earlier this year.

SB1124 vs. SB1: Which is Best for Funding Illinois Education?

Following successful Illinois House and Senate votes on a Democrat-backed education funding reform bill, Republicans are taking a shot at fixing the nation’s least equitable education funding formula.

Karen Lewis: ‘We Cannot Continue Down This Road to Perdition’

(Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

The CTU president said interest payments on the latest CPS borrowing could instead be used to pay for three college counselors, three pre-K teachers or six special education assistants.

Teachers’ Pension Fund Not Expecting Full CPS Payment by Friday Deadline

(Chicago Tonight)

Schools are already out for the summer, but this Friday marks the final business day in Chicago Public Schools’ fiscal year, and with that comes a looming $700 million payment the district owes to its teacher pension fund.

CPS Offering Free Lunches to Students All Summer

Students ages 18 and under can pick up a free lunch on weekdays at school sites across the city, through Aug. 25. Find a location near you.

Teachers Union Merger Could Give Educators a Leg Up in Negotiations

(Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

Who wins and who loses if a local charter teachers union merges with CTU? Local labor education professor Robert Bruno takes a look at the proposed merger—and the possible impact on CPS.

New Illinois Guidelines Aim to Boost College and Career Readiness

(Chicago Tonight)

New state guidelines adopted this month will help kids get ready for life after 12th grade – whether that means picking a college or finding a job.

34 Pre-K Assistants Laid Off as CPS Revises Programming

Chicago Public Schools says the move is not due to spending cuts, but because it is transitioning to a new "universal preschool model."

CPS Borrowing More Money, But Mayor Says Schools Will Open on Time

Tuesday marked the final day of classes for CPS students, and despite lingering questions about district finances and the state budget, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is promising school will resume on time this fall.

Illinois Expecting Feedback on Education Guideline Proposal ‘Very Soon’

(Chicago Tonight)

Illinois is one of more than a dozen states awaiting a federal peer review from the U.S. Department of Education on its Every Student Succeeds Act plan.

Parents, Community Split Over CPS Plan for New South Loop High School

(National Teachers Academy / Facebook)

Why a proposal to convert a Near South Side elementary school into a neighborhood high school has won support from local residents, but drawn the ire of some parents.

Chicago Teachers Offer Plan to Better Handle Student Trauma

(Photo courtesy of Educators For Excellence)

Local teachers are recommending changes to Chicago Public Schools to offer better support to students dealing with poverty, homelessness and violence.

Chicago Charter Teachers Back Potential CTU Merger

Educators in the nation’s largest charter school union voted last week in favor of joining the Chicago Teachers Union in a move both sides hope will help expand their “collective power” to advocate for public education in the city.

CPS Announces Plans for New $75M Englewood High School

District will merge four existing area schools by 2019-20

(Rendering courtesy of Chicago Public Schools)

Chicago Public Schools says it's making its most significant investment in Englewood in decades, announcing plans Friday to construct a “state-of-the-art” high school that will take in students from four other area schools the district plans to shutter.

Report: Chicago-Area Public Schools Matching Downstate Counterparts

A new study finds that as school effectiveness and achievement levels rise in Chicago, the opposite is occurring downstate, where low-income enrollment is increasing.

How SB1 Would Rewrite Illinois’ Broken Education Funding Formula

The Democrat-backed bill would increase state funding to every public school district in the state. But it still faces an uncertain future as critics chide what they see as preferential treatment for Chicago Public Schools.

Chance the Rapper to Receive Humanitarian Award for CPS Work

Chance the Rapper holds a press conference on March 6, 2017 at Westcott Elementary School to announce a $1 million donation to CPS. (Chicago Tonight)

After winning three Grammys and making national headlines this year for his contributions to the Chicago Public Schools, Chicago-born Chance the Rapper is set to receive another award later this month.

Rauner Says Elected School Board Bill is ‘Political Spin’

Gov. Bruce Rauner reiterated his opposition Friday to a bill that would give Chicago an elected Board of Education, calling the measure “political spin” – a statement one of the legislation’s chief sponsors described as “ridiculous.”

Judge Orders Claypool, Staff to Testify in CTA Whistleblower Case

One week before Chicago Public Schools’ 2017-18 school year begins, district CEO Forrest Claypool and a handful of other high-ranking CPS officials will be called to testify as witnesses in a yearslong whistleblower case that dates back to their time working at the Chicago Transit Authority.

State Commission Could Lose Power to Overturn Charter School Closures

If signed by the governor, a Senate-approved bill would leave authority over charter closures with local school boards.

CPS Says Crime Down by One-Third Along Safe Passage Routes

(WBEZ / Flickr)

Using an analysis of Chicago Police Department data, the district says crime along Safe passage routes has fallen by 32 percent since the 2012-13 school year. 

Illinois House Once Again Backs Elected Chicago School Board

(Raise Your Hand Action / Twitter)

House legislation calling for an elected Chicago Board of Education has once again passed with strong bipartisan support, but the bill may still have a difficult road ahead.

Passages Charter Teachers Reach Late-Night Deal to Avert Strike

Becomes third Chicago charter network to avoid strike this school year

Following a “marathon” bargaining session Wednesday night, educators at Passages Charter School announced they have reached a tentative three-year contract agreement with school management. 

Claypool on CTU, Rauner Criticisms: ‘We’re Doing Something Right’

A day after a CTU vote revealed a widespread lack of confidence in the school district chief, Claypool defended himself before the Chicago Board of Education, comparing objections from union critics to those coming from the governor.