Stories by Matt Masterson

CPS Nixes Haunted House at Elementary School Depicting Pulse Massacre

An Eventbrite ad for the canceled "The Room" haunted house event.

Event listing says participants in nightclub, church shooting scenarios would have to “face the consequences” of their actions.

Illinois Report Card Shows Student Achievement Stable, in Need of Improvements

(Albert Herring / Wikimedia Commons)

The Illinois State Board of Education on Monday released its annual Report Card – a snapshot of accountability and achievement figures from students, schools and administrators across the state.

CTU Delays Contract Vote

(Chicago Tonight)

The CTU's full membership will hold a secret ballot vote on a tentative labor contract with Chicago Public Schools next Monday and Tuesday.

CPS Looking to Get More Students Active With New Sports Program

(Jill Carlson / Flickr)

The Chicago Board of Education on Wednesday voted unanimously in favor of a new districtwide program aimed at getting more elementary school students involved in school athletics.

On Different Paths, Chicago Students Taking 1st Steps Toward College, Careers

(Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

While hundreds of high schoolers picked up college acceptance letters Tuesday, others were getting their first professional workplace experience in a new CPS vocational training program.

New Report Finds Student Debt on the Rise Across Illinois, US

Student debt for Illinois grads has increased by more than $5,400 since 2010, according to a new national report.

One Illinois state representative hopes to stem the tide of rising student debt by making public colleges and universities free for all in-state residents.

CTU Delegates Overwhelmingly Support Tentative Labor Agreement

CTU President Karen Lewis said she's confident the union's 28,000 members will approve a tentative labor agreement with Chicago Public Schools next week. (Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

The union's full membership will vote to approve or reject the tentative agreement with CPS inside schools across the district next week.

UNO Charter School Network, Teachers Prevent Strike With Early Morning Deal

(Chicago Tonight)

The United Educators of UNO reached a tentative agreement early Wednesday morning with the UNO Charter School Network to stave off what would have been the nation’s first-ever charter school teacher strike.

SUPES Co-Owner Pleads Guilty in Byrd-Bennett Bribery Scandal

Courtroom sketch from October 2015 depicts Gary Solomon, right, and Thomas Vranas, left, in federal court. (Thomas Gianni)

SUPES Academy CEO Gary Solomon pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in federal court Tuesday, opening the door for co-defendants Tom Vranas and Barbara Byrd-Bennett to be sentenced for their bribery scheme.

U.S. High School Grad Rate Reaches Record Mark

(AKS.9955 / Wikimedia Commons)

Illinois students are outpacing the U.S. average, while Chicago Public Schools says its graduation rate is growing at three times the national rate.

Labor Issues Could Force 1st-Ever Charter School Teachers Strike

UEU spokeswoman Erica Stewart, far right, joins protestors outside the UNO Charter School Network offices downtown Thursday to call for greater urgency during ongoing labor negotiations. (Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

The United Educators of UNO plans to strike next week if it cannot come to terms on a new labor agreement with the UNO Charter School Network.

Alderman Backs Off Controversial Merger of Kellogg, Sutherland Schools

(Scott Smith)

A Chicago alderman dropped his controversial plan to combine two elementary schools within his ward, but some parents are still concerned about what the rest of his proposal could mean for other schools in the community.

CPS, Teachers Union Reach Tentative Deal to Avert Strike

A last second agreement averted a second major strike in four years for the Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools. (Matt Masterson/Chicago Tonight)

A strike by Chicago Teachers Union members has been averted after the union reached a tentative agreement with Chicago Public Schools and the Board of Education.

With No Deal in Place CTU, Board of Education to Negotiate Through Weekend

CTU President Karen Lewis said negotiations between the two sides would continue over the weekend and through Columbus Day if necessary, but as of Friday afternoon, she had “nothing substantial” to report.

Former Gov. Quinn Calls for Elected School Board in New Court Case

Former Gov. Pat Quinn is one of seven plaintiffs in a pair of civil suits filed this week calling for an end to mayoral control of the Chicago Board of Education.

Pat Quinn is among seven plaintiffs who have filed suits in Cook County and federal courts, claiming the law granting Chicago’s mayor authority to appoint board members violates city residents’ due process and voting rights.

Librarian at Center of Student Protest Last Year Among Latest CPS Cuts

(Courtesy of Alvita Payne)

Sara Sayigh, a 60-year-old librarian on the historic DuSable High School campus, was one of nearly 250 educators and support staff CPS laid off this week because of shrinking budgets and declining enrollment.

Camps, Day Care Available for CPS Students if Teachers Walk Out

(YMCA)

The YMCA and other community organizations across the city plan to hold strike camps for CPS students if the district and Chicago teachers can't reach a contract agreement by next week.

As Teacher Strike Looms, Parents Make Plans for Kids Missing School

(Don Harder / Flickr)

Some parents are skipping family events and stockpiling paid time off to make sure they're able to watch children during a possible teacher's strike next month.

Plan to Merge Kellogg, Sutherland Schools Met With Parent Scorn

(Scott Smith)

A proposal designed to eliminate overcrowding at Mount Greenwood Elementary by shuffling around neighboring schools has been met with disdain by local parents.

CTU Overwhelmingly Votes to Authorize Teacher Strike

More than 95 percent of voting union members in favor of strike

| Brandis Friedman
(Chicago Tonight)

More than 95 percent of Chicago Teachers Union members who participated in last week’s three-day authorization vote said they were in favor of another work stoppage. 

New Student Health Center Announced at Bronzeville School

(WBEZ / Flickr)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Friday announced plans for the city's 33rd school-based student health care center at Drake Elementary.

CPS Data Show Minority Students More Likely to be Suspended, Expelled

More than 96 percent of district suspensions and 99 percent of expulsions affected minority students last school year. (Max Klingensmith / Flickr)

More than 96 percent of district suspensions and 99 percent of expulsions affected minority students last school year.

CTU Voting Underway to Authorize New Strike

CTU teachers protest outside a Chicago Public Schools Board of Education meeting on Aug. 24. Teachers and schools across Chicago will spend the rest of this week voting whether or not to authorize a possible strike later this year. (Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

Teachers say they feel the Chicago Board of Education has forced them into a possible strike with repeated staff cuts.

Arne Duncan to Springfield: Change School Funding Model

Arne Duncan (Chicago Tonight)

Former U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan talks about education funding, a new University of Chicago program helping more students earn bachelor's degrees, and a potential teachers strike in a one-on-one interview with Chicago Tonight.

CPS Head Investigator Claims District Auditors Interfered in Theft Probe

Nicholas Schuler (Chicago Tonight)

Internal auditors reportedly ignored multiple warnings from the CPS inspector general against conducting its own probe into the theft of tens of thousands of CTA transit passes, which the OIG says jeopardized a possible criminal prosecution and hindered its investigative efforts.