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Stories by Matt Masterson

ISBE Announces Hearings on CPS Special Education Practices

State education officials interested in examining Chicago Public Schools’ special education offerings will hold open hearings this month after families, stakeholders and a media report stoked concerns last year of possible “systemic issues.”

Chicago Students Call for Gun Reform in Massive Walkout

Students at Lake View High School joined their peers across the city and the nation Wednesday in a walkout protest demanding an end to gun violence. (Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

Thousands of students from Chicago schools, including Lake View High School, joined in the nationwide protest held one month after a shooting left 17 dead inside a high school in Parkland, Florida.

CPS CEO: No Discipline for Students Participating in Protest Wednesday

Chicago teens Vashon Edmondson, left, and Trinity Cole-Reid look on at a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting memorial in Parkland, Florida on March 3. (Photo courtesy Lamar Johnson)

Students from dozens of schools across the city are planning to take part in a 17-minute walkout Wednesday morning, with each minute representing a life lost during the Feb. 14 mass shooting at a Florida high school.

Not Guilty Plea for Man Charged in Killing of CPD Cmdr. Paul Bauer

Shomari Legghette, center, appears before Cook County Judge Erica Reddick at the Leighton Criminal Court Building on Monday, March 12. (Courtroom sketch by Thomas Gianni)

Shomari Legghette, 44, pleaded not guilty to charges including first-degree murder on Monday in front of more than a dozen Chicago police officers.

Grand Jury Indicts Suspect in Fatal Shooting of Police Commander Bauer

Shomari Legghette (Chicago Police Department)

More criminal charges could be on the way for the four-time felon accused in the shooting death of Chicago Police Department Cmdr. Paul Bauer.

Van Dyke Judge: Trial Timeline Won’t Be ‘Run By The Public’

Protesters call for trial start date more than two years after case first began

Jason Van Dyke, left, with his attorney Daniel Herbert inside the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago on Thursday, March 8, 2018. (Nancy Stone / Chicago Tribune / Pool)

In 2015, Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke pleaded not guilty in the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald. But a start date for the trial is likely still months away.

CPS Revamping School Funding, Removing Early Year Cuts

Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson says principals won’t have to worry about early school year cuts this fall, and that CPS will give them “more time, predictability, and support during the budget process.”

Suburban Postal Employees Convicted in Drug Delivery Ring

(U.S. Air Force photo / Airman 1st Class Jordan Castelan)

A pair of U.S. Postal Service employees in the south suburbs face more than two decades in prison after they were convicted this month for their role in a marijuana delivery ring.

Chicago Students Talk Gun Violence with Parkland Shooting Survivors

(Photo courtesy Lamar Johnson)

Chicago students and activists spent Saturday afternoon at the Florida home of a Parkland shooting survivor and her classmates to discuss the impact gun violence has had on their lives.

6 Chicagoans Charged With Defrauding Millions from US Education Department

(Don Harder / Flickr)

Six former employees of the shuttered Center for Employment Training’s Chicago location allegedly swindled millions from the U.S. government using “fake students” and forged records.

Rauner Veto Stalls Bill Aimed at Limiting State Charter School Control

House Bill 768 passed through the state House and Senate easily last year, but the governor’s veto of the legislation, which seeks to limit state oversight of local decisions to shutter underperforming charter schools, doesn’t come as a surprise.

CPS Board Votes Unanimously to Close 4 Englewood High Schools

Plans for a new Englewood high school have been at the center of fierce debate for months. Wednesday’s vote marks the first wave of neighborhood school closures within the district since it shuttered 50 elementary schools in 2013.

Community Leaders Ask CPS Watchdog to Investigate Englewood Plan

As Chicago Public Schools moves to finalize the planned closures of four Englewood high schools, community members are claiming the district “manufactured consent” for the controversial plan.

Education Funding Report Shows Dismal Past for Illinois, Hope for Future

Illinois maintains the most regressive education funding formula in the nation, according to a new report. But with a new formula adopted last year, there’s finally hope the state can make its way out of the basement.

Advocates: Early Childhood Budget Proposal Maintains ‘Status Quo’

Early childhood care advocates say Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget will hamper their ability to expand high-quality services to low-income families.

CPS Watchdog: ‘Pervasive Problem’ with Enrollment at Some District Schools

A new report from the CPS inspector general uncovers loopholes and opaque rules that led to thousands of improper admissions made at district elementary schools during the 2016-17 school year.

Emanuel on Arming Teachers: ‘Absurd Any Way You Look at It’

Mayor fires back at Trump’s idea to allow some teachers to carry firearms in class

Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks Thursday at the Chicago Cultural Center, where Chicago Public Schools was recognized as one of the College Board’s AP Districts of the Year. (Chicago Tonight)

We don’t need more guns in schools, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Thursday, “we need more teachers in schools, more students who are not scared so they can be focused not on their fears, but their studies.”

CPS Named as College Board’s AP District of the Year

Chicago Public Schools is now the first district of any size to earn the honor twice. Since 2011 – the first year it was named AP District of the Year – the number of CPS students taking the exams has jumped by 44 percent.

Naperville Man Acquitted in Retrial 22 Years After Arson Murder Conviction

Bill Amor (Illinois Innocence Project / Facebook)

Bill Amor spent two decades behind bars for a murder he says he didn’t commit. On Wednesday, a DuPage County judge agreed – and acquitted him in a retrial of a 1995 arson case.

CPS CEO Janice Jackson Named a National ‘Leader to Learn From’ in 2018

(Chicago Public Schools)

She’s officially been on the job for only a few weeks, but Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson is already earning recognition for her work to improve the district.

Wife of Slain CPD Commander Bauer Thanks Chicago for Support

Erin Bauer: ‘One man almost stole my faith in humanity, but City of Chicago, nation restored it’

Flowers and balloons are left as a makeshift memorial to CPD Cmdr. Paul Bauer outside his 18th District precinct. (Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

“I saw each and every one of you from the darkened window of my car,” Erin Bauer wrote in an open letter Tuesday. “The good people in this world far outnumber the bad. Grace and I are humbled, as Paul would be.”

Police: Carjacking Suspect Faces Murder Charge After Fatal Crash

A 29-year-old Streamwood man faces felony murder charges after he allegedly stole and crashed a taxi, killing a 69-year-old Lincoln Park woman.

Suspect in Fatal Shooting of Police Commander Bauer Held Without Bond

Shomari Legghette (Chicago Police Department)

A Cook County judge has denied bond for Shomari Legghette, a four-time felon charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Chicago Police Department Commander Paul Bauer this week.

Police: Man, 44, Charged in CPD Commander’s Shooting Death

Shomari Legghette (Chicago Police Department)

Shomari Legghette, 44, was charged a day after the fatal shooting of Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer. He was allegedly wearing body armor and carrying a firearm containing an extended-round magazine.

Slain CPD Officer Was ‘Part of the Fabric’ of Near North Community

The Chicago Police Department on Wednesday continued mourning the loss of 53-year-old Commander Paul Bauer a day after he was shot and killed in the line of duty.

The Chicago Police Department on Wednesday continued mourning the loss of 53-year-old Commander Paul Bauer a day after he was shot and killed in the line of duty.