CHICAGO
01/19/2013 03:07 pm ET Updated Feb 13, 2013

CPS School Closings: High Schools And Mostly-Full Facilities Spared From Chopping Block

Several Chicago Public Schools are breathing a sigh of relief after education officials announced high schools would be spared from the list of school closures.

According to the Tribune, CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett pulled high schools and "high-performing schools" off the table for potential closings per the recommendations of her special education committee.

“The safety of our children is a primary concern,” Byrd-Bennett said during a conference call with reporters according to the Sun-Times. “For children to travel further or to put children in further danger by crossing a gang barrier does not make sense to me.”

On Friday, Byrd-Bennett said in "rare cases" a school might still be closed if the district determines a school's building poses safety concerns and is too decrepit to justify rehabbing.

Level 1 "high-performing schools," those currently 70 to 75 percent full and certain "Level 2" schools "on the rise" would also be spared from the currently non-binding closures list, according to a CPS release.

A slimmed-down list of the 330 "underused" CPS schools will be released Feb.

The district had a busy week, also releasing a new school calendar that streamlines all schedules and eliminates the year-round "Track E" schedule. ABC Chicago reports all schools will start before Labor Day, end the same day and receive three days off for the Thanksgiving holiday.

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