By Ald. Will Burns (4th)
Since 2011 serving as Alderman of the Fourth Ward in the City of Chicago, it has always been my passion, priority and commitment to advocate for quality, accessible, world-class education for all of our children.
The record is clear – I fought to keep Dyett High School as a quality open enrollment school since September 2011. Our office has held numerous meetings with Bronzeville community members and stakeholders to address issues and concerns, including the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett/Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO).
On August 7, 2015 the Board of Education announced they were extending the date for the Dyett RFP public hearing to September 15, 2015. Although the date change is disappointing to us all, it is important that we allow time for adequate public feedback and a thoughtful and thorough review of proposals to make the best decision for our children’s education.
As the newly appointed City Council Chairman of the Committee on Education and Child Development, I will continue to work with the community, the Chicago Board of Education and the RFP process to secure a new plan for Dyett.
I do not take the hunger strike lightly and I am sympathetic to the demonstrators. Dyett is very important to a lot of people in the community and I encourage everyone to attend the upcoming Dyett RFP Hearing on September 15, 2015.
As Fourth Ward Alderman, I will not be bullied into submitting to the special interests and scare tactics of one group. The whole community deserves the opportunity to have their opinions represented and communicate their plan in a fair and open process.
The new vision for Dyett can bring an enormous amount of excitement to the Fourth Ward and we are eager to quickly move towards a positive outcome. Failure is not an option. Dyett will be a successful open enrollment community high school.
Visit http://cps.edu/About_CPS/Departments/Pages/Dyett_RFP.aspx for information on attending the public hearing.
ALDERMAN BURNS’ RECORD ON THE CLOSURE AND REOPENING OF DYETT HIGH SCHOOL (Editor’s note: The following information was compiled by the office of Ald. Burns.)
Leading up to the landmark CPS decision to keep Dyett open, he met with members of the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett/ Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO) and held community forums on numerous occasions regarding the issue and others. The following outlines the meeting dates:
- Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011 — meeting with KOCO and CPS at our Ward Office
- Saturday, Sept. 29, 2011 — Bronzeville Speaks II
- Monday, Dec. 5, 2011 — Bronzeville CAC
- Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011 — meeting with KOCO about CPS at Price School
- Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012 — Bronzeville Speaks III
- Thursday, March 28, 2013—meeting with KOCO and the Bronzeville CAC at the Bright Star Church
- Saturday, April 13, 2013—KOCO’s annual convention at the King College Prep
- Thursday, June 5, 2014—meeting with KOCO at our Ward Office
Alderman Burns has publically documented his opposition to Dyett’s closure and his support to reopen the high school:
- The agenda for the Bronzeville Speaks II meeting on September 29, 2011
- The agenda for the Bronzeville CAC meeting on December 5, 2011
- A letter to the editor of the Chicago Sun-Times sent January 19, 2012
- A letter to Jean-Claude Brizard from October 9, 2012
- The agenda for the Bronzeville Speaks III meeting on November 7, 2012
- A public statement shared with the Bronzeville CAC about school closures on March 22, 2013
- Media fact sheet we circulated on June 16, 2014
- A letter to the Hyde Park Herald on which we collaborated with the Bronzeville CAC for the May 28, 2014 issue
He has also spoken on the record and publicly on this issue, including:
- WVON w/Matt McGill on June 18, 2014
- WVON w/Cliff Kelley on July 31, 2014
Additionally, Alderman Burns held a public meeting on Monday, July 28. After the meeting, he released correspondences soliciting feedback to be added to the report for the attendees that might not have had the opportunity to share their input.
Those solicitations were posted through social media and included in an email blast on July 30, and were included in his weekly newsletter that Friday, August 1. The results of the report were reported in his weekly newsletter on September 5 and September 12.