CPS leaders can often be heard preaching how the school environment must be equitable, diverse, and inclusive every other day. But, when it comes to assuring all CPS schools are FULLY ACCESSIBLE, CPS gets an F- as they seemingly do the bare minimum in adhering to ADA Accessibility guidelines.
How can CPS schools be equitable, diverse, and inclusive if they’re not all FULLY ACCESSIBLE to everyone?
Judy Mahoney’s case (a disabled CPS bi-lingual clerk that must use a wheelchair after a horrific ‘head-on’ accident which left her paralyzed because of drunk driver) is one of several cases throughout CPS where a person needing help with accessibility because of mobility issues is given the CPS cold shoulder and forced to fight through layers of CPS red tape to continue their employment.
(Courtesy of the Chicago Tribune: CPS clerk who uses wheelchair after crash is fighting to keep her job – Chicago Tribune)
Recently, I filed a complaint with both the Illinois Attorney General and the US Department of Education (Civil Rights) and I’m awaiting word on CPS not having all of their schools and facilities FULLY ACCESSIBLE. The complaint was filed after CPS was touting a ‘half baked’ effort to make all their schools 1st Floor Usable by investing only $20M per year over the next five years. $20M is mere peanuts compared to the CPS FY2021 budget of $8.3B.
Though, the $20M per year investment is double the FY2020 investment and substantially more of a commitment by CPS (as reported by Access Living Chicago) in FY2019-$550K, FY2018-$0, and a total of $1.15M from FY 2015-FY2017.
Heidi Stevens’ Chicago Tribune column on Judy mentioned “295 school buildings, out of 642, were accessible to students and staff with mobility disabilities”.
How can it be 2021 and there’s still 347 CPS schools’ buildings that are NOT FULLY ACCESSIBLE? This at a time when spanking brand new $2M-$4.5M athletic fields with all the bells and whistles pop up like flowers in May and decades after ADA legislation was passed across the country.
MORE INFORMATION ON ADA ACCESSIBILITY IN CPS SCHOOLS
Check out these links to see if your school is FULLY ACCESSIBLE, the CPS FY2021 Budget, ADA Compliance in the Classroom, and the latest Access Living report in Accessibility in CPS schools.
CPS FY2021 Budget: Budget 2021 | Chicago Public Schools (cps.edu)
ADA Compliance in the Classroom: ADA Compliance in the Classroom – Rev
Accessibility in Chicago Public Schools: Students with Mobility Disabilities Are Not Yet Equal, August 2020:Accessibility in Chicago Public Schools: (accessliving.org)
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