Chicago Sun-Times
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Senate unanimously extends Chicago school-closing deadline

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SPRINGFIELD-Without discussion, the Illinois Senate sent Gov. Pat Quinn Thursday legislation that would extend a deadline for Chicago Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett to draw up a list of schools the district intends to close next fall.

The 51-0 vote will move the deadline to publish a list of schools that will be mothballed from Saturday to March 31 -- an extension the measure's top Senate supporter said is essential to give the school system more time "to get organized."

"Rushing decisions for a December 1 deadline could backfire on the school system and then ultimately harm the education of the children," said Sen. Iris Martinez, the bill's chief Senate sponsor, in a prepared statement.

"I still have concerns on how this affects the timeliness for parental notification and if the public will have ample time to voice its concerns," Martinez said. "This school year is off to a rough start for CPS, and the district needs an opportunity to get organized."

Quinn has not indicated a position on the legislation sought by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, with the governor's office saying only that Quinn intends to review it.

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