New Lights in Closed Chicago Schools Scrutinized

Key members of the Chicago Infrastructure Trust called for school officials to provide more details on an energy efficient light project after a Tribune story Friday raised questions about why the trust would fund lights in schools that were just closed.
July 22, 2013

Key members of the Chicago Infrastructure Trust called for school officials to provide more details on an energy efficient light project after a Tribune story Friday raised questions about why the trust would fund lights in schools that were just closed.

Board member David Hoffman also chastised Chicago Public Schools officials for not telling the trust that it was seeking financing help for construction work at closed schools. He called for "even greater scrutiny of what these projects are, and are they really good ideas?"

"Our expectation should be that we shouldn't have to read about it in the Tribune if their situation has changed and now some of the schools they are asking about have closed," Hoffman said at the trust's board meeting Friday morning. "They should be proactively providing us with that information."

The trust was created by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to find private financing for projects the city could not otherwise afford. But CPS has asked the trust to find private investors to essentially repay the district $18 million it spent to install energy efficient lights in 241 schools.

At least nine of those schools, however, had received the lighting upgrades just before the Chicago Board of Education voted in May to close the buildings, the Tribune reported.

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