CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today announced a $10 million state investment in the Safe Passage program for Chicago Public Schools (CPS). The investment will expand the program by increasing routes to 93 schools currently in the program and adding 27 new schools. These schools are attended by more than 65,000 elementary and high school students. Today’s action is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to keep Illinois’ communities safe and give every child the opportunity for a high quality education.
“Our first priority as a state must be the education and well-being of our children,” Governor Quinn said. “As we kick-off a new school year, all students should be focused on their studies - not on their safety - as they walk to and from school. The Safe Passage program has proven to be a successful way to improve attendance, increase safety and boost learning in our classrooms. With this state investment, we can reach even more schools and help ensure safe passage for more students.”
“Safe Passage is about more than just building a route to school; it is about building a route to college, career and beyond, so that once our kids get to school, they get the world-class education they deserve,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “Our Safe Passage workers and community members play a critical role to ensure that our children are able to arrive at school each and every day ready to learn and focused on their studies, not their safety.”
The Safe Passage program places trained employees along designated routes to and from Chicago’s public schools to monitor student safety and notify school and law enforcement officials of any possible threats. Safe Passage workers are typically community members that are trained by CPS’ Office of Safety and Security. The new investment is expected to employ 600 new workers. CPS works with the local community when designing Safe Passage routes.
The Safe Passage program was launched in 2009 as a collaborative effort between the Chicago Public School system, the Chicago Police Department and community organizations in Chicago’s South and West side neighborhoods to address concerns about student safety traveling to and from school.
Following CPS closures last year, the district expanded the Safe Passage Program to support more students during their transition to new schools. According to CPS, the program led to a 20 percent decline in criminal incidents around Safe Passage schools, a 27 percent drop in incidents among students, and a 7 percent increase in attendance over the past two years in high schools that currently have the Safe Passage program.
The $10 million investment for the Safe Passage program comes through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
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