CFD vet­eran picked to lead new Pub­lic Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - Sam Charles

An­nas­ta­sia M. Walker will serve as ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the city’s Of­fice of Pub­lic Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion, Mayor Lori Light­foot an­nounced Fri­day. Walker will be tasked with over­see­ing “ef­forts to re­duce costs, in­crease ef­fi­cien­cies and im­prove ad­min­is­tra­tive func­tions” across the city’s po­lice and fire de­part­ments, as well as the Of­fice of Emer­gency Man­age­ment and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

The new of­fice will merge the ad­min­is­tra­tive func­tions of the city’s three pub­lic safety de­part­ments and will share head­quar­ters with the CPD and CFD in Bronzevill­e. The of­fice’s cre­ation was an­nounced in Oc­to­ber.

Be­fore her ap­point­ment, Walker served as chief ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer at the Chicago Fire Depart­ment, work­ing to man­age bud­get pro­cesses, fed­eral grant ini­tia­tives, in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal af­fairs and op­er­a­tions for the city’s pub­lic safety de­part­ments, ac­cord­ing to the mayor’s of­fice.

Chicago Pub­lic Schools CEO Jan­ice Jack­son joined Sen. Dick Durbin on Fri­day to sup­port a Demo­crat-led bill that could pro­vide bil­lions of dol­lars in fund­ing to school dis­tricts across the coun­try, in­clud­ing CPS.

“Re­spond­ing to this pan­demic can’t be left to local and state gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, which is why we ap­pre­ci­ate Sen. Durbin’s ef­forts to en­sure we have the re­sources we need to open schools safely and ed­u­cate our chil­dren,” Jack­son said at a news con­fer­ence out­side Lit­tle Vil­lage Academy on the West Side.

The Coro­n­avirus Child Care and Ed­u­ca­tion Re­lief Act was in­tro­duced in late June but has not yet pro­gressed out of the Se­nate.

The pro­posal calls for $430 bil­lion for ed­u­ca­tion, in­clud­ing $175 bil­lion for K-12 schools.

It isn’t clear how much would be al­lo­cated for Chicago schools. But Durbin said, “We are go­ing to take what we can get where we can get it. I want to get that num­ber up as high as pos­si­ble.”

Jack­son said she would like CPS to get at least $205 mil­lion — the amount it re­ceived from the Coro­n­avirus Aid, Re­lief, and Eco­nomic

Se­cu­rity Act (CARES) — or more.

“In or­der to bal­ance our bud­get, we do need ad­di­tional sup­port from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment,” Jack­son said. “Those ad­di­tional re­sources are go­ing to be the dif­fer­ence be­tween what kind of sup­ports we can put in place to en­sure that stu­dents are safe when they re­turn in the fall.”

CPS has not fi­nal­ized its bud­get, al­though bud­gets have been dis­trib­uted to in­di­vid­ual schools, Jack­son said.

Jack­son on Fri­day also spoke about re­open­ing plans and how CPS of­fi­cials have been re­view­ing the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion’s lat­est guide­lines for schools.

“Our plan will be guided by sci­ence,” the schools CEO said.

The cur­rent plan calls for most stu­dents to re­turn to school for two days a week. The plan orig­i­nally called for 11th and 12th graders to do on­line classes only, but Jack­son this week said the dis­trict was re­think­ing that por­tion of the plan.

An­nas­ta­sia M. Walker

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