Stories by Matt Masterson

CPS Tells Parents to Keep Students Home From Schools Thursday

(WTTW News)

For the second day in a row, Chicago Public Schools is telling the parents of pre-kindergarten and special education cluster program students to keep their kids at home Thursday as the district and Chicago Teachers Union have not yet reached agreement on a safe school reopening plan.

Chicago Teachers Strike Would be ‘Devastating,’ Board of Education President Says

(WTTW News)

Board President Miguel del Valle on Wednesday said Chicago Public Schools “sincerely wants to come to an agreement” with the Chicago Teachers Union on a safe school reopening plan as a potential teachers strike looms.

CPS Tells Families to Keep Kids Home From School Wednesday Amid Impasse with Teachers

(WTTW News)

In a letter to parents, Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson said the district has “no choice but to ask parents to keep your children home” after the teachers union instructed its members not to report for in-person work Wednesday ahead of a possible strike.

Chicago Man Charged With Stealing, Selling CARES Act Checks

(WTTW News)

Akeem Kosoko is facing federal charges after he allegedly conspired with a local postal carrier and others in a scheme to steal and sell coronavirus relief checks.

CPS Partnering With Community Groups to Rethink School Safety Without Resource Officers

Youth activists organized a peaceful march to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s home on Aug. 13, 2020 to demand the removal of resource officers from Chicago Public Schools. (Matt Masterson / WTTW News)

The district on Tuesday announced it had entered into partnerships with five community organizations to “reimagine” school safety strategies as new alternatives to the existing school resource officer program.

Parties Behind Bill to End Cash Bail in Illinois Say it Can be Model For Other States

Cook County Jail (WTTW News)

Illinois is poised to become one of the first states to eliminate cash bail after the state legislature passed a sweeping criminal justice reform bill earlier this month. Now proponents who pushed for that change hope the measure can be used to reform pretrial services elsewhere.

6 in 10 CPS Students Who Opted For In-Person Learning Returned to Schools in First Week

(WTTW News)

Chicago Public Schools said 60% of the 5,352 pre-kindergarten and special education cluster program students who opted for in-person learning showed up at their school last week. That amounts to about 3,200 students.

CPS Will Begin Vaccinating Teachers, School Staff for COVID-19 as Soon as Next Month

The second doses of the Pfizer vaccine in Chicago were administered at Norwegian American Hospital on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. (WTTW News)

The state of Illinois is expanding vaccine eligibility beginning Monday, meaning school-based staff and other front-line employees will be able to start getting inoculated

Police: Spike in Carjackings Continuing into 2021 With Nearly 150 Cases Already Reported

Chicago police released video of a vehicular hijacking that took place early Wednesday morning in the 200 block of South Wacker Drive. (Chicago Police Department)

In just the first three weeks of 2021, there have already been 144 carjackings across Chicago, according to police, continuing the spike seen throughout last year.

Suburban Man Charged With Threatening Violence at Biden Inauguration Held Without Bond

(MotionStudios / Pixabay)

During a hearing Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Gabriel Fuentes pointed to the “very explicit and concerning” voicemails allegedly left by Louis Capriotti in ordering the Chicago Heights man held without bond during his case.

CTU Delegates Approve Walkout Resolution That Could Lead to Possible Strike

(WTTW News)

Voting members of the Chicago Teachers Union approved a resolution Wednesday night which could mark the first step toward a potential strike if the union can’t reach a deal with Chicago Public Schools on a safe reopening plan amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Judge: Smollett Trial Will Focus on Allegations, Not Events Surrounding High-Profile Case

“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, center, arrives at Leighton Criminal Court Building for a hearing to discuss whether cameras will be allowed in the courtroom during his disorderly conduct case on Tuesday, March 12, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo / Matt Marton)

The judge handling Jussie Smollett’s case wants to keep a potential trial focused on the events that occurred the night the former “Empire” star allegedly filed a false police report, rather than the controversy surrounding his initial charges and their subsequent dismissal.

Chicago Police Lieutenant Files Whistleblower Suit Over ‘Illegal’ Daily Quotas

(WTTW News)

A Chicago police lieutenant is suing the city, claiming a new safety team designed to address neighborhood concerns and improve community relationships has instead focused on making baseless traffic stops in order to meet illegal self-imposed quotas.

CPS: We’ll Continue Negotiating With CTU, But Not Over Decision to Reopen Schools

(WTTW News)

CPS CEO Janice Jackson said the school district is still having conversations with the Chicago Teachers Union on in-person staffing levels, and she believes “we’ll get to a resolution on that.” But she said the conversation can no longer be about whether or not to reopen schools.

‘We Need an Agreement’: CPS, CTU Still Working Toward Deal on School Reopening

A sign promoting social distancing is shown inside a Chicago Public Schools building. (WTTW News)

The head of Chicago Public Schools said the district is “willing to compromise” on an agreement with the Chicago Teachers Union to safely reopen schools as the first week of in-person learning since last spring comes to a close.

Ex-Ald. Moreno Granted Release From Cook County Jail

Proco “Joe” Moreno (Cook County Sheriff's Office)

Just over a week after he was taken into custody on a bond violation, former Chicago Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno will be released from the Cook County Jail on condition he begin alcohol treatment following his arrest on drunk driving charges.

Teen Charged in Fatal Bridgeport Carjacking

(WTTW News)

Denroy Garcia, 16, was charged as an adult after he allegedly shot and killed 33-year-old Shuai Guan during an attempted carjacking last month.

Illinois Legislators Approve Massive Criminal Justice Reform Bill

Demonstrators march in Chicago on Wednesday, June 24, 2020 to show their support for removing police officers from schools. (WTTW News)

Both the Illinois Senate and House of Representatives approved the sweeping measure Wednesday, which could end the practice of cash bail in Illinois and make it easier to decertify officers who commit misconduct.

CTU Educators Hold Teach-Out at Board of Education President’s Home

Teacher Diane Castro speaks outside the home of Board of Education President Miguel del Valle on Jan. 13, 2021. (Chicago Teachers Union / Facebook)

Chicago teachers who’ve been locked out of their education accounts after refusing to show up for in-person learning showed up outside the home of Board of Education President Miguel del Valle to call for a safer school reopening plan.

Chicago Heights Man Charged With Threatening Violence at Biden Inauguration

(MotionStudios / Pixabay)

A suburban Chicago Heights man who allegedly pledged in a voicemail to “kill any m-----f---ing Democrat that steps on the m-----f---ing lawn” at President-elect Joe Biden’s upcoming inauguration is now facing a criminal charge.

CPS: 145 Employees Listed as AWOL on First Day of In-Person Learning

A preschool student listens as her teacher talks during class at Dawes Elementary School at 3810 W. 81st Place on the Southwest Side, Monday morning, Jan. 11, 2021. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Chicago Sun-Times / Pool)

Chicago Public Schools has warned nearly 150 of its educators and employees that if they don’t show up for work beginning Tuesday, they would not be paid and will be locked out of their Google Classroom accounts.

Illinois Senate Approves Bill That Could Expand Bargaining Rights For Chicago Teachers

(WTTW News)

A victory for the Chicago Teachers Union in Springfield on Monday could mark a change in the way the union is able to bargain with Chicago Public Schools over plans to reopen schools and other issues.

CPS Brings Back First Students for In-Person Learning Despite Pushback From Teachers Union

Mayor Lori Lightfoot, left, and Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson visit a preschool classroom at Dawes Elementary School at 3810 W. 81st Pl. on the Southwest Side, Monday morning, Jan. 11, 2021. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Chicago Sun-Times / Pool)

Some Chicago Public Schools students returned Monday to their classrooms for the first time in 10 months as the school district resumed in-person learning despite fervent pushback from many educators.

CPS: Teachers Who Don’t Show Up Monday Will Be Deemed Absent Without Leave

(WTTW News)

Less than 60% of Chicago Public Schools teachers returned as expected for in-person learning prep this week. School district officials said those who don't show up beginning Monday will not be eligible for pay.

After Defending US Capitol Riot, Chicago Police Union President Apologizes

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 President John Catanzara appears on “Chicago Tonight” via Zoom on May 14, 2020. (WTTW News)

John Catanzara, head of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, said his comments earlier this week were in "no way condoning the violence in" Washington D.C.

Ex-Ald. Joe Moreno Ordered to Jail Following Drunk Driving Allegations

In this file photo, Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno speaks with WTTW News.

A Cook County judge has ordered former Chicago Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno to be held without bail and report to jail, calling him “a danger to the community” after he allegedly drove drunk last month and damaged more than a half dozen vehicles.