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State

Expanded school safety program would hire 600

CHICAGO — The Chicago Board of Education is set to consider an expansion of a program that helps students get to school safely.

On Wednesday, Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett plans to recommend the board approve the expansion of the Safe Passage program to include 19 new community groups. These organizations would hire an additional 600 people to work along safe-passage routes.

Chicago Public Schools started Safe Passage in 2009. The expansion would nearly double the program at a cost of $7.7 million.

The district is preparing to close more than 50 schools and programs before the new school year. The plan sparked protests from opponents who say the school closures disproportionately affect minority neighborhoods and will endanger children who may have to cross gang boundaries to get to a school.

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