Parents meet to save school

January 22, 2009 5:03:13 PM PST
Chicago Public Schools' latest plan to close and consolidate schools is drawing criticism from some parents.One school that's affected is Abbott Elementary.

On Thursday night, parents are learning more about what the proposal could mean for their children.

C.P.S. expected there to be community protests to their plan to either close or consolidate several schools.

One such protest is gaining momentum with parents at Abbott which is slated to be consolidated. The parents met on Thursday evening to try to figure out how to save this school. It's an effort they also went through last year.

"This school is a good school and...their scores have actually risen," said Charlene Williams, parent, Abbott Elementary.

But test scores are not the reason Abbott is on a list of Chicao Public Schools to be consolidated. Instead, the school is said to be underutilized, housing 150 students when it has the capacity for 1,000.

Last week, C.P.S. officials announced 16 schools would likely be closed, consolidated or phased out because of low enrollment with the recommendation that Abbott be merged next school year with Hendricks school, also on the South Side.

Many parents at Abbott are opposed to the plan.

"I think it's a neighborhood school. It's a lot of kids around here and they really need the school in the neighborhood. Already kids is lacking on education as it is so taking a school out of a neighborhood is really not a good [idea]," said Natasha Berryhill, parent.

"This school Abbott has been here for a while. This is like a neighborhood school for kids. They are kind of like planted here and this is like their home," said Delvecchio Bowdre, parent.

Abbott had to fight for survival last year when C.P.S. recommended it be consolidated with another school, but parents and staff rallied, citing a larger student body in the building which housed a charter school and an Easter Seals program. Abbott was saved.

But this year might be tough. The charter school's contract ends in June and the Easter Seals program will also move.

"I think they should bring Hendricks over to us," said Williams.

There are several steps to go before any action is taken. There will be a public hearing next week at C.P.S. headquarters where people can speak out on the plans.

A final decision on Abbott or any other school involved in the plan will take place next month.