Board approves plan to consolidate schools

April 27, 2011 3:37:43 PM PDT
Despite emotional opposition by parents and teachers, the Chicago Board of Education has approved plans to combine several elementary, middle and high schools.

The plan, announced just a few weeks ago, calls for the consolidation of Andersen Elementary School into LaSalle 11 Magnet; Avondale Elementary into Logandale; Carpenter Elementary into Talcott; Schneider into Jahn Elementary. It also will combine four high schools into Bowen High School.

Some parents feel they have been left out of the Chicago Public Schools' process to consolidate the schools. Protesting outside and objecting in front of the school board, many, including school principals who will lose their jobs, were hoping to convince the board to delay its decision.

"What is the rush for you? You are an outgoing board You will have new people. Why would you rush this?" said Ana Martinez-Estka, Avondale School principal.

"If you have a heart, any feelings or any regard for our children's feelings, you will give us another year," said Keyatta Jenkins, parent.

Two of the consolidated schools are in 1st Ward Alderman Joe Moreno's ward. He objects to the timing of the plan saying it is past the deadline to apply to selective enrollment or charters schools.

" If you go forward with the closing of Anderson and Snyder you have limited the choices for these students and limited the choice0s for these parents," said Ald. Moreno.

Other parents worry about safety, especially when it comes to consolidating four high schools into Bowen.

"Combining four schools with close to 200 students each representing different gang members is a recipe for disaster," said Robert Garcia, parent.

Despite the concerns and complaints, the last school board, appointed by Mayor Daley, voted for the proposal 6-1. Board member Peggy Davis was the only one who voted down the proposal.

The board voted on the entire package rather than voting on each individual school.

Wednesday is the last school board meeting before Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel's appointed board takes over next month.