A tale of 2 schools: How CPS closures may affect students

March 21, 2013 3:38:37 PM PDT
The Chicago Public Schools closures will affect students, teachers and the community in a variety of ways. It is hard to predict what will happen and the plans may seem confusing now.

Though Stockton Elementary in the Uptown neighborhood will be closed, the building itself will remain and become the new home of Courtenay Elementary School which is less than a mile away.

Students from both schools will now be housed at the current Stockton facility.

"It's going to take a lot for the kids to adjust to that. It's hard to deal with change," a parent of Stockton students Cheresse Leonard said.

Many parents have expressed concern about what will happen to their children if their school closes.

"I went here. So the majority of the teachers that are here were my teachers. And so I'm very concerned now because I always wanted my children to be brought up from the teachers that I knew," a parent of Stockton students Nellie Moreno said.

"I'm kind of nervous. Want to see what's going on, see where everything is going to stand about his program," Stockton parent Kenneth McGee said.

In a letter to parents, CPS says the merger combines the best of both schools.

Courtenay has been designated a "school of distinction" by CPS.

"Obviously the teachers here are doing something good for them to being doing as good as they are," a parent of Courtenay students Eddy Ramirez said.

Stockton has lower achievement ratings and is listed by cps as "on probation".

Some Stockton parents hope Courtenay's success rubs off.

"Bring that success here, yeah. Help my son. That's great," McGee said.

Courtenay students currently lack a gym, auditorium, and library which are all things they'll get at the Stockton building.

Though some inconvenience will come with a longer trip to school, some parents are more concerned about class size.

"It's going to be too crowded. The teachers will have less focus on individual kids," parent of a Courtenay student Frank Rivera said.

With Courtenay's administration in charge, a Stockton employee told ABC7 News that she and all her Stockton colleagues will now have to reapply for their jobs.

It's likely that some won't be rehired, according to retired CPS principal Harry Randell who spent nearly four decades with CPS.

"I would hope that the principal of the receiving school has some input as to whether he or she wants to hire those teachers," Randell said.