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Parents react to CPS’ plan to downsize

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Hundreds of parents, teachers, and students gathered inside St. Anselms Catholic Church in Washington Park Monday night to tell Chicago Public School representatives why their neighborhood schools should remain open.

This was the 7th community meeting CPS has held over the past week as it prepares to make some tough decisions regarding school closures.

CPS says it must close or consolidate underperforming or underutilized schools as it tries to close the gap on an estimated $1 billion budget deficit.

CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett has already said she will not consider closing Level 1 rated schools or any high schools, but that still leaves hundreds of schools on the chopping block. CPS says about half of its schools are below full capacity so those schools will certainly be considered for closure or consolidation.

CPS says will also consider factors like safety and performance at surrounding schools before it decides to close a school.

There were 62 schools represented at Monday night’s meeting. There are several more similar meetings scheduled all throughout the city over the next few weeks.

A final list of recommendations for school closures will be announced by March 31st. The Chicago Board of Education will decide which of those schools will be closed or consolidated.

No word on how many schools the list will include.

By: Krystle Gutierrez