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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:28pm
Wed Apr 24, 2013

Henson Elementary Hosts Unity Rally Against School Closings

Students at Matthew Henson Elementary released dozens of balloons Tuesday afternoon signifying their unity and hope that the school will remain open despite the Chicago Public Schools' plan to shut it down in June.

“Henson is everything a community school ought to be," said Valerie Leonard, of the Lawndale Alliance and the Committee to Save North Lawndale Schools. "They’re the model for what we want to include in all of our schools in North Lawndale."

Henson has a health clinic, a parent resource center, two technology labs and a library, speakers at the rally said.

“The school that they’re going to doesn’t have nearly the number of resources that Henson has," Leonard said.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:00pm
Tue Apr 23, 2013

North Lawndale Residents Say School Closures Will Negatively Affect Local Property Values (VIDEO)

Lisa Pugh, the Local School Council chairwoman at Pope Elementary School, walked down the 1900 block of South Troy Avenue directly behind the school, rattling off at least a dozen of her neighbors’ names.

Pugh has lived in her home, which was built in 1909, for more than 12 years. Other homes on the block are also more than a century old, and the residents work hard to keep them well maintained, she said on a windy Friday afternoon.

But the Chicago Public Schools plan to shut down Pope in June has left Pugh and other nearby residents wondering what will happen to their property values and their North Lawndale neighborhood if the building is left vacant.

“Like me, a lot of the property owners don’t want it to close because their property taxes are going into the school, and it’s ridiculous to see (CPS) want to close it down,” she said.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
4:48pm
Tue Apr 23, 2013

Parkman Elementary Students Would Be Forced To Cross Gang Lines If School Closes, Parents Say (VIDEO)

More than 200 students enrolled at Fuller Park's Francis Parkman Elementary School will be asked to travel six blocks and cross East Garfield Blvd. to attend their welcoming school, Englewood's Jesse Sherwood Elementary School, if the Chicago Board of Education approves a proposal by the Chicago Public Schools (CPS).

East Garfield Blvd., according to attendees of Friday’s public forum on the school action, serves as the dividing line between two South Side neighborhoods and gang territories.

“The children are being asked to cross an invisible barrier,” said Carla Smith, 48, a lifelong Chicagoan and 2nd grade teacher of three years at Parkman Elementary.

Smith, one of approximately 75 people who attended the hearing, pleaded with the hearing's mediator to listen to the voice of the community.

“I’m scared for the kids; they can’t cross that line.”

PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
1:03pm
Tue Apr 23, 2013

Call For Legislative Help In Fighting CPS School Closures Rings Loud At Congressional Forum (VIDEO)

The proposal to close 54 schools across the Chicago Public Schools system is unsafe and will destabilize communities already hit hard by the economic depression, according to speakers at a Congressional Forum hosted by U.S. Reps. Bobby Rush (D, IL-1) and Danny Davis (D, IL-7) over the weekend.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
2:39pm
Wed Apr 17, 2013

Concerns Over Overcrowding, Jobs & Special Education Resonate At CPS Public Hearing On Courtenay, Stockton Schools (VIDEO)

Residents of Chicago’s North Side neighborhoods of Ravenswood and Uptown got their final opportunity Wednesday night to voice concerns over the impending merger of two elementary schools.

"Is the power really with the people or is it with the administration," asked Tonya Hunter, a concerned citizen of Ravenswood, at yesterday's meeting. "Are we wasting our time? Is the train already in motion and running, because if it is, do we have any data that school closings benefit children overall?"

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