Among the concerns, one parent said she believed CPS was only thinking about the money, others are worried about taking their children out of their element and forcing them into unfamiliar territory.
Most of the schools on the school closure list are in predominantly minority communities on the West and South Sides.
Parents also voiced concern that their children would get less individual attention at the newer schools with larger classroom sizes. “I always liked the small sizes, of student-to-teacher ratio,” explained Latonya Butts. “I don’t feel that teachers can be effective… teaching 30+ students in a classroom.”
Most of all, parents said they were concerned about the greater distance their children would have to travel to get to school. In some cases, a mile or more. “One of the main reasons why my children go to [Enrico Fermi Elementary] is so they didn’t have to go all the way down to the other schools because of the gang territories,” said Carlton Purnell. “It’s not safe. They’re literally risking their lives, and putting them in jeopardy.”
CPS officials said parents still have options for their children, and that each school that closes has a designated “welcoming school” for displaced students.
CPS projects savings of $560 million from the closings.