A three day, 30 mile march is planned through Chicago’s South and West sides this weekend to protest Chicago Public Schools’ planned closing of 53 schools and one school program.
Chicago Teacher’s Union President Karen Lewis, joined by several other activists and unions, made the announcement Monday afternoon outside Mayo Elementary School in the Bronzeville neighborhood.
CPS says it’ll save more than $560 million over 10 years with the plan. A decision on the closings is scheduled for May 22.
Lewis and the others will use the marches to ask state lawmakers for moratorium. In essence, stopping the closings from happening.
For parents the issue isn’t just a new school for their children, it’s safety. Their students, walking in many cases, farther to a new school.
CPS has tried to address these concerns through it Safe Passage program. Going as far as to stage walking photo ops with CPS CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett and Chicago’s Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy in recent weeks.
A memo was put out from Chicago’s Fire Commissioner. It takes it a step further with on-duty Chicago firefighters potentially being used in the safe passage program is well.
A sign, perhaps, that there are safety concerns by the city.
Nonetheless, CPS says it will continue with the closure plan, saying in an email today to WGN, in part, it “is determined to upend the status quo that threatens to keep another generation of our children trapped in under-resourced, underutilized schools where they are not getting the quality education they deserve.”
The school board is scheduled to make its decision on which schools will close May 22nd.
The marches will begin Saturday at 10 a.m. and include Jesse Owens Elementary Community Academy, West Pullman Elementary, Marcus Garvey Elementary, Mahalia Jackson Elementary and Morgan Elementary on the South Side.
On the West Side, the march begins at 10:30 a.m. and includes Lafayette Elementary, Ryerson Elementary, Marconi Community Academy, Emmet Elementary, May Elementary, Delano Elementary, ending with a rally at Garfield Park.
On Sunday, South Side marchers begin at 10 a.m. with stops at Imagine Englewood If, Banneker Elementary, Dewey Elementary, Parkman Elementary, Overton Elementary and Mollison Elementary.
West Side stops Sunday include Leif Ericson Academy, Henson Elementary, Bethune Elementary, Calhoun North Elementary, King Elementary and Victor Herbert School.
On Monday, South Side protests begin at 8 a.m. and include Mayo Elementary and Williams Elementary.
West Side stops include Peabody Elementary, Near North Special Education Center and Manierre Elementary.
Both marches will end their day at Daley Plaza with a rally scheduled for 4 p.m.