Some Chicago Public Schools already know they’re closing

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Dozens of principals at Chicago Public Schools are finding out Thursday that their schools are being closed down.

Sources tell WGN News that 52 schools will be on that list. Officials at two schools — Enrico Fermi Elementary School, 1415 E. 70th St., and Miriam G. Canter Middle School, 4959 S. Blackstone — told WGN that they were notified Thursday that they would be closing.

Sources familiar with the school closing situation tell WGN that principals whose schools are on the closing list found out about their schools during an early morning conference call.

The principals were given the day to prepare their staffs and that CPS would release the list to the media at 5 p.m. Thursday, according to the source.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that several aldermen have already been told about schools closing in their wards.

Ald. Howard Brookins, 21st Ward, says he was told that Mahalia Jackson Elementary and Garrett A. Morgan Elementary are being closed.

Students arrived at Mahalia Jackson as usual Thursday.

“It’s a sad thing because kids need education out here,” said one father.  “Where are they going to go if they don’t have school?”

CPS says students at closed schools will be moved to better performing schools in the area.

“Are they going to have buses to take them there?  No.  I don’t think those kids are going to be safe,” said teacher Kimberly Benson.

“Right now we have eleven or twelve active gangs surrounding our schools,” said teacher Matthew Johnson.  “They’re talking about closing all these schools in one area, and that’s going to cause chaos in our communities.”

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis released a statement Wednesday saying, “This city cannot destroy that many schools. It will send our district into chaos.  These actions will put our students’ safety and academics at risk and will further destabilize our neighborhoods.”

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