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Some Parents Fear Overcrowding At Some Schools As Others Close

Ray Elementary School (CBS)

Ray Elementary School (CBS)

Dorothy Tucker Dorothy Tucker
Dorothy Tucker has served as a reporter for CBS 2 Chicago since 1984....
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(CBS) – When the Chicago Public Schools system closes about 50 schools to save money, kids will have to go somewhere.

CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker takes a look at two schools set to take in pupils — and why some parents don’t want them.

When the proposed list of school closings numbered 130, Ray Elementary was on it.

“I think the general reaction was shock, outrage and confusion,” Joy Clendenning, a local school council member, says.

But Ray got a reprieve, like more than 80 other schools when the district relaxed its enrollment rules. Nearby Canter wasn’t so lucky. With just 228 students, it’s still considered “underutilized,” which means students there will be transferred.

Ray will get some of them – a prospect that worries some parents.

“We actually do not have any empty classrooms in our building currently. So I personally think if Ray were to try to absorb more students it would involve a big trade off,” Clendenning says.

The biggest trade off would be a change in the student body. Canter is a junior high. Ray is currently K-6. So is Bret Harte, which is also slated to receive Canter students.

“It’s a bad situation,” says Darryl Williams, a member of Harte’s local school council. “You’re talking about putting intermediate kids here — 7 and 8th graders. Where are they going to have their recess? That’s mandatory now.”

CPS officials promise to address all safety concerns and are offering schools perks like new libraries, iPads and air-conditioning.

“We’ve been asking for air conditioning at Ray for 10 years. So tempting us with the carrot of air-conditioning is really unfair,” Clendenning says.

Not all parents object.

“They have to go somewhere,” Harte parent Liz Robinson says.

CPS says these are proposals. Hearings will be held before anything is final.