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Some Chicago Schools On Closure List Could Be Spared

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(Credit: Adam Jan/AFP/Getty Images)

Jay Levine Jay Levine
Jay Levine is the chief correspondent for CBS 2 Chicago. He joined...
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(CBS) — Chicago Board of Education members are now having second thoughts about closing some of the 54 schools targeted for closure in a cost-cutting move, CBS 2 has learned.

School board members who will make the final decision were still out visiting schools Friday on the Chicago Public School “hit list,” and not all are convinced that all of them should be closed.

Dr. Henry Bienen, one board member, said: “I’m undecided. I have reviewed reports on all 54 (schools) once, and will them read again.”

“It do not believe it’s a slam dunk,” Barbara Byrd-Bennett, the school system’s CEO, tells CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine.

Board members are scheduled to vote next Wednesday, but CBS 2 has learned they’re already dividing schools into categories.

Schools for which there’s no disagreement will be voted on as a group. Controversial cases will be considered individually, and still others removed from the list at the last minute.

The pressure is intense. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle took a shot at Mayor Emanuel about school closings in a published interview Friday.

Parents have taken to the streets.

The mayor has stepped up visits to schools to show his support. He has said repeatedly he’s committed to closing all the schools on the CPS list and improving the new schools their students will attend.

But the final decisions on each school must be made by the six-member Board of Education.