CHICAGO (CBS) — Packed classrooms, students studying in hallways; more than 30 Chicago Public Schools buildings are considered overcrowded, according to school district data.
At Virgil Grissom Elementary School in the southeast corner of the city, teachers have to be creative to accommodate all the students. Parents said they’ve pushed for years to relieve the overcrowding at Grissom, in the Hegewisch neighborhood.
“It’s just so packed,” Alena Powers said.
Carmen Rodriguez has two children at Grissom and said the situation is “quite frustrating.”
“Not only is it overcrowded where you’re worried about safety,” she said. ”Because there’s too many kids per one teacher. It’s not fair. It’s not fair to our children at all.”
CPS guidelines state, from kindergarten through 3rd grade, each classroom should have no more than 28 students; and no more than 31 students from 4th grade through 8th grade. However, parents at Grissom have said some classrooms have more than 40 students.
“My daughter’s in 7th grade, and we have 43 students,” Powers said.
The library is not just the library. Children also eat there. The gym also serves as a multi-purpose room, and some kids are forced to study on the floor in the hallway.
As for art and music classes, parents call it “art and music on a cart.”
“The teacher travels from room to room. She needs her own room. Music needs their own room,” Rodriguez said.
CPS has vowed help is on the way, including funding for more teachers, and construction of additional classrooms.
“We will circle back to make sure these changes will be made for Grissom Elementary School,” CPS Chief of School Strategy and Planning Liz Kirby said at Wednesday’s school board meeting.
Parents said they’ll believe it when the equipment rolls in.
“We want a long-term proposal. We want something promised something is going to be done to help our kids,” Rodriguez said.
Parents who attended a local school council meeting Thursday night said a CPS official made no commitment to building new classrooms at the school.