Seven Pershing Network Schools on CPS List for Potential Closings

By Casey Cora on February 13, 2013 7:12pm 

 McClellan Elementary School, 3527 S. Wallace in Bridgeport, is considered underutliized by Chicago Public Schools.
McClellan Elementary School, 3527 S. Wallace in Bridgeport, is considered underutliized by Chicago Public Schools.
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DNAinfo/Casey Cora

BRIDGEPORT — Seven Southwest Side elementary schools have been targeted for potential closure next year, according to a list released by CPS.

"Seven. Oh wow, that's a lot," said Joseph Shoffner, principal of McClellan Elementary School, shortly after learning his school was among those targeted by the district as it looks to close a $400 million budget gap.

"We met with the teachers today. We'll set them up with some strategies and let the fight begin I guess," Shoffner said. "There will be a meeting Friday and Monday for parents, and I'll be going around to each classroom to get kids updated and invested in the fight." 

The list, released by the district Wednesday evening, contains 129 schools recommended for closures. In the Pershing Network, that's Dewey, Graham, Hendricks, Libby, McClellan, Parkman and Sherman schools.

Victor Simon, chief of the network's schools, encouraged parents to attend the next community feedback forum hosted by CPS, scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb 21 at the Fuller Park Field House.

"By the time of the next meeting, we’ll have more focus on individual community need," he said.

Across the Pershing Network’s 31 elementary schools — which cover the Bridgeport, McKinley Park, Chinatown, Bronzeville, Back of the Yards and Englewood neighborhoods — 10 are considered underutilized, four are overcrowded and 17 are labeled efficient, according to CPS.

Schools that aren't on the list released Wednesday evening could still be subject to "possible other types of action, like co-location, or being a receiving school, or something of that nature," Chicago Public Schools spokeswoman Robyn Ziegler told DNAinfo.com Chicago.

The list isn't final, and will remain under consideration until the remaining 14 community meetings have been conducted. It's been significantly trimmed since CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett first revealed which schools were at risk of action.

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