WEST ENGLEWOOD — As the school bell rang one last time at Elaine Goodlow Elementary School Monday, school parents — many of whom are alumni — remained upset as the school shut its doors permanently and the student body merges with nearby Charles Earle Elementary School.
But at least one student who is returning to school in August said she is looking forward to the changes, which will have students from both schools attending class at the Goodlow building at 2040 W. 62nd St. Earle staff, including the principal, will replace Goodlow staff, and the school will be renamed to Earle.
"It will be neat to make new friends with the Earle kids. I know everyone at Goodlow already so there's no new friends to make right now," said third-grader Kyla Daniels, 8. "This is a good school. The kids at Earle will quickly see that."
But the changes do not sit will with some Goodlow parents who attended the school themselves.
"I wanted my three kids to graduate from Goodlow like me. That is one of the things I always wanted for my three kids ... to follow in my footsteps," said Antonio Johnson, 39, who graduated in 1989 from Goodlow.
Johnson, who grew up in Englewood, had two daughters and one son at Goodlow, but is now considering transferring his kids to another school this fall.
"This is my neighborhood. So when I tell you there will be problems with the Earle kids, you best believe me," he added. "The kids there [Earle] do not like the kids here [Goodlow]. Plus, the Earle kids must now travel through three, different gang turfs to reach Goodlow."
Marquita Kippers, 29, also graduated from Goodlow and had one daughter in first, third and sixth grade at Goodlow.
"The kids on the other side [at Earle] do not like the kids on this side [at Goodlow]. Everybody [but CPS] knows this," said Kippers, a 2002 Goodlow alumni. "I will see how things go when school starts back but I know it's going to be a mess."
And Mary Daniels, who has lived in Englewood since 1972, had three grandkids at Goodlow and had three sons and one niece that graduated from the school, too.
"I went to all the meetings. Marched downtown and I wrote the mayor a few letters, but nothing worked," Daniels said. "These changes are terrible and won't benefit any of the children involved."
David Miranda, a spokesman for CPS, said Earle is a better performing school than Goodlow and more resources would be invested in the school to keep it that way.
Michelle Clark, a Goodlow parent and Local School Council member, said she is hoping the Chicago Teachers Union can persuade the school district to change its mind during the summer about changes at Goodlow. Earlier this month, Clark and other parents pulled their children out of Goodlow to protest changes.
Clark's son got an early summer break when his mom, on June 10, kept him home.
"Home is where he will stay until something is done about the ridiculous changes by CPS to my baby's school," Clark said previously.
Mark Bones, 32, had twin daughters at Goodlow in the third grade.
"The [Goodlow] staff is who I feel for the most. The kids responded well to the teachers. Now CPS wants to bring in strangers and I am not feeling that at all," said Bones.