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11,000 requests for service received along CPS ‘Safe Passage’ routes

Updated: July 16, 2013 6:28AM



As some parents continue a boycott to protest school closings, city agencies tasked with helping children safely to new schools next year said they’ve already dealt with 11,000 requests for service along the school routes.

Touting their progress so far, Jadine Chou, CPS officer of safety and security, said parents at 42 of the schools receiving children from closed schools have seen their proposed “safe passage” routes and given their feedback.

“No one knows these areas better than parents,” she said. Some 600 adults will be hired in July to staff the routes, to be publicized once final in August, she said at a press conference on the West Side.

“Nothing is more imprtant than the safety of our children,” said Steve Georgas, deputy chief of patrol for the Chicago Police, insisting that CPS has enough officers to help kids get to school in addition to regular patrol.

Of the 478 buildings along the routes reported as vacant, about half have already been inspected, said Michael Merchant, commissioner of the city’s buildings department. One hundred were found secured, and another 65 secured and sent to demolition court, he said, asking the public to keep reporting them to 311.

At the receiving schools, some 2,000 classrooms will get air conditioning, said Erin Lavin Cabonagi, director of the Public Building Commission, which is handling the $220 million of budgeted upgrades.

Meanwhile on the South Side, parents at Goodlow Elementary Magnet School who’ve kept their children home this week from the school closing later this month, say they will continue their boycott until the school is saved from the chopping block.

More than 120 of the school’s 350 or so students have been kept out of school this week, and more are expected to join the boycott on Monday, according to its parent organizers.

The parents are angry that their school, which already has a computer lab, library and science lab, is closing and its children being put under the leadership of Earle Elementary. They say the combination could overcrowd classrooms.

“Rahm Emanuel and CPS are telling us that they know what is best for our children and that we don’t,” said Goodlow mother Bobbie Brown. “The parents have no say in the situation.”



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