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School-closing plans worry parents: ‘How will you keep these children safe?’


Barbara Byrd-Bennett

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Updated: January 12, 2013 6:24AM

Latricia Bates-Brown worries that Chicago Public Schools students forced to switch schools could get caught in unfriendly territory. Her concerns were echoed by others who spoke Tuesday night at a CPS public hearing at St. Sabine parish, where more than 200 people packed the assembly hall to listen and weigh in.

How will you keep these children safe?” Bates-Brown asked a panel of nine independent civic leaders appointed by Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett to gather community concerns and report back.

“I’m concerned for my 4-year-old granddaughter,” Bates-Brown said.

Ron Carter, who has two daughters at King College Prep, offered ideas on how to use shuttered school buildings . His ideas: How about turning shuttered Chicago Public Schools buildings into technology centers, affordable housing or organic fisheries and indoor farms?

Michelle Hoppe Villegas spoke on behalf of a group of Lincoln Park neighborhood parents who want school leaders to ax plans for a $50 million expansion of Lincoln Elementary School in favor of the money being used elsewhere in the city where the funds are needed more.

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