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Seven schools closed, despite final appeals

Chicago will be closing seven schools, despite last-minute protests from parents.

Parent Felipa Hernandez spoke out against the consolidation of her son’s Logan Square elementary school with a middle school next door.

Hernandez said parents at Avondale Elementary and Logandale Middle School are active in their children's schools, and had come up with their own solution that stopped short of a consolidation but addressed officals' concerns about under-enrollment at the middle school.

Hernandez said the school closing process has shown her CPS's "hypocrisy" toward parents.

"On the one hand you say parents are an essential part of our children’s academic success, and on the other hand you exclude us from decisions that affect our children and their future," Hernandez told the board of education in Spanish.

Parents say they want to help determine the consolidation plan for their children's schools.

In a rare interview with reporters, board president Mary Richardson-Lowry said it’s irresponsible of the district to run under-enrolled schools.

"This is something that’s difficult, but it will be part of this district’s future, as it is with districts around the country."

One board member, Peggy Davis, voted against the school consolidations. By WBEZ’s reckoning, no one on the board has voted “no” on anything since 2008. The district withdrew proposals for two additional consolidations after parents there raised safety concerns about their children getting to new schools.

Wednesday's meeting was believed to be the last for the current Board of Education. Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel ‘s new board is expected to take over soon.

The board approved the following school closings/consolidations:

Anderson Elementary will consolidate into LaSalle II Magnet School, which is located in the same building.

Carpenter Elementary will close and consolidate into Talcott.

Schneider Elementary will close and consolidate into Jahn.

Avondale Elementary and Logandale Middle schools will consolidate and continue to use the same buildings.

The four small schools at Bowen High School will consolidate to become a single high school again. Bowen Environmental Studies, Chicago Discovery and Global Visions high schools will consolidate into New Millennium to form the new school.

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