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Venue change for final school closings meeting

Chicago Public Schools has changed the location for its final community hearing over school closures.

One phase of the annual fight over closing neighborhood public schools will come to a close tonight at the Malcom X College Sports Complex, 1900 W. Van Buren St.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and will cover schools in the Pilsen-Little Village Network. In that network, there are currently three schools on the list of 129 still under consideration: Jungman, Paderewski, and Pilsen Academy. 

Over the course of the last four months, CPS  has whittled down a list of schools it is considering for closure by eliminating high schools, schools with the highest performance rating, and schools with large enrollments, among other criteria.

Tonight's will be the final meeting in a series of public community hearings that have each drawn hundreds of parents, students and activists. District officials say they need to close and combine a large number of public schools this year in order to spend more efficiently in the future. They argue that by closing schools they will be able to give more resources to the remaining ones. 

But the school closure plans have drawn fierce opposition from local activists and the Chicago Teachers Union, which fought to protect teachers who work in schools slated for shut down during the seven-day teachers strike earlier this school year.

CPS is required to announce by March 31 the schools it plans to close.  Last week, the Board of Education voted to phase out two charter high schools--Shabazz-DuSable Leadership Academy and Aspira-Mirta Ramirez High School. 

Check back later tonight for updates and follow @WBEZeducation for live-tweets starting at 7 p.m.

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