CPS Taking From Poor to Give to Rich

Parents angry over over low-income building turned over to more affluent neighborhood

The current state of the economy is rough on everyone, but it may become especially hard for students at Carpenter Elementary.

The Near West Side school, at 1250 W. Erie St., is among 20 schools that Chicago Public Schools wants to close next year.  What makes parents, teachers, and principal Ida Munoz especially enraged, however, is what CPS has planned for the building.

Once Carpenter's 350 students -- a third of which are in special education programs and 97 percent are low-income -- are dismissed, the building may be turned over to Ogden School, at 24 W. Walton St., where only one-fourth of its 600 students are low-income. The Gold Coast elementary school was recently approved for a new high school.

"I'm still in shock. You're taking our school to give to rich kids? What about poor kids? I'm so angry," parent Patricia Herron told the Sun-Times.

Adding salt to the wound, Carpenter actually shared its space with Ogden when the latter needed more room.

"We welcomed Ogden with open arms two years ago. Now, they get to kick us out? How can this be fair?" asked parent Jim Rednour.

Carpenter Principal Ida Munoz is just as angry.

"Schools on the West Side are so overcrowded, and they keep telling us it costs too much money to bus them out of the area. But they're going to spend money to bus in kids from the Gold Coast," she said. "There's no money for busing poor kids, but there's money for busing rich kids?"

CPS officials declined to comment, saying school closings have not been finalized.

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