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Alderman's School Consolidation Plan Draws Opposition From Parents

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A local school council meeting became heated in the Beverly neighborhood Tuesday night, with parents upset about a proposal to move and consolidate several local elementary schools.

Ald. Matt O'Shea (19th) has proposed combining Kellogg Elementary School with nearby Sutherland Elementary School, angering Kellogg parents. O'Shea blamed declining enrollment at both schools, but parents disagreed.

"Moving kids a mile and a half away to another school because of under-enrollment, when I know for a fact our students have full classes. There's seats being drug in on the side for the first day of school. Our school is not under-enrolled," Kellogg parent and former student Shani Chaplain said.

The alderman also wants to move Keller Elementary Gifted Magnet School into the Kellogg building, and use the Keller building as a second campus for Mount Greenwood Elementary, where he said enrollment has skyrocketed since 2005.

O'Shea said Kellogg has more than enough room for the students at Keller, and that Sutherland has enough room to merge with Kellogg. He claimed both are experiencing declining enrollment, and Sutherland could fit both student bodies.

"It would become a true neighborhood school, and we all know strong schools bring strong neighborhoods," he said.

The alderman said he wants the consolidation to happen over the next few years.

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