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Parents, Activists Protest Planned School Closings At City Hall

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Parents on Wednesday took their concerns over the Chicago Public Schools turnaround right to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's welcome mat.

At 11 a.m. Wednesday, parents from the North Kenwood, Oakland and Bronzeville neighborhoods on the city's South Side joined community leaders for a planned sit-in at City Hall.

They are angry over a plan to close underperforming schools in their neighborhoods and elsewhere in the city. They say they were left out of the decision-making process.

Chicago Public Schools chief executive officer Jean-Claude Brizard has asked the Chicago Board of Education to close Simon Guggenheim Elementary School, at 7141 S. Morgan St. in the Englewood neighborhood, and Florence B. Price Elementary School, at 4351 S. Drexel Blvd. in North Kenwood.

Targeted for phase-outs are Dyett High School, at 555 E. 51st St. in the Washington Park neighborhood, and Richard T. Crane Technical Preparatory High School, at 2245 W. Jackson Blvd., on the Near West Side. Phase-outs mean the schools would not admit any new freshmen and the school would shut down once the last class of existing students graduates.

Several other schools are also slated for turnarounds.

In mid-December, members of the Chicago Teachers Union and other protesters jumped and shouted about the plans to close the schools at a Chicago School Board meeting, prompting board members to suspend proceedings for two hours.

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