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Saucedo Parents Stage Sit-In To Protest Co-Location With Spry High School

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Outraged parents staged a sit-in overnight at a Little Village elementary school to protest a planned merger with a neighboring high school.

Parents at Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy said they fear the Chicago Public Schools plan to relocate students from Spry Community Links High School into a building already housing Saucedo and Telpochcalli Elementary School would be too much for what they say is already an overcrowded situation.

More than 40 parents, teachers, and students occupied the Saucedo auditorium overnight to bring attention to their cause. Around midnight, activists went outside, marching and chanting.

CPS held a meeting about the plan to relocate Spry at Saucedo earlier Wednesday, and officials said the merger is possible, because of available space at Saucedo.

Spry currently is housed at a leased facility across the street from Saucedo.

If the CPS co-location plan for the three schools is approved, the district could save $95,000 a year by ending its lease of the Spry building.

However, parents said the co-location plan was proposed without their input, and they want more time to come up with ideas before the Chicago Board of Education votes on the proposal.

"What we are asking for is to give us time as parents and community to put together our own proposal, and just remove this one. We're overcrowded. We don't have space," Saucedo parent Zerlina Smith said.

Parents said they would like CPS Chief Executive Officer Forrest Claypool to do a walkthrough at Saucedo before asking for a vote on the plan. They said he would find space is too limited to move Spry into the building.

"CPS kind of counted heads, counted tiles on the floor, and said, 'Oh, we can physically fit students in packed this tight, and that's their plan. That's as far as their plan went for how to make a successful school," Erin Franzinger Barrett said.

CPS said it appreciates the community's feedback, and will carefully consider their comments.

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