McCorkle continues to fight closing

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Even though Board of Education members approved the shuttering of the
South Side’s McCorkle Elementary at their February meeting, staff,
students and parents gathered outside the school Friday morning for a
last-ditch rally. The district says McCorkle is too dilapidated and
would cost too much to repair, but those at the rally said they think
the investment would be worthwhile. “We are praying and hoping they
change their mind,” Aisha Jarrett said

Even though Board of Education members approved the shuttering of the South Side’s McCorkle Elementary at their February meeting, staff, students and parents gathered outside the school Friday morning for a last-ditch rally. The district says McCorkle is too dilapidated and would cost too much to repair, but those at the rally said they think the investment would be worthwhile. “We are praying and hoping they change their mind,” Aisha Jarrett said

Aisha came to the rally with her sister, Robyn Jarrett. They both attended the school as children and now have four sons and daughters between them, along with several other nieces and nephews, in the school. The two grew up in the high-rise public housing complex that used to line State Street, but were forced to move when the complex was demolished. Still, they enrolled their children because they feel comfortable and have deep connections with other families. They said that many families are in the same situation, and have enrolled their children even though they now live outside the neighborhood.

Should McCorkle close down, the Jarrett sisters have not decided where they will send their children. But they already have decided against Beethoven, which is the designated receiving school. CEO Ron Huberman has promised to provide safe passage to receiving schools, but Robyn said she doesn’t understand the dynamic. Like McCorkle, Beethoven is on State Street, but is south of 47th Street, while McCorkle is to the north. Such major streets are dividing lines between gang territories, and Robyn says gangs are fighting just blocks away. “Why would I put my baby in danger?” Robyn said.

Also pictured here are low-rise apartments and townhomes being built near McCorkle. This complex will replace the public housing that was demolished over the past decade. Some McCorkle parents who now live further away hope to secure a unit in the new buildings. And with families moving back in, they don’t understand why McCorkle is being closed