District officials: Beidler, Cather spared consolidation

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Chicago Public Schools officials announced Monday night that Beidler Elementary in West Garfield Park would not be consolidated with Cather Elementary, at least not this year.  

Chicago Public Schools officials announced Monday night that Beidler Elementary in West Garfield Park would not be consolidated with Cather Elementary, at least not this year.  
Beidler, where a new campus park is about to be installed, was to be handed over to Urban Prep Charter School. Mazany has said that the district needed to make these moves to save money in the midst of a financial crisis. 
Last month, interim schools CEO Terry Mazany proposed consolidating 15 schools, but so far, four have been pulled off the list. Mazany also will not pursue consolidating Tilton and Marconi.
Several of the proposals make way for charter schools or new schools created by Renaissance 2010. 
CPS Office for School Relations Jose Alvarez said that the decision to pull the proposal was made after school officials heard community input on the matter.  A student moving from Beidler to Cather would walk several extra blocks through West Garfield Park to school.  Parents and teachers told district officials that they worried about children having to cross through gang territory. 
“I don’t know if my kids will get abducted or raped or murdered, because that happens in our neighborhood,” said Alene Miller, a single mother of four children at Beidler, at the hearing.  
Beidler staff, parents and students streamed into an overflow room after filling the Board of Education chambers.  The proposal’s tabling was met with cheers and applause.  However, several community leaders said they were worried that the topic would come up again. 
“I’m happy with the decision,” said alderman Jason Ervin (28th) at the hearing,  “But I do know we’ll be back here hearing the same argument about the same thing.”
In a press release on the removal of the Beidler proposal, district officials noted that between Beidler and Cather there is room for 1,650 students. Yet only 627 students are enrolled between the two of them.