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Parents, Teachers Add Walgreens and McDonald's to Enemies List over Renaissance 2010

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Feb 15, 2009 10:00PM

2009_02_15_ren10.jpg Since the Jan. 9 announcement that Chicago Public Schools may close six schools in its district, outspoken critics of Renaissance 2010 - Mayor Daley’s plan to close 70 troubled schools and open 100 new ones by 2010 - have been taking names and voicing their concerns to whomever will listen. On Saturday, parents and teachers added two more enemies to their list: McDonald’s and Walgreens. According to WGN radio, hundreds gathered outside a North Side McDonald’s and Walgreens for a Valentine’s Day protest against the corporations’ support of the plan.

Amidst the picketing, demonstrators shouted, “We don't want your Big Mac. We just want our schools back.” They say the two corporations - which donated millions to the nonprofit Renaissance School Fund - should take some of the blame for potential school closures.

Between 2004 and 2008, McDonald’s Corp. and Ronald McDonald House Charities paid $1 million to $2 million to the fund, while Walgreens gave $250,000 to $500,000, according to the Sun-Times. Opponents of Renaissance 2010 claim that the school closures displace low-income students and favor more-affluent ones. Teachers say they won’t know exactly which schools are slated for closure until the middle of next week.

Post/Kalyn Belsha