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Former top cop favors ‘partially elected’ school board

Former Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy listens to a City Club of Chicago panel discussion at Maggiano’s Banquets, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Former Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy on Thursday said he favors a “partially elected” school board, but stopped short of saying he’d put a stop to closing schools in the district — if he’s elected mayor.

“You’re not going to see me pledge something that I’m not positive I can do,” said McCarthy, talking to reporters in front of the shuttered Parkman Elementary School on the South Side. “‘Cause I’m not a liar, which means I’m not a politician. I’m a public servant.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel angered many when he closed 50 schools — mostly on the South and West sides of the city — in 2013.

But McCarthy added Thursday, “I will do everything in my power to prevent that from happening.”

McCarthy, in unveiling his education plan, said the key to stopping declining enrollment in CPS schools is to stop the population exodus from some of the city’s poorer communities.

“The Issues of crime, taxes and the economy here in the city — and the education system — are all intertwined,” he said. “The solutions don’t lie in handling one and not handling all of them. It’s kind of like a three-legged stool, in that if you pull out one, the stool is going to fall over.”

McCarthy said he favors a school board that is a combination of elected community members and those picked by the mayor. Activists have, for several years, been calling for a school board that is entirely elected.

McCarthy said he needs to have some say about who serves on the board.

“If I just turn over the school board [to the community], I’m still going to be accountable for what happens, yet I’m not in charge of it,” McCarthy said.

The city’s former top cop said he would reinvent some $32 million in neighborhood schools, using the proceeds from the sale of the shuttered schools.