- Associated Press - Thursday, September 18, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) - Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Thursday he has scuttled his plan to name a new high school after President Barack Obama.

Emanuel, Obama’s former White House chief of staff, said in a statement that the decision to back away from naming the school after his former boss comes after listening to “questions and concerns from the community…”

Ever since he announced plans in April to build Barack Obama College Preparatory High School on the city’s near North Side, there has been grumbling among aldermen and others who balked at the idea of naming a school on the city’s near North Side after a president whose political career was launched on the South Side and who still has a home there.

“There’s a strong concern with protecting the legacy of President Obama and his connection to the South Side of Chicago,” Alderman Will Burns, an Emanuel ally who commended the mayor for changing his mind, told the Chicago Sun-Times (https://bit.ly/1pkIKif ).

Others voiced stronger concerns, saying the mayor’s announcement Thursday was simply an effort to curry favor with black voters he’s alienated with such moves as closing several schools in predominantly African-American neighborhoods.

But, “It’s not gonna work” political consultant Delmarie Cobb said. “It doesn’t change the fact that he’s still willing to spend millions to construct a new school on the North Side after studies have shown that enrollment of African-American kids is dropping in these selective enrollment schools.”

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